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Wind Turbine Amendments To Be Debated at Public Hearing

Although the Planning Board concluded proposed amendments to the wind turbines were inconsistent with the comprehensive plan, council approved the proposal to be forwarded to a public hearing.

Proposed amendments that would restrict wind turbines in Middletown will soon be debated at a public hearing.

On June 6, Middletown Town Council asked the Planning Board to review the amendments that would prohibit wind turbines in all zoning districts, with the exception of agricultural uses, field crop farms or horticultural nurseries or livestock farms.  

After a special meeting held on June 20, the Board determined the amendments were not consistent with the Middletown comprehensive community plan. In a letter to the town council, the board said the amendments would “severely limit the feasibility, financially and physically, of future turbine development in Middletown.”

During Monday’s Council meeting, Councillor Chris Semonelli said he believed the board’s decision was a recommendation, and the council has the justification to come to an independent conclusion. 

“The council has a responsibility, consistent with its obligation to protect the health, welfare and safety of its citizens,” said Semonelli.   

Council President Art Weber agreed that the council should make the final determination and recommended the proposal be forwarded to a public hearing. 

Councilor Barbara Vonvillas urged the council to wait until after the election to debate the issue. She said the town survey has been ignored and interviews with a resident who was negatively impacted by the wind turbine were misrepresented.

“I do not think this council would like this to be an election issue,” she warned.  

Middletown Resident Richard Price disagreed.

“I respectfully disagree with Vonvillas that the Council has been misleading,” said Price.  “The Planning Board’s memorandum is more of a recommendation than a conclusion.  I think the council is well within its authority to reach the opposite decision that it's well within comprehensive plan,” he said.

Councilor Ed Silveria said although he originally supported the proposal to allow wind turbines, he now realizes it’s just a business that negatively impacts Middletown residents.  

“There is no reason that the rest of us should suffer,” said Silveria.  “Now we realize what's happened in Portsmouth.  It doesn't make sense.”

Silveria made a motion to forward the issue to a public hearing, which was approved.  Councilors Richard Cambra and Barbara Vonvillas opposed. 

William F Horan August 07, 2012 at 10:49 AM
WINDFALL, a beautifully photographed feature length film, documents how this proposal divides Meredith’s residents as they fight over the future of their community. Attracted at first to the financial incentives that would seemingly boost their dying economy, a group of townspeople grow increasingly alarmed as they discover the impacts that the 400-foot high windmills slated for Meredith could bring to their community as well as the potential for financial scams. With wind development in the United States growing annually at 39 percent, WINDFALL is an eye-opener that should be required viewing for anyone concerned about the environment and the future of renewable energy. http://firstrunfeatures.com/trailers_windfall.html http://windfallthemovie.com/index_1.html
MichAEL August 08, 2012 at 05:10 PM
How about the small ones.I don't think the {residents}are going to put up a 400 foot one.maybe a10 to 20 feet..The council do not care about the residents that live here If they did they would help us with thinks that would help us live here.Thats ok we do VOTE,Do you like your job?
Lorraine Papineau August 09, 2012 at 02:41 AM
I agree with MichAEL, this town should help us, and yes maybe a resident would like to save on power too. 10 or 20 foot turbine is fine. My neighbor has a gas or propane tanks on the side of his house , every time they kick in I have to turn up the tv, it's so loud, no one stopped them......let us have turbines for residents and the town
William F Horan August 17, 2012 at 12:12 AM
Wind Turbine generators do not belong deployed in high density zoning neighborhoods like Middletown. This is a remote off grid solution and has a very poor return on investment. Basically such does not replace he need for an electrical supply and is a very poor back up solution. Further rotating machinery 20 to 30 feet in the air and supported by especially individual house structures is a health & safety hazard and unnecessary annoyance. Improving our public utilities under the management and regulation of the RI PIC will provide a predictable and affordable electrical supply while strengthening the Public Utilities industry. The town council was prudent in their engagement in adult critical thinking and eventual determination to band such installations, for a variety of fundamental public safety and technical considerations. Last, this is not a viable solution for a temporary power loss or a cost reduction that would reduce their combined utility cost.

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