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News Feature

Originally published in The Weekly Packet, September 22, 2011
Brooksville voters approve harbormaster boat, consider wind power ordinance

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by Jonathan Thomas

In the first event of a two-event evening on September 15, approximately 15 Brooksville voters at a 6:30 p.m. special town meeting quickly approved the expenditure of up to $30,000 to purchase a boat and dinghy for the harbormaster without any questions or discussion. “That may be a record [for a short meeting],” said moderator Robert Vaughan after gaveling the meeting to a close.

Those present soon realized they would need to wait about 25 minutes before the start of the evening’s second event, an informational meeting on the proposed wind power development ordinance. To fill the time, Vaughan led an informal discussion about the boat the harbor committee intends to purchase with the newly approved funds, and how it will be used.

Vaughan said the committee has selected a 22-foot Webber’s Cove boat with a Honda 90 horsepower motor, with trailer, available from Les Jones for $18,000. He said some needed repairs will bring the total cost to approximately $23,000. The funds will come from an existing harbor committee reserve, and not from new taxes.

Chairman of the Harbor Committee Sarah Cox said the boat would be kept in Smith Cove, and be available to the fire department for rescues.

Wind power ordinance

At 7 p.m. Vaughan moderated a 15-minute discussion on a proposed wind power ordinance drafted by the town’s ordinance committee.

Speaking for the ordinance review committee, which she also chairs, Cox said the maximum tower height would be 100 feet. Since the length of a rotor blade is typically one-half the tower height, the total height would be about 150 feet to the tip of the blade at the top of its arc. (This contrasts with the approximate 400-foot blade tip height of the wind turbines on Vinalhaven.)

The maximum allowable power output of a turbine would be 50 kilowatts. The maximum sound level at a property boundary would be 35 decibels.

The ordinance provides that a surety bond be posted for facilities between 10 and 50 kW to cover the cost of removal if a tower is abandoned.

In response to a question, Cox said she would do research on the provision that a generator not produce electromagnetic interference with signal transmission or reception beyond the site. She said the committee had used materials from many other ordinances in drafting this ordinance for Brooksville.

There will be a formal public hearing on the ordinance on Thursday, September 29, at 7 p.m. in the Public Service Building. It will be voted on by referendum ballot at the November 8 election.