The developer of a 427-foot wind turbine is suing seven neighbors to the tune of $25 million in Washington County Superior Court for breach of contract.
Mark DePasquale, CEO of Wind Energy Development LLC, filed a lawsuit Apr. 28 against the homeowners who have not recorded their deeds to reflect a land swap with him as agreed. The quit-claim deeds are needed to continue construction on a 427-foot turbine located in DePasquale’s backyard within the North Kingstown Green subdivision.
The lawsuit (Wind Energy Development LLC v Nicole Newcombe et al) follows the Apr. 8 revocation of the North Kingstown Green building permit by the Town of North Kingstown, halting construction on the wind turbine slated for completion later this year.
In May 2010, it was determined that a land swap was necessary to address the turbine’s blades – measuring about 160 feet in length – crossing into an area of open space outside of DePasquale’s property lines. In a reconfiguration agreement executed by all residents of North Kingstown Green in May 2010, the portion of open land was swapped for land owned by DePasquale at his property in accordance with the town’s zoning and planning ordinances.
DePasquale needs 30 deeds altogether. During a North Kingstown Building Board of Appeals meeting May 4, he said he owns 16, and has acquired all but one of the remaining 14 deeds necessary to have the building permit reinstated.
According to court documents, without DePasquale’s requested preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order against the defendants, the plaintiffs are at risk of “immediate irreparable harm” including “loss of rights in the plaintiffs’ recently revoked building permit,” “increased construction costs,” “loss of future incoming and profits, injury to the plaintiff’s reputation” and loss of previously expended costs. Court documents indicate that “approximately five percent of the total construction of the wind turbine” has been completed with about $350,000 thus invested in the project.
The suit names Nicole and Scott Newcombe of 52 Thornton Way, Sean Coen and Colleen Clare of 32 Thornton Way, Todd and Kimberly Teixeira of 28 Thornton Way and Subhransu Mohanty of 29 Thornton Way as defendants. The seven NK Green residents have been outspoken in their opposition to the turbine, speaking out at North Kingstown Town Council meetings and through letters to the editor.
The defendants are prohibited from “conveying, transferring, selling, assigning, mortgaging or otherwise encumbering respective interests in the reconfiguration property” to anyone besides the plaintiffs throughout this suit in order to keep the status quo.
The 427-foot turbine was approved back in October by the North Kingstown Planning Commission, becoming North Kingstown’s first approved turbine. Though its approval went largely unopposed at first, more residents and locals came out in opposition during the following months.
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