EDDINGTON, Maine — Planning board members have worked for more than 18 months on creating new wind energy facility rules for the town, and the draft plans are ready to be presented to the public, Town Manager Russell Smith said Tuesday.
The draft ordinance requires a wind turbine setback of one mile from homes, businesses, schools and churches, and it has strict noise restrictions, he said, adding that those two issues are what residents are talking about.
“The biggest [talking point] is the setbacks,” Smith said.
The state requires setbacks of 1,500 feet between turbines and residences. The proposed setback for Eddington is more than three times that.
The first of two public hearings to present the 35-page proposed ordinance is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the town office, and the second is planned for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 10.
At the two public meetings, “they’ll take public comment on it to see how everybody feels,” Smith said.
No one had filed any official paperwork but a wind farm developer has spoken with town officials, Smith said.
“There has been interest on Black Cat” Mountain, he said. “There have been no applications before the board, but there has been some interest up there.”
The strict ordinance, which is similar to one created for Dixmont last year, includes a mitigation waiver process that allows developers and landowners to work together on potential wind projects, Smith said.
The draft ordinance mitigation waivers must be written and filed with the planning board and recorded in the Penobscot County Register of Deeds, the draft ordinance requires.
Any proposed wind farm on Black Cat would need a waiver to move forward under the proposed new rules, Smith said.
The proposed Eddington ordinance would require wind turbines to operate with sound levels that do not exceed 40 decibels at night and 50 dBA during the day anywhere within a mile of the facility.
Neighboring Clifton recently passed a wind ordinance that restricts sound levels to 45 dBA during the day and 55 dBA at night in areas within 4,000 feet of the turbines.
Once the planning board receives feedback from residents it may decide to amend the proposed plan, which then will be presented to selectmen for approval before it is placed in the hands of residents at the annual town meeting on March 22, Smith said.
A copy of the proposed wind energy facility ordinance is posted under the planning board heading on the town’s website, eddingtonmaine.gov.