Temple residents to vote on moratorium, committee eyes ordinance

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TEMPLE – A group of residents and selectmen, motivated by events in surrounding communities and possible interest in local hills, is planning develop a wind power ordinance.

Selectman said they expected to add an article on the March town meeting warrant, which would ask residents if they wanted to place a six-month moratorium on wind power development in Temple. If approved, committee members, meeting for the first time Monday evening, hope to use that time to develop a wind power ordinance.

At a special town meeting last year, residents supported an article empowering selectmen to develop a wind power ordinance. Selectmen noted that tax maps had been purchased for a band of Temple hills, starting with Varnum Mountain and curving north, by a developer in Chicago. There have been no plans, or specific interest, announced by anyone in or out of town regarding wind power development, but residents at Monday evening’s meeting were eager to move the process forward.

“You can’t activate an ordinance afterward,” First Selectman Kathleen Lynch said.

Other local communities have dealt with the issue of wind power ordinances. Phillips, for example, created an extremely technical and comprehensive ordinance which set sight and sound parameters for turbine placement. Carthage, where a 12-turbine development is in the middle of the Department of Environmental Protection permitting process, declined to set a moratorium. Other towns, such as Wilton, decided to use their existing site development protocols to manage wind power projects.

Resident Bob Kimber, acting as the committee’s chair, pointed to both positive and negative impacts of a wind power facility in town.

“We want to give the town control over something that is going to be very visible and have a big impact on the town,” Kimber said.

The committee did not get into specifics, other than the six-month moratorium which will appear on the March 14 town meeting warrant. That period could be extended another six months if more time was needed.

The committee intends to develop a fact sheet, answering commonly asked questions about wind power and moratoriums, to be available to members of the public.

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