KINGSTON – By agreeing to pay back taxes, Kingston Wind Independence has warded off possible revocation of site plan approval for its Independence wind turbine.
The Planning Board hearing scheduled for Monday night has been continued to October after turbine owner KWI agreed to pay approximately $200,000 in back taxes to the town.
Town Administrator Tom Calter said Tuesday that he and Town Counsel Jay Talerman met Monday with representatives from KWI and reached an agreement in good faith. KWI would pay the back taxes, and in turn the public hearing on revocation would be continued for 30 days.
“That meeting was intended to suspend their right to operate, and so they came to the table, they agreed to pay the $200,000 this week, and we will meet again on Aug. 6 to continue the negotiation on the two and a half years of back rent and a restructured deal,” he said.
He said the restructured deal would allow for the abatements in their operating leases from the original license. Lease payments and rent continue to be in dispute.
Calter said KWI was harmed financially by the changes the town made to the requirements for operation of the turbine, and if willing to pay the back taxes and rent, the deal may be restructured.
At Monday night’s Planning Board meeting, the public hearing to discuss revoking site plan approval was continued to 7:10 p.m. Monday, Oct. 22, after Vice Chairman Bob Gosselin announced the reason behind the request from town officials for the continuance.
Non-payment of taxes and rent by KWI are cited as reasons for possible revocation in the hearing notice. The town’s general bylaws and state law allow revocation or suspension of most local licenses and permits for failure to pay municipal taxes or charges.
In December 2015, KWI filed a lawsuit against the town’s Board of Health claiming that an abatement order approved in October 2015 further restricted operation of the turbine, causing significant financial hardship to its business.
In February 2016, the town answered with a counterclaim that KWI is in breach of contract and not in full compliance with either the Board of Health’s original abatement order or its second abatement order for shutdown of the turbine under certain conditions.
The Planning Board approved the Independence turbine on the town’s capped landfill in June 2010, and construction began in September 2011. The turbine began operating in May 2012. The turbine has been shut down for about eight weeks.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding