Public hearing on wind energy ordinance Tuesday night

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FARMINGTON – A public hearing on a wind energy performance standards draft proposed to be added to the town’s zoning ordinance will be held near the beginning of the selectmen’s meeting Tuesday. The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Farmington Municipal Building.

The proposed ordinance addition targets commercial and residential wind power systems, but not the industrial-sized wind farms that feature the largest wind turbines 410 feet tall, from base to blade tip. Code Enforcement Officer Steve Kaiser said earlier he doesn’t believe those projects are feasible in Farmington, due to the terrain and lack of enough wind to merit such a project.

The new ordinance draft was approved by the planning board on Nov. 14.

The ordinance sets in place a permitting procedure for wind projects, regulating setbacks, sound emissions and making provisions for radio signal disturbance, lighting and shadow flicker. As the ordinance currently reads, turbines would be required to not exceed a sound pressure level of 60 decibels, with the reading taken from the nearest property line.

The ordinance also mandates the construction of fences at the base of towers, and that non-operative turbines be removed. A projection of a prospective project’s potential for shadow flicker, caused by the blades casting shadows on the ground or other background to create rapid shifts in light intensity, would also be required.

Fees of $50, for a residential turbine, and $500, for each turbine in a commercial project, would be required to submit an application.

The ordinance exempts wind power systems used to pump water or operate equipment, that for instance, a farm operation would use. The public can pick up a copy of the proposed ordinance draft at the Municipal Building.

A first attempt to get a wind energy system ordinance added to the Farmington zoning ordinance was tabled at last year’s annual town meeting, as requested by town officials. At the time it was felt that more review was needed for a final draft.

Brian Kuhn of Associated Wind Developers and Aeronautica Windpower of Plymouth, Mass., points to the comparable wind power turbine sizes at a planning board presentation on Oct. 17 in Farmington. The turbines proposed for the Bailey Farm acreage are the shortest model partially hidden behind Kuhn's arm.

In the meantime, a smaller, commercial project was presented to the planning board members at their Oct. 17 meeting as a possibility off Bailey Hill Road.

That proposal is to install four, 293-foot-tall wind turbines off Davis Road near the Bailey Hill Road intersection. At the meeting, Brian Kuhn of Associated Wind Developers from Plymouth, Mass., which develops wind power projects and Aeronautica Windpower, a manufacturer of 750 kilowatt, “queen-sized” or smaller turbines for more populated areas, described the proposed project in Farmington as “in its infancy.”

Following the public hearing on the ordinance Tuesday night, selectmen will need to approve the ordinance before it can appear on this year’s spring town meeting warrant.

A public hearing will also be held on a new liquor license application submitted by the Roost Pub & Wingery to be located one floor down from Dunkin’ Donuts and Summit Faith Community Church at 187 Main Street in downtown. To read a previous story on the pub, click here.

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  1. When are we going to learn that wind power is not the answer?!?! Its not efficient, has little return when given the facts and figures and costs a bundle of cash, which we don’t have.
    But what can I say, it’s the blind leading the blind when it comes to just about everything nowadays.

  2. Great article in an old Downeast Magazine about the effect of wind farms on the people who live
    near them.

  3. @me you’re right if you’re talking the large windmills. However, we have a small one for our off-grid system that cost $500, and it’s paid for itself in less than a year, just in savings on not having to buy gas for the generator. So not all windmills fall under the qualifications of your statement.

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