Northfield Calling for Major Changes to Town Plan

Northfield Calling for Major Changes to Town Plan

Every few years towns in Vermont rewrite their town plans. The newly proposed plan in Northfield calls for major changes; including a moratorium on wind turbines on the ridge surrounding the town.
NORTHFIELD, Vt. - Every few years towns in Vermont rewrite their town plans. The newly proposed plan in Northfield calls for major changes; including a moratorium on wind turbines on the ridge surrounding the town.
 
The town of Northfield is a picturesque community; surrounded by the Northfield ridge.
 
“We want to - like most of Vermont - maintain the open landscape and the natural landscape, the forests and farms that are such an important part of Vermont,” said Michele Braun, the Town of Northfield Zoning Administrator.
 
Braun says the newly proposed town plan tries to protect that beauty.
 
“The residents of Northfield were really concerned about the potential for industrial scale wind energy development on the Northfield ridge,” said Braun.
 
A new town plan is created every five years and the newest draft addresses many different issues. Braun says probably the most significant is a moratorium on large wind projects on the ridge overlooking the town.
 
A few years ago an energy company was exploring the possibility of developing a wind farm in Northfield.  Nothing panned out then - but it jump started a discussion about what could happen in the future.
 
“The Planning Commission took the step of prohibiting all non-residential development over 1800 feet in elevation to make sure our ridgelines are adequately protected,” said Braun.
 
People in Northfield are pretty split on the issue. While some tell us they want to protect the ridgeline, others say they support more wind power in the state; while others fall somewhere in between.
 
Even if the new town plan passes, the Public Service Board has the final say on whether a company could put a wind farm in Northfield. But Braun says PSB will take the town's plan into consideration.
 
The proposed changes to the town plan also include significant zoning changes; something leaders say hasn't been done since the 1970's.
 
There is one more public hearing on the plan on August 26th at the town's library.
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