Special Use Permit Process for a Large Wind Turbine

The Zoning Ordinance for Wind Energy Systems is at our website at http://charlestowncitizens.org/wind/getSimple.jsp.html

This ordinance has been repealed, but because of actions of the RI Superior Court the applicant for Whalerock is applying under this ordinance. The application will go before the Zoning Board on May 21  at 7 p.m. at Charlestown Elementary School. The record of the proceedings includes letters, emails and other documents sent to Zoning by May 14 and Statements made during the public hearing.

In the coming days we’ll look at all applicable aspects of the ordinance. For now we are printing the language from the Ordinance for the Special Use Permit and the standard Special Use Permit language that is included by reference in the Wind Ordinance.

The Zoning Board will need to find positively for all of the conditions below.

(7) General Standards for Large Wind Energy Systems (LWES).

(a) Special Use Permit.

[1] Except as provided for in this ordinance, no large wind energy system shall be erected, constructed, installed or modified as provided in this section without first obtaining a Special Use Permit from the Zoning Board of Review. The construction of a large wind energy system shall be permitted in allowed zoning districts subject to the issuance of a Special Use Permit and provided that the use complies with all requirements set forth in this article, and all applicable state and federal requirements. In addition to the required findings of the Zoning Ordinance § 218-25A, Special Use Permits, no special use permit shall be granted unless the Zoning Board of Review finds in writing that:

[a] there will not be any serious hazard to pedestrians or vehicles from the use

[b] no nuisance will be created by the use

[c] adequate and appropriate facilities will be provided for the proper operation of the use

[d] there will be no adverse environmental impacts

[2] Such permits may also impose reasonable conditions, safeguards and limitations on time and use and may require the applicant to implement all reasonable measures to mitigate unforeseen adverse impact of the wind facility should they occur.

§ 218-25A has been renumbered to § 218-23 in the Zoning Ordinance

Special Use Permits

A. A special use permit may be approved by the Board following a public hearing if, in the opinion of the Board, that evidence to the satisfaction of the following standards has been entered into the record of the proceedings:

(1) The public convenience and welfare will be substantially served;

(2) It will not result in adverse impacts or create conditions that will be inimical to the public health, safety, morals and general welfare of the community.

(3) The requested special use permit will not alter the general character of the surrounding area or impair the intent or purpose of this Zoning Ordinance or the Comprehensive Plan upon which this Ordinance is based;

(4) That the granting of a special use permit will not pose a threat to drinking water supplies;

(5) That the use will not disrupt the neighborhood or the privacy of abutting landowners by excessive noise, light, glare, or air pollutants;

(6) That the sewage and waste disposal into the ground and the surface water drainage from the proposed use will be adequately handled on site;

(7) That the traffic generated by the proposed use will not cause undue congestion or introduce a traffic hazard to the circulation pattern of the area.