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N. Kingstown extends moratorium on turbine applications

NORTH KINGSTOWN – The Town Council Monday night extended its moratorium on new wind-turbine applications for another 90 days while it considers a new ordinance governing wind energy. The original moratorium, passed on Jan. 10, was due to expire July 10.

During a work session before its regular Monday meeting, the council discussed proposals for a new ordinance prepared by the Planning Department. The new ordinance did not contemplate any turbine in North Kingstown taller than 160 feet. That’s considerably smaller than two controversial turbines proposed by Wind Energy Development LLC, each at 389 feet.

“Right now, I think the reluctant consensus of the council is to stay under 160 feet,” said Council President Elizabeth Dolan. “We’d like to get something moving. There’s not the comfort level right now to go for anything higher.”

Progress on the two proposed Wind Energy Development turbines, one at Stamp Farm off Route 2 and the other at North Kingstown Green housing development off Ten Rod Road, has been halted, at least for the time being. Wind Energy Development changed the type of turbines, from 427-foot, 1.8-megawatt turbines made by Danish company Vestas to 389-foot, 1.5-megawatt turbines from Chinese manufacturer Goldwind.

The Stamp Farm turbine application was before the Planning Commission. The board ruled that altering the turbine manufacturer meant there were enough technical changes to constitute a new application, which would fall under the moratorium imposed by the Town Council.

The North Kingstown Green turbine has already been approved by the town. But the town sent a letter to Wind Energy Development’s Mark DePasquale revoking the turbine’s building permit, requesting technical information about the new turbine, a revised site plan and data on decibel levels.

On Monday, Wind Energy Development spokesman David Darlington said the company would appeal the ruling to the town’s building code board of appeals.

Speaking to the council, Jeff Zucchi, a representative of a citizens group called No Residential Wind NK, urged council members to adopt stringent restrictions on wind turbines.