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Viewpoint

Does developer really care about ‘Antrium?’

A week or so ago, Antrim Wind Energy’s CEO Jack Kenworthy sent an “update” on his Antrim Wind project to an edited list of Antrim residents. I was not one of them. Most registered voters likely got one, and they may have noticed, oddly enough, that it started with “Dear Atrium Residents…”

In his letter, Mr. Kenworthy lauds the benefits of the Antrim Wind project that the state’s expert panel on site development for industrial wind facilities, the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee, overwhelmingly denied in February. The same panel reaffirmed that denial in June.

As reported in this paper, on Dec. 11 a petition warrant article signed by some 40-plus Antrim residents was presented to the selectmen. This warrant article, if approved by voters in March could, with just a few sentences, significantly endanger our town’s coveted Rural Conservation Zone, established 44 years ago. It would also set up our Highway Business District for “industrial” growth along both the Route 9 and Route 202 corridors.

Now, as Mr. Kenworthy announces in his “update” of Dec. 20, “A number of local residents …signed a petition to advance this process.”

This “process,” as Mr. Kenworthy calls it, is not just about establishing the right to build industrial facilities within these two zoning districts, or would it simply pave-the-way for Antrim Wind to dictate to those who live in Antrim what will make it easier, more profitable… and the heck with anyone else. This “process” strips all of us of our voice and power to decide what can be done and developed in two very important and diverse zoning districts. If this petition warrant article passes, it will also set the precedent and open-the-door to any other commercial real estate developer or industrialist that happens along.

Whether one is in favor of a future industrial wind facility in the highlands above North Branch, or is against it, there is but one unifying question we need to ask ourselves: If Antrim residents and voters acquiesce and allow Antrim Wind Energy to determine what is best for Antrim by the “process” of introducing their own scripted ordinance, and “attach” 11 pages of self-determined standards to go along with it, how can we expect to regulate and limit whomever else comes along, to build an industrial facility in our conservation lands and along our scenic highways.

I grant that Mr. Kenworthy and Antrim Wind Energy have a thin, non-resident right to work a “process,” under state Town Meeting statutes, that asks Antrim voters to give-away-the-store if the majority so choose. But I am offended and concerned at the thought of outside developers with seemingly unlimited resources, and quite selfish interests, dictating what our long established Zoning Ordinance and Districts should look like, and allow.

Atrium…Antrim…however Mr. Kenworthy chooses to spell it in his solicitations for support, I suggest that he learn to spell it “Our Town.” Please don’t miss the opportunity to let him know loud and clear by defeating this petition warrant article on March 11 at the ballot box.

Peter Moore lives in Antrim.

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