Articles filed under Zoning/Planning from Rhode Island
Neighborhood opponents of a proposed zone change at the transfer station, which could facilitate a municipally owned wind turbine, came out in force against the proposal Wednesday evening. The emotionally charged meeting ended without a decision, as a shaken and battered Town Council rescheduled the matter for its next meeting on December 7. ...Marguerite Donnelly attempted to mediate during the lengthy hearing. Donnelly said at first she was elated by the idea of a turbine at the transfer station, but the concerns of the neighbors were hard to dismiss because "it's so personal for so many.
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.
Is it right for the Town Council of New Shoreham to change the terms of a gift of land to the town, 31 years after the gift was made? This is the thrust of the public hearing on October 5, in reference to the windmill project proposed for the Transfer Station site. ...Numerous groups have bonded together to preserve more that 40 percent of this island. For those of you who enjoy these preserved areas, please realize that this kind of "spot zoning" sets a precedent that can put all of these, now public, areas in great danger. For those of you who may be thinking of donating land or are working toward the preservation and conservation of an area for a specific use - think hard - your dreams are in danger!
Byron was on hand to explain the abbey's decision to install a wind turbine at the school three years ago and the financial benefits the school has enjoyed since. But the rosy picture he painted, and whether it could translate to Block Island, was challenged by many transfer station neighbors in the Town Hall over three hours that night.
A proposal that the town build a $2.4-million wind turbine seems poised to topple due to a new consultant's report showing that wind speeds at the prospective site are not as strong as previously believed. AWS Truewind, of Albany, N.Y., which initially gauged the average wind speed above Brickyard Pond at 13.4 mph, now says that the average speed per year is just under 12 mph.
Official documents and a video recording of last May's Financial Town Meeting confirm that the bond vote regarding the proposed wind turbine project was to allow the construction on any town-owned property and not just at the high school. ...The wind turbine project has received some staunch opposition, including the recent circulation of an e-mail discussing the "catastrophic failure" of a wind turbine in Searsburg, Vt. The release, from the website www.windaction.org, was dated Oct. 16 and included photos.
State Senator Josh Miller is rasing concerns about the wind farm project announced by Governor Carcieri last week. "While the General Assembly has fully supported developing renewable energy projects in Rhode Island, I am concerned that Governor Carcieri has unilaterally moved Deepwater Wind to the front of the line when major questions remain about their experience and background. I am troubled by the lack of disclosure from Deepwater Wind's CEO about his financial relationship with First Wind," stated Senator Miller.
Unanswered questions and legitimate objections - that's why Barrington Town Council member Jamie Schwartz believes the proposed wind turbine project would not get his vote of approval ... at least not right now. Last week Mr. Schwartz went public with his position regarding the wind turbine. He said if he had to vote on the project tomorrow, he would vote no. "The disagreements over the economic model, the wind adequacy, the environmental impact, vendor qualifications, property values, construction impacts, aesthetics, etc., suggest that community buy-in is insufficient to approve the project," Mr. Schwartz wrote in a letter last week.
Michael Khouri lives on Middle Highway. Like many of the residents at the Committee for Renewable Energy for Barrington (CREB) community meeting Wednesday night, Aug. 20, Mr. Khouri went to the event in search of answers. Most of the two-and-a-half hour meeting, however, was spent in heated debate. The majority of the residents at the meeting at the American Legion Hall said they were concerned about the proximity of the wind turbine to their home if it is constructed at Legion Way, the noise it will generate, and its impact on wildlife in the area.
Critics of a plan to build a wind turbine at the high school are adding zoning concerns to their list of objections to the project, which town officials say they want to relocated to a piece of town-owned land on Brickyard Pond at the end of Legion Way. But the Town Council president counters that those concerns are groundless because the town is not bound by its own zoning bylaw. ...The town has until the end of the year to close a deal on the turbine if it wants to take advantage of a $2.1-million interest-free loan being offered by the IRS.
A dozen opponents of the high school site were at the meeting to ask the committee to immediately declare the high school off limits, and they presented a 21-page report that, they contended, proves that the turbine would pose a physical danger and noise hazard to students. But committee members said they wanted to review the report and hear counter-arguments from the town's renewable energy committee, which has asserted that the device is safe. It has voted to give preference to the alternative site, which would be 1,000 feet from any house and have stronger winds.
An abutter to Barrington High School believes the town may be violating a number of zoning ordinances with its siting of the proposed wind turbine. Kathleen Shafer, who lives at 210 Lincoln Ave., recently requested a zoning certificate regarding the wind turbine, which is slated to be built on the school's campus. The certificate would act to clarify the project with respect to any zoning implications of the proposed use. Barrington Building Official Robert Speaker replied to the request by stating that the high school property - and all other town-owned property - was exempt from town zoning ordinances.
Open space designations, deed restrictions and "shadow flicker" forced six of 10 properties off the list of considerations in the preliminary phase of the wind energy feasibility study. Site possibilities could change again if additional fatal flaws emerge, the Jamestown Wind Energy Committee determined at its June 10 meeting. ...The preliminary documents showed itemized limitations of the six sites eliminated from the list. Fox Hill Farm and Dutch Island were restricted as conservation areas set aside for wildlife habitat. Fort Wetherill, Battery Lane and the school grounds, all limited in space, threatened shadow flicker that would fall on populated areas. Watershed farms, as well as Fox Hill Farm had deeds that restricted development.
The vote over the proposed wind turbine in town has been cast, but that hasn't stopped one man from raising concerns over the project. While the majority of people attending last week's Financial Town Meeting voted in favor of a 264-foot wind turbine at Barrington High School, Ron Russo believes the project has too many problems for it to continue as proposed. He pointed to the overall height of the tower, its proximity to the high school's athletic fields and main building, some unclear information that could have confused voters, and said the project appeared to be fast-tracked by local town officials and the committee assigned to study the work. ..."I feel like this was a rush to judgment. I think it's the wrong size and the wrong location."
Seven developers, one as far away as Houston, have submitted proposals to build an offshore wind farm off the coast of Rhode Island. Yesterday was the deadline for private developers to respond to the state's "request for proposals" that sought bids to finance, construct and operate a wind farm big enough to supply 15 percent of the state's electricity usage. ...It was unclear up until yesterday's deadline how many companies would make proposals, he said. There were 64 firms that registered their names with the state in order to download information about submitting a proposal, according to a list provided by Moynihan. The seven bids were not received until Thursday and yesterday.
In an overwhelming vote, but not without some passionate objection, residents at the Financial Town Meeting last night approved a plan to build a $2.4 million wind turbine, probably at the high school. It took nearly an hour of debate for the proposal to pass, and the OK came only after the voters rejected an amendment that would have banned a windmill from the high school, but permit it anywhere else in town. ... Nearly all of last night's debate was over the turbine, whose blade tips will sweep 328 feet into the air if it is built at the high school. Supporters of the project have argued that the unit would save millions of dollars in energy costs over the 20-year life of the device. Critics expressed their fears over safety and noise, saying there were better sites in town with more wind. ..."I was really scared about what it would be like to sit on my deck and listen to the windmill," said Cynthia Thomsen, of 28 Upland Way. After visiting the turbine at Portsmouth Abbey, she said, she was still opposed to having it at the high school. "It is disturbing noise if it is 24 hours a day," she said. "I believe my quality of life would be impacted in a negative way.
Wind farm developers, show us your plans. That's the message Governor Carcieri sent yesterday to private developers who may be interested in building a massive offshore wind farm that would generate at least 15 percent of the electricity consumed throughout Rhode Island -- about 1.3 million megawatts of power a year. At a State House news conference yesterday afternoon, Carcieri announced that the state has begun a formal request for proposals process, in which it seeks a partner in the private sector who would construct, finance and operate the wind farm.
Such a project would require an estimated 105 wind turbines, making it about the size of the proposed Cape Wind project off Cape Cod. The proposal would meet Carcieri's goal of securing 15 percent of the state's energy needs through clean-energy sources. But questions remained after his 1 p.m. news conference about the cost of the project and its time-frame. ...The governor's plan appears at odds with a proposal by the staff of the R.I. Coastal Resources Management Council - the state agency charged with permitting projects in state waters - for a one-year moratorium on development proposals.
A New York-based investment firm that caught state officials off guard last fall with a proposal to build up to 338 wind turbines in Rhode Island waters now says it wants to pay for a meteorological tower needed to draft zoning regulations for development of a wind farm. The proposal was made public last week at a hearing during which R.I. Coastal Resources Management Council - the state agency that regulates Rhode Island's waters voted unanimously to put off a decision about placing a one-year moratorium on all offshore alternative energy projects, something the agency's staff proposed following the New York firm's surprise wind-farm application. ...Gov. Donald L. Carcieri's ambitious goal to produce a minimum of 15 percent of Rhode Island's energy needs through the development of wind-, wave- and solar-energy sources by 2011 is almost certainly not going to happen.
In an effort to create ground rules as well as to determine what state waters would best serve potential wind farms, the Coastal Resources Management Council will vote next week on a proposed year-long moratorium on alternative energy projects in state waters. The move would place a "one-year moratorium on all renewable energy proposals in the state's territorial waters pending the development of an ocean special area management plan, or SAMP," reads the agency's notice on its website. According to CRMC spokeswoman Laura Ricketson-Dwyer, coastal is acting because "there is no specific section of our Redbook [regulation manual] that addresses wind farms."