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January 25, 2012 | last updated January 27, 2012 12:00 pm

Landowners sue Frankfort over wind farm ordinance

A trio of landowners in Frankfort has filed a civil lawsuit against the town, arguing a recently passed land use ordinance that effectively bans a proposed wind farm is a violation of state and federal laws. The group argues the town cannot legally enact a land use ordinance because the midcoast town lacks a comprehensive plan.

Through a townwide special referendum election in December, residents voted 244-222 to approve the ordinance, which requires wind farms to be set back one mile from abutting property lines and limits noise from turbines to 45 decibels during the day and 32 at night. Portsmouth, N.H.-based Eolian Renewable Energy had proposed a six-turbine wind farm on Mount Waldo on land the company is leasing from the three landowners, Bernard Madden, Kermit Allen and Wayne Allen. The trio is now asking Waldo County Superior Court to declare the ordinance null and void and order the town to compensate them for "regulatory taking" of their property rights, which they say is a violation of state and federal constitutions, according to the Bangor Daily News.

According to the complaint, other types of development have occurred on the land, including the construction of radio towers and tree harvesting, and that there is no "rational planning objective for singling out wind energy facilities in a town that does not regulate any other land use activity on private property."

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