News Feature

Deer Isle
Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, September 8, 2011
Deer Isle Planning Board approves permits, hears comment on wind turbines

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by Jonathan Thomas

The Deer Isle Planning Board approved permits for an engineered drainage system, a two-story addition, and a new two-story residence at its August 25 meeting. The board heard comments from a resident opposing wind turbines in town.

Bruce Lipschultz, accompanied by his wife, Shelley, presented an application to correct erosion problems on their Dow Point property (map 8, lot 11). The board reviewed plans and photographs of the site before voting 5-0 to approve a permit. A Maine Department of Environmental Protection permit by rule had already been issued.

After brief discussion, the board also approved (5-0) an application from Christine and Dean Haskell for an addition to their residence on Windward Lane at Blastow Cove on Little Deer Isle (map 30, lot 61). Christine Haskell was present to respond to questions.

Chairman Jeremy Stewart recused himself as the board considered an application from Reardon’s Retreat, Inc., to build a two-story house with decks and porch on Freese Island (map 10, lot 47). Isaac Robbins represented the applicant and answered questions before the board voted 4-0 to grant approval.

Stewart distributed copies of a draft ordinance that would regulate wind energy systems. Stewart said the board had reviewed ordinances from many towns in recent months before asking the town’s attorney to prepare an ordinance that combined Penobscot’s ordinance with the portion of Sedgwick’s ordinance that set maximum noise levels.

The board will discuss the ordinance at its next meeting on September 15. At that time the board will set the date for a public hearing. When it is considered ready, the ordinances will be presented to the town’s voters at a special town meeting.

The draft ordinance provides standards for lot size and setback, and allows a maximum height of 100 feet to the top of the blade. Large commercial turbines can have a blade height of 400 feet.

Resident Hal Burdo said that he attended the meeting after reading in the paper that in several previous meetings, only one other person had come before the board to speak on the issue.

Burdo said that he was not against wind power when used to benefit the people in the area where it was being generated. However, he said, he objected to local wind generation of electricity that would go onto the grid and be sold out of state at lower rates than local people were paying.

Burdo said wind turbines are “aesthetically not very pleasing,” and that noise was another major concern. He said that the taxes that would be paid back to a town would not make up for the adverse impact of turbines.

Board members present in addition to Stewart were Dave Hutchinson, Dan Owens, Melissa Proper, Eric Ziner, and new alternate member Tom Leigh. Code Enforcement Officer Hubert Billings was also active in the meeting.