Where Voters Went on Wind, Pot and Schools | Off Message

Where Voters Went on Wind, Pot and Schools


An anti-wind sign - TERRI HALLENBECK
  • Terri Hallenbeck
  • An anti-wind sign
While Americans were electing a new president and Vermonters a new governor, votes on a variety of issues in the Green Mountain State and beyond were also decided Tuesday.

Wind Project Defeated

Voters in Grafton and Windham soundly defeated a proposed 24-turbine wind project Tuesday, and the project developer says it will abide by the vote.

In Grafton, the tally was 235-158. In Windham, voters turned the project down by a margin of 181-101.

The Stiles Brook Wind Project would have been the largest wind project in Vermont, with 16 turbines planned for Windham and eight in Grafton. The developer, Iberdrola, offered financial incentives to the southern Vermont towns and their full-time residents, but voters were anxious about the environmental and aesthetic impacts.

Iberdrola spokesman Paul Copleman said in a written statement that the company was disappointed, but promised to abide by results. "We plan to cease development of the Stiles Brook Wind Project, unless the communities reconsider their decision," he wrote.

Governor-elect Phil Scott favors a statewide wind-project moratorium, so it will be an interesting development to watch as he takes office.

School Consolidation Partially Passes

Voters in Grand Isle, North Hero and Isle La Motte agreed to a school consolidation plan that will create the Champlain Islands Unified Union School District starting July 1, 2019.

South Hero residents voted 737-380 against joining the district, while Alburgh residents declined to participate in the vote.

The consolidation plan came in response to Act 46, a state law passed last year intended to reduce school administrative costs.

Three States Legalize Marijuana

Voters in four states went where Vermont lawmakers declined to go this year — they legalized marijuana.

Most notably, Massachusetts voted for legalization, the first state in New England to do so. In Maine, the "yes" votes have a slim lead as results continue to be counted. California and Nevada also voted for legalization.

Vermont legislative leaders have said they would reconsider legalization next year if neighboring Massachusetts approved the measure. However, governor-elect Scott has said he'd prefer to wait and see how legalization goes in other states.