Public Laws

124th Legislature

Second Regular Session


Parts: A B C D E F G H

Chapter 615

S.P. 710 - L.D. 1810

PART D

Sec. D-1. 12 MRSA §682, sub-§1,  as amended by PL 1999, c. 333, §1, is further amended to read:

1. Unorganized and deorganized areas.   "Unorganized and deorganized areas" includes all unorganized and deorganized townships, plantations that have not received commission approval under section 685-A, subsection 4 to implement their own land use controls, municipalities that have organized since 1971 but have not received commission approval under section 685-A, subsection 4 to implement their own land use controls and all other areas of the State that are not part of an organized municipality except Indian reservations. For the purposes of permitting a community-based offshore wind energy project and structures associated with resource analysis activities necessary for such an intended project, the area of submerged land to be occupied for such a project and resource analysis structures is considered to be in the unorganized or deorganized areas.

Sec. D-2. 12 MRSA §682, sub-§19  is enacted to read:

19 Community-based offshore wind energy project.   "Community-based offshore wind energy project" means a wind energy development, as defined by Title 35-A, section 3451, subsection 11, with an aggregate generating capacity of less than 3 megawatts that meets the following criteria: the generating facilities are wholly or partially located on or above the coastal submerged lands of the State; the generating facilities are located within one nautical mile of one or more islands that are within the unorganized and deorganized areas of the State and the project will offset part or all of the electricity requirements of those island communities; and the development meets the definition of "community-based renewable energy project" as defined by Title 35-A, section 3602, subsection 1.

Sec. D-3. 12 MRSA §685-B, sub-§2-C,  as repealed and replaced by PL 2009, c. 492, §1, is amended to read:

2-C. Wind energy development; community-based offshore wind energy projects; determination deadline.   The following provisions govern wind energy development.
A. The commission shall consider any wind energy development in the expedited permitting area under Title 35A, chapter 34A with a generating capacity of 100 kilowatts or greater or a community-based offshore wind energy project a use requiring a permit, but not a special exception, within the affected districts or subdistricts. For an offshore wind energy project that is proposed within one nautical mile of an island within the unorganized or deorganized areas, the commission shall review the proposed project to determine whether the project qualifies as a community-based offshore wind energy project and therefore is within the jurisdiction of the commission. The commission may require an applicant to provide a timely notice of filing prior to filing an application for, and may require the applicant to attend a public meeting during the review of, a wind energy development or a community-based offshore wind energy project. The commission shall render its determination on an application for such a development or project within 185 days after the commission determines that the application is complete, except that the commission shall render such a decision within 270 days if it holds a hearing on the application. The chair of the Public Utilities Commission or the chair's designee shall serve as a nonvoting member of the commission and may participate fully but is not required to attend hearings when the commission considers an application for an expedited wind energy development or a community-based offshore wind energy project. The chair's participation on the commission pursuant to this subsection does not affect the ability of the Public Utilities Commission to submit information into the record of the commission's proceedings. For purposes of this subsection, "expedited permitting area," "expedited wind energy development" and "wind energy development" have the same meanings as in Title 35-A, section 3451.
B. At the request of an applicant, the commission may stop the processing time for a period of time agreeable to the commission and the applicant. The expedited review period specified in paragraph A does not apply to the associated facilities, as defined in Title 35-A, section 3451, subsection 1, of the wind energy development or community-based offshore wind energy project if the commission determines that an expedited review time is unreasonable due to the size, location, potential impacts, multiple agency jurisdiction or complexity of that portion of the development or project.

Sec. D-4. 12 MRSA §685-B, sub-§4,  as amended by PL 2009, c. 492, §2, is further amended to read:

4. Criteria for approval.   In approving applications submitted to it pursuant to this section, the commission may impose such reasonable terms and conditions as the commission may consider appropriate. In making a decision under this subsection regarding an application for a community-based offshore wind energy project, the commission may not consider whether the project meets the specific criteria designated in section 1862, subsection 2, paragraph A, subparagraph (6), divisions (a) to (d). This limitation is not intended to restrict the commission's review of related potential impacts of the project as determined by the commission.

The commission may not approve an application, unless:

A. Adequate technical and financial provision has been made for complying with the requirements of the State's air and water pollution control and other environmental laws, and those standards and regulations adopted with respect thereto, including without limitation the minimum lot size laws, sections 4807 to 4807G, the site location of development laws, Title 38, sections 481 to 490, and the natural resource protection laws, Title 38, sections 480A to 480Z, and adequate provision has been made for solid waste and sewage disposal, for controlling of offensive odors and for the securing and maintenance of sufficient healthful water supplies;
B. Adequate provision has been made for loading, parking and circulation of land, air and water traffic, in, on and from the site, and for assurance that the proposal will not cause congestion or unsafe conditions with respect to existing or proposed transportation arteries or methods;
C. Adequate provision has been made for fitting the proposal harmoniously into the existing natural environment in order to ensure there will be no undue adverse effect on existing uses, scenic character and natural and historic resources in the area likely to be affected by the proposal. In making a determination under this paragraph regarding development to facilitate withdrawal of groundwater, the commission shall consider the effects of the proposed withdrawal on waters of the State, as defined by Title 38, section 361A, subsection 7; water-related natural resources; and existing uses, including, but not limited to, public or private wells, within the anticipated zone of contribution to the withdrawal. In making findings under this paragraph, the commission shall consider both the direct effects of the proposed withdrawal and its effects in combination with existing water withdrawals.

In making a determination under this paragraph regarding an expedited wind energy development, as defined in Title 35A, section 3451, subsection 4, or a community-based offshore wind energy project, the commission shall consider the development's or project's effects on scenic character and existing uses related to scenic character in accordance with Title 35A, section 3452.

In making a determination under this paragraph regarding a wind energy development, as defined in Title 35A, section 3451, subsection 11, that is not a grid-scale wind energy development, that has a generating capacity of 100 kilowatts or greater and that is proposed for location within the expedited permitting area, the commission shall consider the development's or project's effects on scenic character and existing uses relating to scenic character in the manner provided for in Title 35A, section 3452;

D. The proposal will not cause unreasonable soil erosion or reduction in the capacity of the land to absorb and hold water and suitable soils are available for a sewage disposal system if sewage is to be disposed on-site;
E. The proposal is otherwise in conformance with this chapter and the regulations, standards and plans adopted pursuant thereto; and
F. In the case of an application for a structure upon any lot in a subdivision, that the subdivision has received the approval of the commission.

The burden is upon the applicant to demonstrate by substantial evidence that the criteria for approval are satisfied, and that the public's health, safety and general welfare will be adequately protected. Except as otherwise provided in Title 35A, section 3454, the commission shall permit the applicant and other parties to provide evidence on the economic benefits of the proposal as well as the impact of the proposal on energy resources.

Sec. D-5. 12 MRSA §685-B, sub-§4-B,  as enacted by PL 2007, c. 661, Pt. C, §4, is amended to read:

4-B. Special provisions; wind energy development or project.   In the case of a wind energy development, as defined in Title 35-A, section 3451, subsection 11, with a generating capacity greater than 100 kilowatts, or a community-based offshore wind energy project, the developer must demonstrate, in addition to requirements under subsection 4, that the proposed generating facilities, as defined in Title 35-A, section 3451, subsection 5:
A. Will meet the requirements of the Board of Environmental Protection's noise control rules adopted pursuant to Title 38, chapter 3, subchapter 1, article 6;
B. Will be designed and sited to avoid undue adverse shadow flicker effects;
C. Will be constructed with setbacks adequate to protect public safety, as provided in Title 35-A, section 3455. In making findings pursuant to this paragraph, the commission shall consider the recommendation of a professional, licensed civil engineer as well as any applicable setback recommended by a manufacturer of the generating facilities; and
D. Will provide significant tangible benefits, as defined in Title 35-A, section 3451, subsection 10, within the State, as provided in Title 35-A, section 3454, if the development is an expedited wind energy development, as defined in Title 35-A, section 3451, subsection 4.

Sec. D-6. Maine Land Use Regulation Commission to adopt rule. No later than December 1, 2010, the Maine Land Use Regulation Commission shall adopt a rule amending its land use districts and standards to provide that offshore wind power projects, as defined in the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 38, section 480-B, subsection 6A, and community-based offshore wind energy projects, as defined in Title 12, section 682, subsection 19, are uses requiring a permit, but not a special exception, in all subdistricts. Prior to the commission's adoption of a rule in accordance with this section, an offshore wind power project or a community-based offshore wind energy project is considered a use requiring a permit, but not a special exception, in all subdistricts.

Rules adopted by the Maine Land Use Regulation Commission pursuant to this section are routine technical rules as defined in Title 5, chapter 375, subchapter 2-A.

Office of the Revisor of Statutes
State House, Room 108
Augusta, ME 04333