Steering Committee Position on Whalerock

The Steering Committee of the Charlestown Citizens Alliance has taken a position on the Whalerock proposal for two utility scale wind turbines since it was first proposed in 2009.

  • We continue to oppose the process devised by members of the (2008-2010) Town Council who worked in consultation with the developer to create an ordinance that would meet the needs of the developer rather than the environment and people of Charlestown.
  • In 2010, we opposed the partnership agreement between the (2008-2010) Town Council and the developer because it was not in the financial interest of Charlestown and because it undermined the roles of the Planning Commission and the Zoning Board authorized by the Town Charter for review of all applications for development. More specifically,
  • We opposed the 2010 decision of the (2008-2010) Town Council to exempt the developer from Site Plan Review and application for a Special Use Permit.

Recent History:
Legal and regulatory actions of the two Town Councils elected since November 2010 have eliminated the flawed Partnership Agreement and now at least the Superior Court will require that the developer seek a Special Use Permit from the Zoning Board.

Zoning Board’s Decision:

  • In their decision to grant a Special Use Permit, the Zoning Board must make positive findings as outlined in the Standards for Large Wind Energy Systems and the general findings for a Special Use Permit in the Zoning Ordinance. More specifically, that the proposed project will not result in adverse impacts to the welfare of the community, will not alter the general character of the surrounding area, and will not disrupt the neighborhood.
  • We do not believe the Zoning Board can make these positive findings and we urge the Board to acknowledge the negative findings by rejecting the application for a Special Use Permit.
  • Documents explaining our position in more detail are available below.

Wind energy may become a significant part of American energy production. Where turbines are sited is critical to the success of the industry. The size and type of turbine is also an important component. Putting turbines where they conflict with people and wildlife creates resistance to the industry and may indeed harm neighbors and the environment. The land where the Whalerock turbines are proposed is not an appropriate site for very large scale wind turbines.

Residents who cannot attend the Zoning Board hearing should send their thoughts and testimony to the Zoning Board by email at or by postal mail to:
Charlestown Zoning Board
4540 South County Trail
Charlestown, RI 02813

Below are documents explaining our position or that provide information on the history of the proposal and the process of a Special Use Permit. Documents that are not linked will be available soon as well as others.