2012-04-19 / Letters to the Editor

2 special-use permits, 3 variances are too much

As former chairman of the Jamestown Conservation Commission for more than 25 years, I have been involved in many requests to the Zoning Board of Review for relief from our town’s Zoning Ordinance.

Most of these cases involved relief from ordinances enacted to protect the environment or groundwater resources of the island. Fortunately, through vision and good planning, we have zoning ordinances in place that have continued to protect these valuable natural resources. The town has always looked to the future to ensure the island continues to be a great place to live.

So why would that same town and Town Council be requesting two special-use permits and three variances from its own Zoning Ordinance to erect a giant wind turbine as tall as the towers of the Newport Bridge, in one of the most scenic landscapes on Conanicut Island?

Why isn’t the Town Council following the same thoughtful planning process to develop guidelines and zoning ordinances to allow renewable resource projects in appropriate locations, and at an appropriate scale that is compatible with surrounding land use patterns, before undertaking such a massive project?

If you feel as I do, that we need to follow the lead of many surrounding communities by first developing and adopting a comprehensive zoning ordinance that will allow renewable energy projects in appropriate areas of the island, then please let your Town Council know that you care about the future of this beautiful island and would like the town to follow the same careful planning process we have used in the past. We can’t afford to make a multimillion-dollar mistake.

You might want to attend the Zoning Board of Review hearing on the town’s request for the permits and variances on Tuesday, April 24, at 7 p.m. at Town Hall. Tell the board that by granting the town’s request, they will be compromising the careful planning process followed in the past: a process that has provided island residents the quality of life we all enjoy today.

Chris Powell

Mount Hope Avenue

Jamestown

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