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Dixmont to Vote on Industrial Wind Energy Ordinance 

Two years ago, a company started looking into the potential for placing wind turbines along Mt. Harris in Dixmont. Since then, local residents have been talking about what that could mean for them– and Thursday, the issue comes to a vote.Mt. Harris Wind had plans to build about ten turbines along this ridge in Dixmont, says project partner Andrew Price.”We have suspended activity, permitting activity, for basically the past year to allow the town to research and develop an ordinance that will be voted on this Thursday,” Price says.For the past nine months, the Dixmont planning board has been researching the effects of industrial turbines on nearby residents. The ordinance they’ve written sets technical requirements for the sound and shadow flicker they produce, the distance to other structures, and other regulations.Planning Board Chair Stuart Cohen says they hadn’t always heard good things from facilities in other towns.”We see neighbors saying, ‘It’s not what I expected, the sound is different. I was told it’s not going to be like this,’ and unfortunately, that’s the problem we have tried to address in Dixmont,” Cohen says.Price says, if passed, the ordinance would essentially prohibit them from putting turbines anywhere in the area– and sends the wrong message about wind power in Maine.”It’s not an ordinance that will allow any wind development to occur, because there’s no property in Dixmont that can satisfy these restrictions. That may have been the intent of the ordinance,” Price says.Cohen says that’s not the case.”It provides for the responsible development of it. And if responsibility is restrictive, then so be it. But the public’s health, safety and welfare is the crux of what this ordinance is meant to address,” Cohen says.Voters will decide the issue at a special town meeting Thursday night. It starts at seven at the Etna-Dixmont school.To read the Dixmont Wind Energy Facility Ordinance, click here.