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Competition Heats Up For Developing Tiverton's Industrial Park

Patch reported live from the Tiverton Town Council meeting of Monday, Feb. 13.

7:05 p.m. The meeting begins. The council goes into executive session to discuss "acqusition of disposition of town held property" relating to the industrial park.

7:49 p.m. Council reconvenes in open session.

8:12 p.m. After public forum, Town Administrator Jim Goncalo said they have not received any formal responses for the . They are due Friday, Feb. 17.

8:20 p.m. The council votes 7-0 to approve an entertainment license to Cheryl DeDucca of , at 1154 Stafford Road. The owner said she would like to have some comedy nights and some piano and guitar playing some nights in the dining room. She said no large dance parties will occur.

8:46 p.m. The council votes 7-0 to reappoint John Manchester as the town's tree warden. There were no other applicants.

8:47 p.m. The council votes 7-0 to appoint Rachel Peckham Elder to the Historic Preservation Advisory Board.

8:48 p.m. Council votes 7-0 to reappoint Kate Michaud as administrator officer to the Planning Board.

8:54 p.m. Council votes 7-0 to put forward a request-for-qualifications to hire a new municipal court judge. and Probate Judge Richard D'Addario has served the position in the interim.

9:16 p.m. Councilor Rob Coulter proposes a pilot department discretionary budget program for carry forward and transfer policies. Citing the snow removal and other "volatile" accounts, the idea would allow to carry those funds forward into the next fiscal year and give that department a fraction of the savings from the previous fiscal year.

Councilors Cecil Leonard and Ed Roderick raised concerns about it, saying it would "complicate budgeting."

Coulter said he will communicate with Goncalo about the proposal and come back to the council with new findings.

Renewable energy developer makes new presentation

9:36 p.m. Gerald Felise, CEO of Natural Energy Generation, and two representatives give a presentation to the council about a "major" energy generation project for the Industrial Park. He said he hopes the council gives him a letter of support to take to the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation and the State Energy Siting Board. The proposal calls for geothermal energy production (gas-fired power plant) and energy storage.

Felise said his presentation is not related to the executive session with the council earlier in the night about purchasing the industrial park.

Felise proposes developing over 600 acres of private land. He said they want to make a $150 million investment over the next 18 months. Under the development, Felise said they project this could bring $2.5 million in tax-rated income for Tiverton by the third quarter of 2013. Felise said the state's energy department is reviewing the proposal as a "demonstration site."

Felise adds this first development could bring 221 construction jobs and 58 permanent jobs.

10:37 p.m. Council votes 5-2 to approve a preliminary letter to support Felise's project, and let Town Solicitor Andrew Teitz review it and make changes to bring back for their Feb. 27 meeting. Councilors Ed Roderick and Brett Pelletier voted no.

Wind farm proponents have to wait on legislation

11:20 p.m. Council votes 7-0 to table a discussion item with members of East Bay Energy Consortium (EBEC) and DiPrete Engineering about the . Discussion ensued on drafting legislation, most likely a municipal bill, to make EBEC a public corporation for the project so it creates the ability to issue bonds for the renewable energy project. Councilors Dave Nelson and Rob Coulter expressed concern of Tiverton, while being the proposed host community for the wind farm, only has one seat on the nine-member EBEC that would have say in drafting the legislation.

The discussion is continued to March 12.

11:40 p.m. Andy Shapiro of Apex then got permission to talk to the council about the "real concern" he has with the concept of controlling the properties involved with the Industrial Park development, especially with the latest concept proposed by Felise of Natural Energy Generation.

11:45 p.m. The council votes 7-0 to continue the New Business item by Roderick on a petition regarding recently imposed fishing and recreational restrictions on Nonquit Pond to its Feb. 27 meeting.

11:46 p.m. The council votes 7-0 to table Vice President Cecil Leonard's proposal to update the Comprehensive Community Plan.

Proposal to use police pension funds for capital purchases

11:53 p.m. The council dicsusses a proposal by Leonard to "improve police pension fund investment earnings" and indicate they will bring it up at their next meeting. He said Tiverton has capital requirements and right now they're paying interest on long-term leases. Leonard said his proposal suggests to find "tangible assets" in the police pension fund investment report line item, and then "hold the paper" or "connect" some of those items back to the fund's investment advisor at the bank to decide on spending those assets on capital purchases. Leonard compared it to using pension funds to buying a fire truck for the department. Roderick said he did not feel comfortable with the idea, especially if the police pension goes unfunded one year.

Language on special use permits revisited for public hearing

11:58 p.m. The council votes 3-3, with Coulter abstaining, on setting a date for a public hearing on revisiting a zoning amendment to Article XV, Section 5 - Procedure For Special Use Permits and Variances. The motion failed and disucssion ended. Several individuals spoke to the history of Tiverton's zoning issues and unfriendly business climate dealing with this particular language. Leonard said it's a "very serious matter." Planning Board Vice Chairman Stu Hardy said this issue needs to be dealt with quickly so the town can move forward. A few other citizens objected to the proposal.

12:18 a.m. After comments from Goncalo and legal briefings by Teitz, the council goes into executive session.

To watch full-length Tiverton Town Council and School Committee meetings, go to http://www.tivertonvideos.blogspot.com.

Joe Sousa. February 15, 2012 at 04:53 PM
The personal attacks just keep coming. I will find out in Nov. when I run for Town Council. I am running as a pro business, tax relief candidate. If I win, I know people want change. If I loose, I know people are content with the current system. If I win, I will keep my promise.
Rug Doctor February 15, 2012 at 04:58 PM
Joe if you can get up to speed on zoning and the major legal expenses that the town has I might just support you or I will be against you the entire time.....
Rug Doctor February 15, 2012 at 05:12 PM
Wow lets focus on nickels and dimes and ignore the big money. Lets just ignore the big money and not be bothered with it because we have all of this little petty stuff to deal with that will not even help the high taxes. Old and Tired I am gald your not on the council. Lets forget about someones big plans and have a bake sale to get money to pave our streets and buy fire trucks. Are you for real? Did you even bother to see the meeting?
Rug Doctor February 15, 2012 at 05:13 PM
Joe lets have a beer and discuss someday soon.
oldandtired February 15, 2012 at 05:13 PM
Appreciate that Joe.
oldandtired February 15, 2012 at 05:17 PM
That is not what anyone is saying - you are just hearing what you want us to say so you can demonize anyone who disagrees with you. Old political trick.
Gloria Crist February 15, 2012 at 05:20 PM
You are close to some legal issues if you are stating something I did not say...I will not hold a sign for you-but I will tell you where to stick it!
Gloria Crist February 15, 2012 at 05:32 PM
small minds have small ideas.
Rug Doctor February 15, 2012 at 05:41 PM
GLORIA play nice in the patch sandbox!!!
Gloria Crist February 15, 2012 at 05:51 PM
Oh I am just getting started.
Dan D February 15, 2012 at 06:01 PM
If you win, this town is more screwed up than I thought.
Just Another Taxpayer February 15, 2012 at 06:11 PM
Chicken Joe, I believe the leader of the TCC and Town Council Member, Dave Nelson walked out of the last meeting just prior to when this issue was first brought up. Another example of Profiles in Courage.
Just Another Taxpayer February 15, 2012 at 06:12 PM
Chicken Joe, what promise(s) are you going to keep?
Tiverton Dad February 15, 2012 at 07:12 PM
Rug Doctor claims that a "thermal energy" system poses no threat to the environment. It's true that geothermal is generally a clean source of energy, but due to the proximity to wetlands and drinking water, I have concerns. Geothermal energy is produced by tapping into heat contained in rock deep beneath the earth's surface. This energy can be used to power turbines that create electricity. I'm assuming this is the gist of Felice's proposal, although Matt's note about it being "gas-fired" is confusing. On a small scale, geothermal energy can be used to heat and cool a good-sized house or building. This involves drilling wells until striking a good source of energy. But even on a small scale, the well can be thousands of feet deep, and require several wells before one is productive. I have never dealt with a project as large as a power plant, but I would imagine it takes many wells, and many more attempts, to produce enough energy. Geothermal energy can also be depleted in a specific area, requiring more wells. The most productive areas are near tectonic boundaries, but newer technologies have begun to tap into other areas. For the Industrial Park, this would mean drilling perhaps dozens of wells near a sensitive source of drinking water, and through ground water and the water table, causing cross-circulation between the ground water and surface water and pollution. Maybe there are new technologies to mitigate the risk, but this doesn't sound like a good idea to me.
Rug Doctor February 15, 2012 at 08:48 PM
Tiverton Dad, I am no geothermal energy expert however if you watch the presentation online a horizontal geothermal system is what is discussed. I know this is early in the process however a clean green energy park could be a win win for all of us. Like with any project the details do matter. It is well worth exploring.
Tiverton Dad February 15, 2012 at 09:30 PM
I'm not an expert either, but I have worked on projects that have used this technology. It's certainly worth exploring, but my point was that it's premature for you or anyone to claim that the proposed projects at the Industrial Park will not have an environmental impact, especially since you show so much concern for the impact of development on other parts of town..
Joe Sousa. February 15, 2012 at 10:55 PM
Dad these geothermal pipes are buried across the site horizontally . They will be below the frost line under the wind turbine Geothermal is a general term . Some power plants use these type of grids to cool : condense the steam after it moves through the turbine. There are also geothermal heating and AC systems . That is the method you are describing. On the west cost geothermal power plants use the magma under the surface to boil the water making steam for the power plants . They drill down to the point where they can heat the water. That could be hundreds of feet. This proposed development is not that type.
Joe Sousa. February 15, 2012 at 11:41 PM
Just Another Taxpayer, If we can expand the tax base I hope to give a larger tax exemption to seniors on fixed incomes. Allowing them to keep their homes till they pass means a lot to so many.
Rug Doctor February 16, 2012 at 12:57 AM
Tiverton Dad sorry I do not have a double standard for a different part of town. This is a clean green project that needs to be encouraged and explored. I have concerns about Stafford Pond but this project is not a chemical plant. It could be a green project with jobs and a nice tax revenue for the town. It is not a mall that would burden Fire and Police services. Where is the open mind ?
oldandtired February 16, 2012 at 01:27 AM
I have absolutely no problem with this being explored. What I have a problem with is placing the rest of the town in limbo while the Council waits for this project - the man has NO investors, no permits, no approval from the state.. Can't the Council chew gum and walk at the same time. Why does one have to exclude the other. Ridiculous. BTW, Rug new name for you - PIMBY (put it in my neighbors yard)
oldandtired February 16, 2012 at 01:49 AM
By the way, the guy who spoke at the end had it right. The town should be objectively encouraging and exploring ALL offers. Why were the other two options met with such hostility? Why keep an open mind about the one development and not the others?
Joe Sousa. February 16, 2012 at 01:56 AM
The difference is the sale of the whole park. If we can sell the whole park the town has no liability.
oldandtired February 16, 2012 at 02:03 AM
IF it works out. Need to keep all options open. This wouldn't be the first deal to fall through, especially when dealing with the state for permits etc. Opportunity lost is a huge risk if we sell and then don't get what was promised because the deal falls through. How much did we pay for the Park Joe?
Joe Sousa. February 16, 2012 at 02:13 AM
That is true Old one , but I still hope we sell the whole park and wash our hands of it. I think we spent 5 million
Joe Sousa. February 16, 2012 at 02:16 AM
It use to be a great place to hunt. I pulled a few deer out of there. When they built the power plant we got the boot. I'm sure it's over run with deer. To bad we can't open a hunting preserve.
Reader February 17, 2012 at 07:04 PM
http://www.tiverton.ri.gov/government/planning/VC-ProposedChangesV2.pdf Last update posted on town website, but sets context and historical uses.
Jim L February 17, 2012 at 08:26 PM
rents have nothing to do with taxes
Gloria Crist February 18, 2012 at 01:01 PM
I am aware rental income does not go towards taxes- the point was-high dollar rent should =high dollar property-so the tax revenue on those pieces of property should value something-what is the value of Four Corners to the tax base in Tiverton?
Tiverton Dad February 18, 2012 at 02:02 PM
Joe, will you end your own personal attacks? If you can make and keep that promise, I'll listen to your campaign ideas with an open mind.
Gloria Crist February 26, 2012 at 03:13 PM
How foolish does the TCC/Town Council think Tiverton residents are? They have been anti decision making on so many positive growth opportunities for Tiverton-and now breeze through with not only a project proposal BUT an individual who is at best questionable? Neither the project or Felise have been fully vetted-and Felise has financial ties to the TCC- which seems like a huge conflict of interest issue. This town needs economic growth like crazy-but we don't need crazy developers making backroom deals that will end up not being a good idea for our town.

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