Sangerville residents vote to restrict wind development, keep woodlots

Posted April 02, 2013, at 6:10 p.m.

SANGERVILLE, Maine — Residents of this Piscataquis County town overwhelmingly passed an article that places a six-month moratorium on any commercial wind projects during Saturday’s town meeting.

The town also voted to place a six-month moratorium on any east-west corridor development.

Town Manager Dave Pearson said Selectman Melissa Randall, who proposed the wind moratorium article, saw transmission lines being built in Abbot and Parkman and was concerned for Sangerville.

An article to place a six-month moratorium on wind projects passed for the same reason as the east-west corridor moratorium, Pearson said.

“With no land use ordinance, there’s nothing the town can say [to a wind turbine developer] other than ‘OK,’” said Pearson. “That was her concern with that. There needs to be some planning involved. With high-tension power lines, there ought to be some sort of way to see what the impact on the town would be and plan for it.”

Pearson said there is no plan for any transmission lines to be built in Sangerville at this time.

Pearson said a third issue among the 73 articles considered during the nearly six-hour-long town meeting was also a testy one — the town’s four woodlots.

“The select board has made some discussion about selling the woodlots. A group of people got some petitions to keep the woodlots. They were passed and approved,” said Pearson. “There will be no sale of the woodlots for the coming year.”

Adjoining woodlots in two areas in town account for more than 400 acres, said Pearson. There had been some timber harvesting in the past, but the town recently received a grant to plant 2,000 trees. The red pine plantation was planted back in the 1950s, but were cut because they were the right size for utility poles.

The area will be replanted with oak, maple, chestnut and butternut trees, he said.

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