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3/6/2019 Senator Lombardi introduces bill to allow cities, towns to regulate, require notice for building of wind farms
STATE HOUSE — Sen. Frank S. Lombardi (D-Dist. 26, Cranston) has submitted legislation that would allow cities and towns to pass ordinances regarding wind farms, requiring notice be given to nearby property owners before construction.

The bill (2019-S 0414) would provide that any zoning ordinance concerning wind energy systems would establish requirements and guidelines consistent with the latest technical paper on renewable energy.

The impetus for the legislation came from a wind farm near the state Central Landfill in Johnston. Residents at nearby Alpine Estates in Cranston were given no notice before construction began.

“Wind energy systems are an excellent way to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels,” said Senator Lombardi. “But it’s important that municipalities have the power to regulate them through local zoning ordinances. This legislation would empower cities and towns to issue special use permits, approve variances and require notice to nearby property owners, so that no residents are blindsided by the sudden appearance of a windfarm in their neighborhood.”

The bill would allow zoning ordinances to require notice sent by first-class mail to all property owners within not less than 500 feet of a proposed small wind energy system, or 1,000 feet of a proposed large wind energy system. The legislation defines a large energy system as a vertical system greater than 200 feet in height, and a small system as one less than 200 feet in height.

The legislation would also require that the ordinance establish requirements and guidelines consistent with the latest technical paper on renewable energy siting guidelines for terrestrial wind energy systems published by the statewide planning program.

The proposed legislation, which is cosponsored by Senators Stephen R. Archambault (D-Dist. 22, Smithfield, North Providence, Johnston), Frank A. Ciccone III (D-Dist. 7, Providence, North Providence) and Majority Leader Michael J. McCaffrey (D-Dist. 29, Warwick), has been referred to the Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture.

For more information, contact:
Daniel Trafford, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903