November 26, 2012

Mary O’Donnell turbine shutdown on horizon?

By Kathryn Gallerani | Wicked Local Kingston | Posted Nov 23, 2012 |

KINGSTON – Developer Mary O’Donnell may face financial ramifications for failing to meet requirements for buffer restoration on her turbine property.

The Planning Board voted 3-1 Monday night to refer the case to Zoning Enforcement Officer Paul Armstrong for potential sanctions, including fines and shutdown of her turbines.

Planning Board member Ron Gleason did not support referring her to Armstrong, but Acting Chairman Michael Ruprecht said it’s a necessary action to take.

“I think this will put a fire under your behind,” he said.

Gleason said he would prefer to work with O’Donnell because she has made some of the changes the board wants to see on her plans for the property. He said shutting down the turbines would have financial ramifications because of the renewable energy agreement between the town and O’Donnell.

Ruprecht said he does not want the board to have to rescind subdivision approval and doesn’t know that stopping the turbines would financially be in the town’s best interests. However, he said he believes that fines for non-compliance with the conditions set by the board would be a viable option.

O’Donnell insists she keeps trying to do what is requested of her by the board, but the requirements keep changing.

“It serves me no purpose to be at odds with you,” she said. “I keep trying to do what you want.”

Planning Board member David Gavigan asked Town Planner Tom Bott directly: Are the plans O’Donnell just submitted to the board adequate? Bott said the board’s consulting landscape architect says no.

One of the issues the board has with the buffer restoration plan is the scale so they can better judge the adequacy of the buffer. The plan shows the entire 100-plus acre property, while the board just wants the plan to show the impacted area where trees were cut. Board members want to see the location of the fence O’Donnell agreed to put on her property as a condition of site plan approval.

O’Donnell said she cut the trees to clear space for a solar array on her property. Planning Board member Bob Gosselin said O’Donnell just keeps jumping the gun with her plans for the property.

“You do what you want to do, and then you put it on a plan and submit it to us,” he said. “That’s not the way you do it.”

Ruprecht said he’s exasperated the board hasn’t been able to move on with approval of her landscape plans with O’Donnell, a regular at board meeting since at least May. She had a May deadline to start work on the plants, berms and fence.

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