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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

You paid for it

So you might as well read it
By Will Collette

If you subscribe to the print edition of the Westerly Sun, check out the last page of the front section (page 8).

This entire page is filled with the language of proposed Ordinance 344, the ordinance written by the Planning Commission to "allow" homeowners to install wind generators for their personal use.

As I wrote in my section-by-section review, this ordinance is a sham - it actually makes it nearly impossible for homeowners to install a wind generator for their home use.

This ordinance received its first reading at the October 11 Town Council meeting. The Council voted to advertise the ordinance in the newspaper of record (the Sun) along with a notice that there will be a "public hearing" at the November Town Council meeting on November 15. The Council will probably then vote, by 3-2, to approve this awful new law.

So the town - i.e. you and me and the rest of town taxpayers - bought ourselves an ad in the Westerly Sun. When I wrote about Ordinance 344, I urged all readers not to take my word on what it says, but to read it for themselves. Now you can read it in the newspaper, if you haven't already used it to line your bird cage. Otherwise, you can fetch it from the recycling bin.

I wrote that this ordinance is incredibly burdensome and imposes so many requirements and restrictions that it's hard to imagine any Charlestown homeowner who can comply. I think most people will look at these requirements and ask themselves if the Planning Commission is cracking a very cruel joke.

Actually, it's worse than that. It is, in my opinion, a pretty clear example of very cynical and hypocritical abuse of process by the Planning Commission. It would have been more honest - and would have saved taxpayers the cost of this full-page ad - if the Planning Commission simply stuck with the total ban on wind energy that Charlestown, unique among all communities in the United States, has on the books.

But don't worry - the CCA has promised that they'll soon be sending their e-mail list their own analysis of Ordinance 344. Can't wait. Betcha a dollar they say it's a masterful balance of personal rights and public interest, like they did when the town enacted the total ban.