Developer Gerald Felise offered at the most recent Tiverton Town Council meeting to buy the town’s industrial park and combine the land in a multi-million dollar energy generation project. He’s offering to build the town’s new library and municipal offices on the acreage near Route 24, and the proposal is back on tonight’s agenda.
Patch obtained the executive session transcript from that meeting’s 45-minute start, during which Felise, president of Natural Energy Generation, located at 896 Fish Road, outlined his whole offer. He reportedly came to the council three years ago with the same identical project, but investors walked after time passed.
Handing councilors two pamphlets and a village plan during the recent meeting, Felise told the council that investors are lined up now and the “timing is right,” despite the slow market for the site.
The council voted 5-2 in open session to send an initial letter of understanding to the Rhode Island Energy Facility Siting Board about a proposed $150 million energy development project with a master plan to merge the town’s 177-acre industrial park with 650 acres of privately-owned land by Felise. It is for a natural gas plant, a zero emission energy storage plant, as well as a geothermal, wind and solar energy development.
During executive session, Felise apparently offered $3 million in cash for the industrial park. His plans have a provision to develop a town square, the town’s new library and municipal offices on parcels of a 70-acre site at $1 for each parcel. He also offered to pay for the town’s bond to build the new library on Bulgarmarsh Road.
Council President Jay Lambert questioned if Felise spoke with Lee Hoyer and the Library Board of Trustees about the project. Felise said he last spoke to them during his proposal three years ago, to which they replied the new library belongs near Route 24 and the Fish Road exit.
Lambert asked if for any reason the town or library did not want to use the parcel and stay where they are, would there be different compensation for the 70-acre parcel. Felise said that “real numbers” are on the table and that he knows the energy project and the significance of it and would be delighted for the town to have a presence in the overall objective.
Town subdivides industrial park parcels, studies wind energy
Last summer, Town Planner Chris Spencer said the town has looked at subdividing the industrial park so the town can analyze all its potential mixed zoning uses. In addition, Tiverton spent the last year studying the potential for a wind energy operation with the East Bay Energy Consortium (EBEC) that could distribute energy to nine municipalities. During the Feb. 13 meeting after Felise’s presentation in open session, the developers with EBEC and another local developer Alex Shapiro voiced concern over the control of the properties involved with industrial park, especially concerning Felise’s offer.
In the Feb. 13 executive session, Felise claimed that the money from the “energy facet” of his development, unlike other developers, would stay in town.
Felise wants to ‘capitalize’ on location
It has not been confirmed whether Felise’s proposal would conform to Tiverton’s zoning and comprehensive plan.
Councilor Cecil Leonard, after looking at the pamphlets and village plan, asked if a hotel could go there, since the town could really use one. Felise said there is a designed facility east of Route 24 to Stafford and Eagleville roads that could host an upscale business. He said the master plan would reveal and expose some exits right off the property. Felise boasted about Tiverton’s location and demographic to “capitalize” on a facility like his on the Aquidneck Island and Fall River build out.
At the close of the executive session, Councilor Brett Pelletier asked the only question about any details regarding the proposed energy generation. Felise said they are putting in a “major energy facility and infrastructure” that produces 100 percent renewable energy with an excess of 40 megawatts and utility size. He added he’s working with high-tech engineers for a wastewater system and a sewer facility for one-tenth the cost to tie into Fall River, at a quarter of the operating cost. He said at that point, they would have all infrastructure “all stubbed out” and “ready to go” and would not move forward without that in place and fixed energy costs to attract business and residential.
Felise entered the meeting with Paul Giroux, a developer, who said he started doing work on the industrial park in 1995 for the Town Council and has spent the last three years studying the land in question. He claimed they can do a more effective job developing the park and can handle the physical problems better than anyone else he knows. Attorney Brian Mereness and Christopher Rein, senior vice president of ESS Group, an environmental consulting firm, also sat in the meeting.
More information about the phases of Felise’s proposal are available at the website for Natural Energy Generation.
To watch full-length Tiverton Town Council and School Committee meetings, go to http://www.tivertonvideos.blogspot.com.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding