By Maggie Gill-Austern, Staff Writer
AUGUSTA – Maine Land Use Regulation Commission staff are recommending a public hearing be held on a rezoning petition that would benefit a proposed wind farm.
The staff filed a memorandum last week on the petition submitted by Maine Mountain Power Limited Liability Corp. on Feb. 8.
Maine Mountain Power, a joint venture of Endless Energy Corp. of Yarmouth and Edison Mission Group of California, has had plans in the works to build a wind farm in parts of Redington Township for more than 10 years.
To do so, the company needs to have about 1,000 acres rezoned around Redington and Black Nubble mountains into a “planned development subdistrict.”>/p>
Included in the power company’s Feb. 8 application was a request for approval of a preliminary development plan, detailing a proposed 30-turbine, 60- to 90-megawatt wind farm, complete with gravel access roads, a maintenance building, and aboveground and below-ground utility lines.
LURC land-use planner Marcia Spencer-Famous, who wrote the staff recommendation, said Wednesday that basically the recommendation is “a formality. It’s required under our rules” to hold public hearings whenever there is a request to rezone land into a planned development subdistrict. These districts are specific types of development zones, she said, “for projects required to be located (near) a specific natural resource.”>/p>
LURC’s recommendation also took into account the level of interest – and opposition – Maine Mountain Power’s plan has already received. Spencer-Famous said it’s too soon to plan a hearing date, although LURC may take into account a request by the Appalachian Trail Club.
Club members hope the hearing isn’t held until after June 15, to allow those who intend to oppose the application a chance to inspect the area after the winter snow melts, according to club lawyer William L. Plouffe of Portland.
LURC is expected make a decision regarding the staff’s recommendation at its meeting on Monday in Augusta.