CHARLESTOWN – The town is in negotiations with local developer Lawrence LeBlanc about the possible purchase of the 81-acre site of the proposed Whalerock wind turbines, Town Council President Thomas Gentz acknowledged Monday.
“We approached them about two weeks ago,” said Gentz, who would not comment further on the negotiations.
A call Monday afternoon to the office of Nicholas Gorham, lawyer for Whalerock Renewable Energy LLC, which is proposing to build and operate the two 271-foot turbines, had not been returned as of press time this morning.
The possible sale surfaced over the weekend when the agenda for Monday night’s council meeting, published online on the town’s ClerkBase site, included this item under new business: “Discussion and potential action regarding the method of funding and the authorization of the Town Clerk and Board of Canvassers to hold a special referendum for the potential land acquisition of AP 17 Lot 186 for an amount not to exceed $2.7 million.”
The lot identification refers to the property on the north side of Route 1, between King’s Factory Road and East Quail Run.
At the beginning of Monday’s meeting, preceded by discussion in executive session, Gentz told the audience that negotiations were continuing, and that the item would be continued to the agenda for the council’s August meeting.
LeBlanc is seeking a special use permit from the town Zoning Board of Review that would allow Whalerock to build the turbines. Three meetings have been held so far, during which Gorham has presented witnesses supporting the proposal. At the latest meeting on June 26, Town Solicitor Peter Ruggiero and John Mancini, a special counsel representing the town and neighbors opposed to the plan, were scheduled to begin presenting testimony against the proposal. That session was postponed because Robert Craven, the zoning board’s counsel and also a state representative, was unavailable because of General Assembly budget deliberations.
The zoning board is scheduled to continue the hearing on July 17 at Charlestown Elementary School at 6:30 p.m.
In a related decision, the council also delayed action on the reappointment of four zoning board members whose terms expire July 31: William F. Meyer, a full board member, for five years; and alternate board members Scott Northup, David Provancha and Amanda J. Magee, each for one year. Gentz said the appointments would be taken up again after the Whalerock hearing is concluded.
Ruggiero said the four board members could continue to serve after July 31 while their reappointments are pending.
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