The Town of North Kingstown has once again revoked the building permit for North Kingstown Green, the would-be site of North Kingstown’s first wind turbine.
According to Town Planning Director Jon Reiner, the permit was pulled for the second time since April after town consultants Applied Science Associates found the Vestas V100 set to be installed at the site would not meet the required noise level (50 decibels) at the property line. In fact, according to ASA, the noise was carrying over into open space and “potentially” into other lots.
However, if Mark DePasquale (owner of developer Wind Energy Development LLC and property owner of the turbine’s slated site) changes the type of turbine he installs, this poses yet another problem. Following the North Kingstown Planning Commission’s vote last week, these changes would constitute a new application, thus falling under the town’s current moratorium on wind turbines and subject to an upcoming wind energy ordinance. Last week, the Planning Commission deemed changing the Stamp Farm turbine from a Vestas to Chinese-made Goldwind constituted a “significant change” and thus would be considered a new application.
“It appears he’s stuck right now,” said Reiner. “This can’t move forward and he can’t install the Vestas V100 on that property.”
According to WED spokesperson David Darlington, they are unsure of where the road will take them following this development. Following the resolution of the land swap that spurred the first revocation, the town stated the permit would be reinstated.
“Instead of getting the building permit reinstated, we get a further suspension of the permit on different grounds,” said Darlington, adding, “We’re first going to analyze what the town is doing and make sure Mark’s [DePasquale] rights are given due process as they seem to be getting trampled willy nilly here.”
Darlington also adds that the developer’s legal team will be looking into the matter to determine a “proper course” of action.
On the other side of the battle for wind energy in North Kingstown, the group of residents who have opposed the NK Green and Stamp Farm turbines look at the Planning Commission’s vote and the most recent permit revocation as victories.
“Obviously everyone involved from the residents’ side is ecstatic that the town appears to have found their senses in this whole thing and come to the right conclusion,” said Jeff Zucchi, who heads up No Residential Wind NK. “We are not getting ahead of ourselves or planning any victory laps.”
Looking ahead, the North Kingstown Town Council will get its first look at a draft of a new wind energy ordinance – an ordinance that, if passed, would be the third the town has had on the books less than a year. According to Reiner, the planning department will seek the guidance of the Town Council at its June 27 meeting regarding setbacks, height limits, noise levels and other issues. Though the town’s current ordinance does not cap the height of a turbine, Reiner suggests that the new draft would have a “much lower” height restriction.
Reiner believes that the council may extend the six-month moratorium on turbines, which is set to expire on July 10, to allow for public hearings and time for modifications.
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