'Back-door' deal with wind farm loses in court
Residents Mary Allen, Gordon Allen, Charles Levesque, Janice Longgood and Martha Pinello contended the town violated right-to-know laws in negotiating the payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) agreement with Antrim Wind LLC. The project would erect 10 wind turbines on the Tuttle Hill-Willard Mountain ridgeline.
Selectman Gordon Webber said Thursday, “The Antrim Board of Selectmen (is) disappointed with the decision. We do not agree with the court’s decision; however, it is the court’s decision and we will not appeal it.”
The project would have brought in $1 million a year without a PILOT agreement, Webber said.
Allen and Levesque said their group is not for or against the wind energy project, but opposed to the closed-doors tactics used to create the PILOT, which would have hurt the town since Antrim is part of a nine-town cooperative school district that calculates a town’s tax obligation using a formula based on student population and the town’s assessed value.
“My question is, why are we giving such a sweetheart deal to renewable energy,” Allen said.
Earlier this year, the state Site Evaluation Committee denied Antrim Wind’s application for a permit, saying that the impact to the conservation land surrounding the project would be too great.