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January 08. 2014 7:37PM

Alexandria selectmen vote to oppose wind farm proposal

ALEXANDRIA — Selectmen agreed Tuesday night to formally oppose the proposed Wild Meadows Wind Farm project.

At a gathering Tuesday night of about 75 people from Alexandria and neighboring towns called by selectmen, one person spoke in favor of Wild Meadows, which Spanish wind giant Iberdrola Renewables wants to build in town and in neighboring Danbury. More than 20 residents spoke against the project, many to loud applause, saying the turbines would ruin property values, the local tourism industry, and the overall quality of life in town.

After about 90 minutes of discussion, residents asked that selectmen state their positions on the 75.9-megawatt, 23-turbine wind power plant proposal, which would build 500-foot wind towers along the ridgelines of both towns while bringing financial benefits to taxpayers in both towns.

Many cited a vote from last March, when more than 70 percent of residents expressed opposition to the project.

“What more do you need?” selectmen were asked by several speakers, though board members didn’t immediately answer.

One man confronted the board with a different question: Despite the financial gain of more than $300,000 each year to the town, would selectmen agree to notify Iberdrola by mail that the town has refused the offer?

“I would,” said Selectman Donny Sharp.

“I would,” echoed Selectman George Tuthill.

Selectman Ken Hall did not agree, saying he was trying to stay “neutral” on the issue. But when pressured by residents about his responsibility as their representative, he agreed that selectmen would voice the town’s opposition to the project when meeting with the state’s Site Evaluation Committee, the approval authority for such projects.

There was no further talk of a refusal letter to Iberdrola. Tuthill said the board will discuss all of its options to oppose the plan at their next meeting, scheduled as a budget hearing, on Tuesday.

dseufert@newstote.com


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