FRANKFORT, Maine — After months of tension and debate about health concerns, possible property depreciation and landowners’ rights, the residents of Frankfort have made a decision.
They voted Thursday in favor of adopting a controversial wind ordinance that was created by worried residents in response to a proposal to build a four- to six-turbine wind farm on a privately owned parcel on top of Mount Waldo. It will be the community’s first-ever land-use ordinance.
“People voted and we decided not to let the company self-regulate,” Erin-Kate Sousa, a member of the committee that wrote the ordinance, said Thursday night after votes were tallied. “It was a really good turnout, numbers-wise.”
More than half of the town’s estimated 900 registered voters cast ballots at the Frankfort Elementary School gymnasium during the day-long referendum. According to the clerk, 244 people voted in favor of the ordinance, with 222 voting against it.
“Obviously, this is a blow to the project,” said Travis Bullard of Eolian Renewable Energy. “We’ve worked real hard over the last year to explain the details. Unfortunately, some people have spread enough fear and misinformation to usher in a very restrictive anti-wind ordinance. We’ll be evaluating the next steps of the project next week.”
But Sousa took exception to his words.
“I don’t think we’ve spread fear. I think we’ve spread facts,” she said.
Bullard’s company, which is based in Portsmouth, N.H., is in the process of developing smaller wind projects around the country, including one in nearby Orland.
On Thursday night, before the polls closed at 8 p.m., Bullard was busy at his temporary in-town office making last-minute efforts to rally residents to get out and vote. Next door, at the Family Country Market on Route 1A, a vocal group of customers held an animated discussion about the wind ordina.........
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