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North Kingstown Planning Commission halts Stamp Farm wind turbine plan

NORTH KINGSTOWN – The town Planning Commission has halted a controversial proposal to build a large wind turbine on Stamp Farm, off Route 2, at least for the time being.

At a meeting Tuesday night at the Wickford Middle School, the commission voted 5 to 1 that Wind Energy Development LLC’s decision to replace a 427-foot, 1.8-megawatt turbine made by Danish company Vestas with a 389-foot, 1.5-megawatt turbine made by Chinese manufacturer Goldwind represented a significant change in Wind Energy’s application to the town.

In essence, that meant the Stamp Farm turbine proposal must be considered as a new application, and new applications for large wind-energy systems now fall under a six-month moratorium imposed by the Town Council on Jan. 10.

At the time, council members said they planned to draft a new wind-energy ordinance.

Council President Elizabeth Dolan said the council will probably extend its moratorium, due to expire July 10, for another month or two to give the council adequate time to consider a new ordinance.

She said the council has tentatively scheduled a July 18 meeting to discuss wind energy, and hopes to have a draft ordinance written by then.

Once a new ordinance is passed, she said, Wind Energy Development could reapply for permission to install a turbine.

David Darlington, spokesman for Wind Energy Development, founded by Mark DePasquale, said the company is awaiting a June 21 written decision by the Planning Commission before determining its next move.

“We’ll have it evaluated by our engineers and attorneys, and then we’ll look at what our next step will be,” Darlington said.

The Stamp Farm turbine proposal created an outpouring of public opposition in North Kingstown. Jeff Zucchi, who represents a group called No Residential Wind NK, said he’s elated by the Planning Commission’s decision. “It’s the best outcome we could expect,” he said.

Zucchi said he believes citizen opposition to the proposed Stamp Farm turbine had an impact on decisions of the Planning Commission and the Town Council. He said he wants members of his organization to have a say in any new wind ordinance.

Wind Energy Development has another turbine under development at the North Kingstown Green housing development off Ten Rod Road. That turbine has already been approved by the town.

In April, North Kingstown revoked the building permit for that turbine because Wind Energy has not completed the necessary land transfers.

Darlington said the company has filed the necessary paperwork with the town, and is awaiting word that the project can resume.