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by Faith DeAmbrose and Jonathan Thomas
With only three Brooksville residents attending a public hearing on Thursday, September 29, and not a single question asked, the meeting was called to order and then adjourned in just three minutes.
The meeting was designed to provide residents the opportunity to familiarize themselves with a proposed wind power ordinance slated for a November referendum vote. The meeting was one of two informational meetings on the topic; the first was held September 15 and drew approximately 15 people and prompted a 15- minute discussion.
While no questions were raised, Sarah Cox, speaking for the ordinance review committee that she chairs, said two language changes had been made since the September 15 meeting. The first specifies that if a planning board review fee were found to be necessary, it would be held in a non-interest bearing account. The words “non-interest bearing” were added, said Cox, so it was clear that the town would not make money on such a deposit.
In response to a question posed at the September hearing regarding electromagnetic interference, Cox reported that the ordinance review committee researched the topic and added the following language to the approval standards: “The [Wind Energy System] shall be designed, sited and constructed to prevent the disruption or loss of emergency private radio, telephone, television, internet connections or similar signals beyond the site. If it is demonstrated that the system is causing interference with such communications, the system operator shall promptly eliminate the interference or cease operation of the system.”
As previously reported in the September 29 issue of The Weekly Packet, the maximum tower height would be 100 feet. Since the length of a rotor blade is typically one-half the tower height, the total height would be about 150 feet to the tip of the blade at the top of its arc. (This contrasts with the approximate 400-foot blade tip height for the wind turbines on Vinalhaven.)
The maximum allowable power output of a turbine would be 50 kilowatts. The maximum sound level at a property boundary would be 35 decibels.
The ordinance provides that a surety bond be posted for facilities between 10 and 50 kW to cover the cost of removal if a tower is abandoned.
The proposed Wind Energy System Ordinance is available for viewing in its entirety at the town’s Web site brooksvillemaine.org. The ordinance will be voted on by referendum ballot at the November 8 election.