Public hearing scheduled on proposed Clifton wind farm

Posted April 01, 2011, at 5:41 p.m.

CLIFTON, Maine — Bangor businessman Paul Fuller and his wife, Sandy, purchased 270 acres on Pisgah Mountain a couple of years ago and have been working to build a five-turbine wind farm on the property that could provide power for up to 4,000 homes.

The town’s planning board will hold a public hearing Wednesday, April 6, at Holbrook Middle School in Holden on the estimated $25 million Pisgah Mountain LLC wind farm and substation permit application, Eric Johns, Clifton planning board chairman, said in an email.

“Each of the five turbines will be approximately 308 feet tall at the hub and 455 feet at the top of the propeller blade,” he said. “The developer plans to use five Vestas V90-1.8 MW wind turbines generating enough electricity for between 3,000 and 4,000 Maine homes.”

Wind energy has been a hot-button issue in Clifton for the past year for planners, town officials and residents, some of whom created the Clifton Taskforce on Wind. Last June a new land use ordinance was adopted that includes 28 pages dedicated to wind energy facilities.

With so much interest in wind farms, planners decided to host the meeting at Holbrook Middle School to ensure there is enough room, Johns said.

The Fullers’ land is located at the top of the Pisgah Mountain, just south of Rebel Hill Road, also known as Route 180. In 2009, Paul Fuller approached the planning board about placing a meteorological tower on the hilltop to collect data about wind currents.

That tower was approved, and Fuller said the data show the winds are strong enough to make electricity. He and business partner Mike Smith are proposing the wind farm, which would sit where the weather tower now stands.

That meteorological tower is “visible from many locations in and near Clifton,” Johns said.

Fuller and Smith have been working with the planning board on the project for the last year and have completed the project’s plan, which triggered the need for the hearing to get public comment.

The planning board hired a consultant from Virginia to review the developer’s sound impact study and will be using Skype to videoconference with the consultant during the public hearing.

“Our goal is to allow maximum public discussion,” Johns said. “That being said, we reserve the right to limit discussion to Clifton residents only should the turnout be so great we have to prioritize who can speak.”

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 6, and is being held in the Holbrook Middle School’s cafeteria.

Those who need more information about the project or the meeting can call the Clifton Town Hall at 843-0709.

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