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Wind turbine lifts into North Kingstown skyline

NORTH KINGSTOWN – The 413-foot turbine that dominated the local headlines after it was approved for construction in 2010 will now dominate the skyline in the north end of town.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the majority of the turbine had been erected in the North Kingstown Green cluster development with the exception of the turbine’s blades.

Several vehicles were seen entering and leaving the development with motorists driving by slowly and looking up at the turbine’s white base and the large red crane used to lift the parts of the turbine into place.

After a tumultuous two years of heated public opposition to the project, construction began last week of Wind Energy Development LLC’s China-made Goldwind Global GW87 in the development.

Gary Tedeschi, the town’s building inspector, said last week that building permits had already been approved and the contractor did not need any more permission from the town to complete the project.

“As far as a definite schedule I haven’t heard,” he said. “I’m still waiting to hear back from some of the engineers on the project.”

The company had initially planned to build a 427-foot Vestas V100 turbine adjacent to Wind Energy Development founder and owner Mark DePasquale’s house in North Kingstown Green before switching to the Goldwind turbine.

His company had also proposed to erect the same size and type of turbine on the Stamp Farm property off South County Trail before changing it to the Goldwind turbine model.

Last year the Planning Commission ruled that the Stamp Farm application would have to be considered as a new application after the change. Because it was considered a new application, the Stamp Farm turbine fell under the town’s moratorium on turbines.

Hundreds of residents attended more than a dozen meetings last year on both the North Kingstown Green and Stamp Farm turbine proposals, the majority voicing their staunch opposition for both. Among their fears, opponents said that the turbine could fall on a home and kill or injure someone, that their property values would be diminished and the flicker of light off the blades and sound could affect their quality of life and their health.

Some residents in the North Kingstown Green development had sought to stop the constriction of the turbine, which was approved by the town, but stopped after DePasqaule sued them for $25 million. The suit was settled out of court and the terms of that settlement were never disclosed.

DePasquale could not be reached for comment on the erection of the turbine.

Staff photographer Michael Derr contributed to this story.