DANBURY — At last week’s town meetings, several towns in the Newfound Lake-Mount Cardigan area passed rights-based ordinances and wind farm-related articles aimed at protecting towns’ rights from proposed and potential wind-farm developments.
Danbury voters OK’d an article designed to protect residents from one of the primary fears voiced by opponents of proposed wind power projects in the Lakes Region — a potential loss of property values from a 500-foot wind tower built nearby.
The last article on the warrant read: “Shall the town of Danbury require that all industrial wind developers provide all property owners, who are not legally bound to the industrial wind developers through leases or easements, within a three-mile radius of the base of any turbine or within the view shed, a property value guarantee?”
The article passed, as did two other wind-related articles and an article asking for the town to “protect the health, safety, and welfare of residents and ecosystems of Danbury ... by establishing a community bill of rights; and by prohibiting the siting of new energy projects that would violate those rights?”
“The purpose of this ordinance is to guarantee residents’ right to determine their own energy future,” Article 9 read.
And though the Wild Meadows and Spruce Ridge wind farm projects are being proposed for the area, the towns have no authority to stop any such projects, officials say. The state’s Site Evaluation Committee has authority over wind-energy projects larger than 30 megawatts.
“The (Site Evaluation Committee) currently preempts local legislation, though the committee certainly can consider local legislation,” said SEC Attorney Michael Iacopino.
The state is considering SB99, a bill to study the site evaluation committee and process, and developing regulatory criteria for the siting of energy facilities that may permit more local control.