WINSLOW — FPL Energy appears to have cleared the final hurdle to its plan to breach Fort Halifax Dam this summer.
The Winslow Planning Board in an unanimous vote Monday night approved the energy company’s application to remove a portion of the 100-year-old hydroelectric facility on the Sebasticook River.
That approval comes after federal and state regulators signed off on the plan.
After the vote, Rep. Kenneth Fletcher, R-Winslow, the most ardent opponent of dam removal, urged the board to allow a final public hearing on the issue.
Fletcher, a landowner on the lake created by the dam, submitted a petition from other residents supporting his request. But the board rejected that request, 3-2.
Chairman Michael Parker and members Richard Browning and Roy Strahan voted in the majority.
Elery Keene and Milton Poulliot were the dissenters.
“I feel the public has had a very extensive opportunity to have its feelings known,” Parker said just prior to the 3-2 vote. “We’ve had a public hearing and I don’t know how many public meetings now. I think if there was new or substantive information or facts relevant to some aspect of the application it might be different, but I think we’ve had ample opportunity to study all the facts.”>/p>
Town Attorney William Lee, however, indicated that the decision is not yet irreversible.
Lee said the vote is not closed officially until planners sign the final document.
He also said he has to check to see whether Fletcher’s petition obligates the board to hold another hearing.
Planners approved the application with numerous conditions, including requirements that FPL Energy monitor the stability of the south side of the Dallaire Street riverbank.
That neighborhood has been identified as the area most in jeopardy of a landslide or serious erosion when the dam is breached.
Sebago Technics, a consultant hired by the town, recommended that households most in danger evacuate their homes for up to two days when removal begins.
FPL Energy has agreed to pay those families $250 per day to cover evacuation expenses.