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Clifton Bracing For Battle Over Wind Farm 

A landowner in Clifton wants to put a wind farm on top of Pisgah mountain by next year. Some local residents are asking him, and the town, to slow those plans down.Paul Fuller and his wife own nearly 300 acres on scenic Pisgah mountain. Fuller says conditions there are ideal for a wind farm. “This land has the 115 transmission line on it,” he says, “it’s far enough away from residences, the road system’s already in, and it has good elevations.”Fuller says testing equipment he installed last year shows there’s plenty of wind. “After 10 1/2 months it’s clear that we have a good class four wind which is strong enough and consistent enough to produce the kind of energy that these large turbines need.”The 3 to 4 turbine project would cost $10-$20 million. Fuller says he’s working on getting the funding and has already started the permitting process.The town of Clifton has drafted one of the strictest ordinances the state has seen regarding wind farms. Among the restrictions, towers must be set back 4000 feet from a residence. The ordinance also calls for annual sound audits of the turbines. The noise levels will not be allowed to eclipse 40 decibels at night or 50 decibels during the day. For some, the restrictions aren’t good enough.Julie Beckford and her husband Pete are concerned about the view and the noise. Beckford says she’s concerned after what she’s read about other sites like Freedom and Mars Hill. “People in those towns feel like they got burned or mislead,” she says, “I don’t think industrial wind turbines belong in Clifton.”Fuller has offered to give a piece of land to the town if they’ll foot the cost of a turbine for town use. “It would be enough power for the entire town, all the homes in the town of Clifton,” he says. “That’s a pipe dream,” says Beckford, “Clifton will never raise $3 million to put up it’s own turbine and develop its own electricity.”The town will vote on the proposed wind ordinance June 8th. Selectman Ed Beauchamp says he’ll vote in favor of the wind farm but he’s unsure of how the other 4 members of the selectboard will vote. He’s urging residents to get involved and not fall for the misinformation that is out there. “I would ask that the public would go to the meetings when we advertise them in different places,” he says, “you should get involved in the way your town is run.”