NEWARK – The town’s select board and planning commission are requesting Vermont Public Service Board hold a hearing on Eolian Renewable Energy’s request to site one of four proposed meteorological towers here, with the other three in nearby Brighton and Ferdinand. So far, a hearing has not been scheduled, said the PSB’s clerk Thursday.
In separate letters to the PSB, which is considering the application for a Certificate of Public Good from the Portsmouth, N.H., developer, the Newark boards seek a hearing to give residents a platform before the deciding body.
According to Susan Hudson, clerk of the Public Service Board, the next event in the proceeding is June 4 when Eolian will file responses to the public comments that were received by the Public Service Board. “The Board will review the June 4th filing, and a determination as to the next steps will be made after that,” said Hudson.
Jack Kenworthy, CEO of Eolian, is partnering with turbine manufacturer Nordex USA, Inc., for the wind project as Seneca Mountain Wind (SMW), LLC. Kenworthy said this week that the company is not seeking any special treatment in the process in asking to comment on the public record regarding the application for the MET towers. “We will be filing responses to public comments, as is customary, by June 4th, at which point they will become part of the public record,” he said.
Burlington attorney Andrew N. Raubvogel, on May 21, sent the Public Service Board a letter regarding the formal public comment period on Seneca Moutnain Wind’s MET towers application ending on May 18, seeking to reply. He said in the letter that the company had requested and had received all comments received by the board as of that date, and they also had sought and received all letters connected with their application that were submitted to the PSB by both the Department of Public Service and the Agency of Natural Resources.
“SMW wishes to file a reply with the Board responding to the public and state agency comments prior to the Board rendering any decision in this matter with respect to requests for intervention, request for hearings, requests to deny the application, and/or requests for specific conditions to be attached to any approval of this application,” stated attorney Raubvogel.
The select board was the first of the two boards to seek to intervene in the PSB consideration of the MET towers.
In a letter dated May 9, and stamped for receipt by the PSB on May 16, the select board, in a letter signed by Michael Channon, Mark Ellingwood and Laura Rodger, offered their response to the application for a Certificate of Public Good for the temporary meteorological stations.
The towers would collect wind data, the letter notes, “in support of a possible industrial wind project, part of which is slated for the Town of Newark,” the select board stated. “In response to the pre-application notice the Newark Planning Commission quickly took exception to numerous aspects of the filing – one of which centered on the March 6th filing date which happened to be the day of all Vermont Town meetings. Also, they felt Mr. Kenworthy’s interpretation of Newark’s Town Plan and his statement ‘The proposed project is consistent with the plans, goals and objectives,’ is actually inconsistent with Newark’s recently revised Town Plan.”
The select board continued in its letter, stating, “The Newark Selectboard stands in support of our Planning Commission, however, to the extent the Commission’s views may not be supported by all our citizens, we respect the right to be heard on this issue as well. We would like to request Permissive Intervention at this time, while not taking a stand for or against,” the board continued. “The Board would like to suggest that prior to issuing a CPG for these towers, the Public Service Board hold a public hearing in Newark where every citizen can have input in the process. Also it would be helpful if a site visit could be arranged for interested persons earlier in the day of the Public Hearing.”
In a letter dated May 25, the Planning Commission, too, sought intervenor status in the case, in response to the company’s intent to submit “additional materials to the PSB by June 4th.”
The Planning Commission’s letter states, “If the PSB decides to receive additional materials from SMW, the Newark Planning Commission requests an additional 30-day period to review the new SMW material and prepare additional comments on the new material as well as the original application…(attorney) Raubvogel’s letter raises concerns that the SMW application is still incomplete and confirms our contention that a public hearing should be held so that all parties have equal opportunity to participate in the PSB process.”