INDUSTRY — Voters at Saturday’s annual Town Meeting approved a wind project ordinance that mandates a buffer zone around any future wind turbines, and they authorized a slight increase in the municipal budget.

The 80 voters in attendance approved the $390,728 proposed budget, which is 1.6 percent higher than the current one.

The wind ordinance was a pre-emptive measure to protect residents from noise or falling debris.

First Selectman Earl Ireland said the ordinance was drafted only to protect residents from possible hazards, not to discourage or encourage wind projects.

The ordinance passed overwhelmingly, 73-3.

The ordinance requires a buffer zone proportional to the size of the turbine. Projects large enough to be regulated by the Department of Environmental Protection would need a 7,000-foot buffer zone.

Maine has 11 operational wind farms. The only one in Franklin County, where Industry is located, is in Kibby Township.

Last year, voters overwhelmingly approved a six-month moratorium on wind energy projects at the annual Town Meeting in order to develop an ordinance to regulate such projects.

Voters also approved, after debate, spending $3,500 for the annual Fourth of July fireworks display.

Ireland said the event is one of the larger fireworks displays in the state and serves the town by creating statewide recognition and acting as a fundraiser for the Fire Department.

Some attendees said they thought they were paying for the fireworks display twice — first by paying the $3,500 in the budget and later by paying to attend the event.

Selectman and firefighter Robert Geisserl said if the taxpayers no longer want to support the event, he has no objections. He said it takes a large time commitment for the department to prepare for it, monitor it and clean up the next day.

Selectmen Mike Senecal was re-elected unopposed to his seat. There were no contested elections.

Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252
[email protected]

 

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