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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Wind Turbines vs. almost everyone, round 5

Or Cancelled Whalerock zoning review, round 2
by Tom Ferrio

I felt a little foolish going to the Zoning Board of Review hearing for the Whalerock wind turbines tonight. After all, the town sent out an email notification this afternoon that it will request a continuance of the hearing while it is "exploring other means that may preclude the need for the matter to be decided by the ABR" (typo, should be "ZBR"). Of course, "continuance" means they want tonight's meeting cancelled.

"Other means" almost certainly refers to the purchase negotiations that were alluded to at the last Town Council meeting.

So it should be a really short meeting. I can try to talk Will into letting me chalk up a meeting attendance credit for this short meeting but he's not that much of a softie.

But I do have some nagging questions that I know I can't get a direct answer to. And since the rumor that I have a mole on the Town Council is definitely not true, I wanted to go to see if I can sense anything to help me get some answers.

Arriving at the Charlestown Elementary School was quite different than last time, when I had to run the gauntlet of former Ill Winders at the entrance who were trying to rev up anti-wind fervor among the attendees. This time the entry was easy, no one was at the door, so they were either confident that there would be no news tonight or they have started to internalize the message that intimidating the Zoning Board might not lead to the best outcome in a possible future court case.
None of these this time.
The attendance was sparse, as should be expected, less than 20 people. Several I talked to were disappointed that they didn't get the message this afternoon. (Hint: read Progressive Charlestown.) The meeting. First the Board approved the minutes from the June 19 meeting. Board Chair Rzewuski announced that the Town requested to continue the meeting until August 28. The motion to continue the meeting was made, seconded, and passed unanimously by the Zoning Board. And then they moved to adjourn.

I felt it odd that no lawyers talked or were even asked to talk. This is Larry LeBlanc's hearing and his lawyer, Nick Gorham, was there. But there wasn't even a courtesy question of whether Gorham concurred with the request. We also don't know whether this request came from Peter Ruggiero or from John Mancini.

I still have my nagging questions and every meeting I attend troubles me more. In short, here they are:
  • What about this matter of the Town's legal basis to participate?
  • How can lawyer John Mancini have secret clients and not have to prove that they have standing to participate?
  • Why was there no comment when the Town and Mancini were challenged that the Town is paying for the legal representation of these secret clients?
  • What basis do Tom Gentz and Peter Ruggiero have for claiming that Zoning Board members with expiring terms can continue to serve without being re-appointed?