WINDSOR: Solar facilities moratorium extended by 180-days

by The Town Line staff

The October 11 Windsor Select Board meeting opened with a short public hearing concerning a 180-day extension of the Utility Scale Solar Facilities Moratorium Ordinance.

F. Gerald Nault said the only thing he would like to bring up is within the ordinance itself, regarding the question on the solar energy facilities occupying 800 square feet or less. He said within the ordinance it doesn’t say whether an applicant can apply multiple times on the same parcel of land of 800 square feet or less each time, and wanted the select board to be aware that if an applicant applied for 800 square feet or less, they could apply over and over on the same parcel and not have to go through the application process. Nault felt the language should be clarified that only one solar energy facilities occupying 800 square feet or less should be allowed on the same parcel of land within the ordinance.

Town manager Theresa Haskell said the public hearing was to discuss the extension of the moratorium ordinance for an additional 180 days with the problem giving rise to the need for the moratorium still exists, and reasonable progress is being made to alleviate the problem. She also stated the information Nault brought forward could be discussed during the regular select board meeting. No one else spoke at the hearing.

During the regular select board meeting members voted 4-0 to extend the moratorium by 180 days. Selectman Andrew Ballantyne was absent. A special town meeting will be held on Wednesday, November 9, concerning the utility scale solar energy facility ordinance.

Nault proposed the select board make the following change to the previously approved ordinance: “Solar Energy Facilities occupying 800 square feet or less on the same land parcel are exempt from the requirements of this ordinance. All solar energy facilities must meet state electrical codes and permitting requirements, and applicable requirements of any other ordinance of the town of Windsor. An applicant may only be allowed one installation of an array of less than 800 square feet on the same land parcel only.” The select board unanimously approved the proposal.

In other business, during public comment, Delta Ambulance representatives Tim Beals and Bill McKenna were in attendance at the meeting. Beals gave a brief history of Delta Ambulance, then went on to say they can no longer run on patient billing alone. He stated Delta depends on patient billing to support its 24/7 operation.

Delta participates with Medicare, MaineCare and private insurance companies. In the event a patient has no insurance, Delta must bill the patient directly. A patient who is not transported is not billed with only two exceptions, cardiac arrest and diabetic emergency.

Waterville and Winslow recently developed their own ambulance services and no longer contract with Delta. After losing both Palermo and Jefferson, the Delta board of directors has reviewed several models of service fee agreements and are looking to charge a straight-forward per capital amount of $15 and would take effect in January 2023. The estimated cost to the town of Windsor would be $39,000. Beals also stressed that any town that does not come to some agreement, would not be served by Delta.

The next Windsor Select Board meeting was held on October 25.


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