Town Council Votes 4 to 1 to Purchase “Whalerock” Land

At the August 22 public hearing at the Charlestown Elementary School the Town Council voted to approve the acquisition for open space of land where two utility scale wind turbines with a blade tip height of approximately 410 feet are proposed. There were also two different housing proposals still pending on the land, one for over 100 houses and one for 40 houses.

Local, state, and international conservation organizations attended the meeting to speak in favor of the acquisition. The Nature Conservancy, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Audubon Society of Rhode Island, Charlestown Land Trust, Frosty Drew Observatory and Nature Center, Salt Ponds Coalition, and the Arnolda Improvement Association all spoke of the important conservation values of the land. They  and many citizens spoke of conservation of wildlife habitat, of clean water to the Coastal Ponds, of our geological history, of our scenic road, and of our dark skies. Others spoke of the positive long term effect the conservation of this land will have on our tax rate.

The purchase also prevents the placement of utility scale wind turbines too close to residential neighborhoods and the National Wildlife Refuge and puts an end to all litigation concerning the proposed uses of this land

To learn more about the land that will be purchased please visit our website to read the FAQ about the proposed Open Space acquisition. It is no longer proposed, but the information is the same.

The town held a previous referendum to approve the funding for the open space bonds. Using the bonds does not require an additional referendum. Despite this, about three people and one councilor asked for a second referendum even though that would have lost the opportunity for the purchase.

Almost as many people showed up at the hearing as voted in this year’s financial referendums, and the crowd was overwhelmingly in support of the purchase.

Thank you to everyone who attended the hearing and made time to express their views by phoning, emailing, and writing the councilors!