323-3462

tchmaine@gmail.com

The Planning Board welcomed new member Clara Alavarez at our July 12 meeting. Clara is a longtime Freedom resident who now brings the board to its full seven-member capacity.

At our Tuesday meeting we considered possible action on a solar farm ordinance. We frequently see how neighboring towns have instituted solar farm ordinances. While no farms have proposed a Freedom location, we thought proactively addressing the issue might be a good idea.

I am a huge proponent of solar power — when Catherine and I moved back to Freedom in March 2021 I insisted we get solar panels on our house. I think it is one of the most practical renewable resources. But I have to admit that I find solar “farms” — banks and banks of solar panels — to be far uglier than even wind turbine farms. There are two solar farms on Route 3 heading to Augusta, and one on the road on Unity’s Albion Road. I think all three look awful, unsightly, and take up a lot of space.

Many worry about solar farms’ impact on agricultural land. Freedom is home to many farms and farmers might understandably be concerned that decent agricultural land will be “used up” by solar farms. Besides taking up scenic space, the panels might preclude livestock from grazing. On the other hand, turning into solar farms agricultural land that is all but ruined by PFAS chemicals might be life-savers for farmers. These are vital policy considerations when concerning a solar farm ordinance. If you have any thoughts on a potential solar farm ordinance, please share your thoughts with the Planning Board.

Chicken barbecue

The Dirigo Grange will hold a takeout-only chicken barbecue on Sunday, July 24, starting at noon. Meals are $12 each. Proceeds benefit the Grange.

Broadband

The Southwestern Waldo County Broadband Coalition is working hard to get an Interlocal Agreement passed by all five towns of Freedom, Palermo, Montville, Liberty and Searsmont to start a new nonprofit corporation called the Waldo Broadband Corp. This new business will engage an internet service provider (ISP) to run fiberoptic lines to every home and business in all five towns. Your vote to pass this will be a step forward in getting our towns internet speeds of 100 mpg. An informational meeting for the town of Freedom will be held Thursday, July 21, at 6 p.m. in the Election Hall, and the special town meeting will be on Thursday, July 28, in the Election Hall at 6 p.m.