Proposed wind ordinance sets the standard
To the Editor:
An ordinance, a collection of rules derived to address adverse consequences from a particular event.
A barking dog ordinance, for example, doesn't ban the dog, but tries to persuade the owner to take measures to quiet the dog's incessant barking. More often than not, continuing complaints about some action taking place initiates an ordinance with intention to abate such actions to provide for the public good. Nine out of 10 ordinances have no aspects of financial considerations other than, perhaps, a fine for breaking the rules.
Rumford's newest and much improved wind ordinance does not ban wind projects. Like the above example of a dog ordinance, it addresses unwanted noise. It recognizes wind mills will make noise and it doesn't ban the noise, but after much study, research and evidence, it is apparent the current limits used by the DEP are out of date and out of sync with this, never before experienced phenomenon.
A five-decibel reduction in the sound level does not kill a wind project, it simply tells the developer to place the project far enough away from people to avoid unwanted noise or design a quieter machine, and, thus, relieve these people from having to take on the burden of proof that the noise is bothersome. This could mean having to get a lawyer and enter into court proceedings. Avoiding all this fuss is what this small reduction in sound limit will do. For a nation that engineered its way to the moon, this small mitigation of sound should be a cinch for engineers to accomplish. Remember, wherever there is wind, there is potential for a machine to be erected to capture it.
The snag with this, as seen by some, evolves around the promise of money to enrich the Town of Rumford. A fiscal opportunity that has to be grasped now, before the developer decides to move on to another location. Wind is everywhere, they don't need Rumford's wind to place a project, especially if the path to placing them there involves a hassle to them.
Well, the mill was hassled to change their ways to clean up the air and river and they complied. The idea that money can overwhelm our responsibility inherent in a good neighbor policy isn't conducive to enriching a community. Regrettably, money easily fractures this traditional community concept. Desperation, driven by money, should never be public policy.
This ordinance addresses consequences before it is too late to cope with them. It singles out no landowner nor developer.
Whether you are for or against wind machines, this ordinance, if passed by a "yes" vote, alleviates much disturbance that would take place without it. Vote "yes" and show each other that money does not trump neighborly aspirations.
I am not a Rumford resident. Even through I address the proposed Rumford wind ordinance, I really feel the whole River Valley would do itself good by obtaining a copy of this document. It reveals what countless hours of work can bring about. Although my hometown spirit makes me choke a little, I will say that Rumford again has set the standard for the River Valley.