During public comment, O’Neill also asked if the town should be more proactive about setting guidelines for wind turbines.
“I am looking at North Kingstown’s move to prohibit wind turbines, and I would like us to be prepared,” O’Neill said. “What is in our arsenal to prohibit a 400-foot turbine?”
Planning Director L. Vincent Murray said turbines need a special use permit because of their height.
“We have had a half a dozen residential turbines, but no activity of late,” Murray said. “There has been no interest in commercial grade turbines.”
The town Conservation Commission and Planning Board had been working on a draft ordinance and the state planning program was developing statewide standards, too, Murray said.
Beyond the size of commercial turbines, infrastructure issues must be addressed, Alfred said.
“We’ve already had contact with the company building five turbines off Block Island,” Alfred said. “The landing areas are tied into the National Grid feeder system. The zoning code allows substations in every zone, but we need to look at where it is best to put them.”
During the town manager’s report, Alfred said DEM had issued the necessary permits for Dugway Road Bridge and the steel installation would begin in the next three weeks.
He also reported that the town has submitted a federal stimulus grant application to install solar panels on portions of the Town Hall annex roof. If installed, the solar panels would save approximately $7,000 a year in energy costs.
Without the grant, the town would not move forward on the project because the $326,000 cost would take more than 25 years to recoup, Alfred said.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding