Falmouth street lights will remain on for now; council to consider wind energy ordinance

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FALMOUTH — By unanimous consensus Monday, the Town Council killed a plan to eliminate street lights throughout the town as a cost-saving measure initially included in the fiscal 2011 budget.

The plan targeted 174 street lights for elimination, with a goal of turning off 135 of the lights by July 1 for a projected savings of $20,000.

However, the proposal was extremely unpopular with many residents whose nearby lights were to be turned off. After a packed public hearing and many letters to the town, Town Manager Nathan Poore said he had received comments about a majority of the lights; most people, he said, were opposed to turning them off.

“We did have a few people in favor,” Poore said, adding that the town would work with those who wanted the lights off to make sure that was completed as quickly as possible.

Poore said the town’s valuation has come in higher than anticipated, which will more than make up for the $20,000 budget shortfall created by maintaining the lights.

He added that should LED technology be made available for street lights in the future, that would be an appropriate time to review the issue again.

In other business, the council also recommended town staff move forward on developing a wind energy ordinance after the town received a request from local business owner Steve Woods about installing wind turbines at his TideSmart headquarters, currently under construction on Route 1.

Community Development Director Amanda Stearns said Yarmouth and Saco both recently adopted wind energy ordinances, and that she would utilize these as models in crafting an appropriate ordinance for Falmouth.

Emily Parkhurst can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or [email protected]