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Town Council approves 6-month moratorium on wind turbines

In a 5-0 vote Monday night, the Town Council approved a six-month moratorium on all wind turbines while a more-permanent ordinance is drafted, recommended by the town’s Planning Board

No one has proposed building a sizeable wind turbine in East Greenwich. The moritorium is meant to protect the town while an ordinance is written and to perhaps discourage any requests. To add to the urgency, Town Planner Lisa Bourbonnais said, a bill introduced in the General Assembly this session would limit a municipality’s ability to regulate wind turbines.

“The town doesn’t have a wind ordinance that actually permits these things in certain locations and sets standards for how tall they can be or what their fall zones are or how far away from a densely-settled area they should be,” Bourbonnais said during an interview in May.

“We thought we would impose a moratorium while we study other ordinances and templates and models and what’s happened in other places and draft something coherent,” she said. 

She cited the large wind turbine in North Kingstown on privately owned land on Route 102 that prompted that town to enact an ordinance regulating wind turbines.

The moratorium passed by the East Greenwich Town Council spoke of the town’s desire to address “regulating the establishment, placement and construction of windmills/wind turbines/wind energy conversion systems on a comprehensive, Town-wide basis, rather than on an ad hoc basis….”

Among items for review while developing an ordinance will be possible impacts on the environment and sensitive habitats, aesthetics; health effects of noise, vibration and shadow flicker; signal interference; and effects on neighborhood property values.