CRANSTON – The City Council on Monday night decided not to pursue legal action against the Town of Johnston over a wind farm near the state Central Landfill.
“There are very, very limited options [for the City] at this point,” said John M. Verdecchia, a Cranston assistant solicitor. “The residents would be better off on their own…. I wish I could say something a little more encouraging for the council and residents.”
The seven turbines – built by Green Development, a North Kingstown company – are in an industrial area off of Plainfield and Shun pikes and visible from the Alpine Estates neighborhood of Cranston.
Residents say they received no notice of the wind farm’s construction, and say there are health, noise and quality-of-life issues at stake. Verdecchia said the project followed the law, and that antiquated zoning laws were the issue.
“It appears the proper procedures were followed,” he said. “The zoning laws did not keep up with technology.”
State law requires only that property owners within 200 feet of such a project be notified, and Alpine Estates is 1.4 miles away.
Following statements from constituents that Johnston has not provided requested minutes from relevant Zoning Board and Planning Board meetings, Council President Michael J. Farina suggested residents take legal action on their own.
“I recommend you immediately sue the Town of Johnston for violating open meeting laws,” he said, “if you have not received minutes from meetings two years ago.”
Johnston Mayor Joseph Polisena said the town followed Access to Public Records Act procedures and gave the residents the information they requested.
The initial APRA request was filed by Renee Patrone, an Alpine Estates resident, on Jan. 14. After the town requested an extension, Johnston Town Clerk Vincent P. Baccari Jr., sent a letter informing Patrone that the minutes from six relevant meetings in 2017 were available to pick up on Feb. 20.
“All the meetings were open to the public,” Polisena said. “For them to say that they didn’t get the information, that’s false.
“I think they’re so frustrated and angry they’re just making things up as they go along.”