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Planning: special use for transfer station But questions compatibility with Comp Plan

The Planning Board voted to send two recommendations to the Town Council Monday in regard to a zoning change at the transfer station. In its first vote the board recommended a special use permit process for any development in the proposed zone, which could include a wind turbine. In its second vote, the board crafted a recommendation that pointed out concerns about the proposed zone's compatibility with the town's Comprehensive Plan.

The Planning Board voted to send two recommendations to the Town Council Monday in regard to a zoning change at the transfer station.

In its first vote the board recommended a special use permit process for any development in the proposed zone, which could include a wind turbine. In its second vote, the board crafted a recommendation that pointed out concerns about the proposed zone's compatibility with the town's Comprehensive Plan.

The council, which continued its October 5 hearing on the creation of a Public Utility zone at the transfer station until November 18, asked the board to consider both the special use permit route and the Comprehensive Plan.

A special use permit process would allow for Development Plan Review for any development in the zone instead of allowing it by right.

Planning Board member Rob Gilpin said Monday that the board was crafting a recommendation for how best to create a public utility zone - it was not voting to place a wind turbine at the site. He called the recommended... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

The Planning Board voted to send two recommendations to the Town Council Monday in regard to a zoning change at the transfer station.

In its first vote the board recommended a special use permit process for any development in the proposed zone, which could include a wind turbine. In its second vote, the board crafted a recommendation that pointed out concerns about the proposed zone's compatibility with the town's Comprehensive Plan.

The council, which continued its October 5 hearing on the creation of a Public Utility zone at the transfer station until November 18, asked the board to consider both the special use permit route and the Comprehensive Plan.

A special use permit process would allow for Development Plan Review for any development in the zone instead of allowing it by right.

Planning Board member Rob Gilpin said Monday that the board was crafting a recommendation for how best to create a public utility zone - it was not voting to place a wind turbine at the site. He called the recommended modifications "stricter" and possibly requiring more standards than the current zoning.

Attorney Tom Plunkett, representing a group of West Beach Road residents opposed to the zoning change, said the proposed zone, which would include the transfer station, had no standards. He described the residents of the neighborhood as fearful of any Wind Energy Conversion Sytems going in.

Town attorney Don Packer noted that other town utilities had not originally been on properly zoned land. The school, he said, was rezoned to a special school zone, and the Medical Center is in the process of creating a medical zone.

The motion to recommend the special use permit route, made by board Chair Margie Comings and seconded by Gilpin, passed. But then there was a second discussion and vote on whether or not the recommended zoning change met criteria of the town's Comprehensive Plan.

Attorney Plunkett had previously argued that the zone would not comply with the Comprehensive Plan. Comings agreed that it did not, and made a motion to send the Town Council a recommendation saying so. But there was no second for her motion, and it died.

Disagreeing with Comings, Gilpin said determining whether or not the zone met the Comprehensive Plan was a subjective process.

"It dances around things," he said.

Gilpin argued that the zone would be in compliance with the Comprehensive Plan because the plan calls for pursuing alternative energy.

Board member Kevin Hoyt attempted to resolve the board's impasse.

"I don't want to see our first steps toward alternative energy fail," he said, and he proposed a compromise motion.

The first part of the motion was a statement of consistency with regard to the Comprehensive Plan's statement on alternative energy. The rest of the motion pointed to inconsistencies: the environmental impact the zone change could have had not been addressed nor any possible negative effect on the surrounding area. The motion also pointed out that an island energy plan has not been completed and accepted by the community, the visual impact of a wind turbine had not been fully evaluated nor the impact on the Block Island Power Company. The Town Council should address these inconsistencies before any change is passed, Hoyt said.

Gilpin seconded the motion and it passed with all but Comings in support. However, the meeting was continued until Friday, November 13, at 11 a.m. to confirm the wording of the recommendation before sending it to the Town Council.


Source: http://blockislandtimes.com...

NOV 14 2009
http://www.windaction.org/posts/23124-planning-special-use-for-transfer-station-but-questions-compatibility-with-comp-plan
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