Council to send letter for Deepwater loan guarantee

Mon, 09/20/2010 - 4:00am

09/18/10 - The Town Council voted Wednesday to send a letter supporting a Deepwater Wind application for a Department of Energy Loan Guarantee. The loan guarantee program would provide Deepwater with $160 million in guaranteed loans and, according to Deepwater liaison Bryan Wilson, would make financing the project much easier.

The council supported a similar unsuccessful effort last year; however, last year’s application included both the small wind farm three miles off Block Island’s south east coast and the larger proposed wind farm 10 miles east of Block Island.

Wilson explained that while the project made it to the second round of vetting the application was turned down because the larger project was not deemed “shovel ready.”

Several members of the public spoke out on the issue. Mohegan Trail resident Rosemarie Ives said that she did not think the council should support the application and reiterated her support for a stand-alone cable to the mainland.

Both Block Island Power Company Chief Operating Officer Cliff McGinnes Sr. and Electric Utility Task Group member Barbara MacMullan spoke in support of the project, saying that the island needs a transmission cable and the Deepwater project is an avenue for getting a cable.

Council member Ken Lacoste agreed saying that any letter the council sends should emphasize the importance of the transmission cable to the island.

Flood overlay

The council also held a public hearing on an amendment to replace the “Flood Control Overlay” section of the town’s zoning ordinances. The change was mandated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which recently revised its Flood Insurance Rate Maps for Washington County.

The town was required to adopt the new overlay by October 19 or risk losing flood insurance coverage. The council voted unanimously to make the necessary changes to comply with the new FEMA requirements.

The council members accepted the Police Department’s monthly report and said that they would need to talk with Police Chief Vincent Carlone at a future meeting about bike and moped safety for next season. There have been several complaints to the council about helmet-less moped riders and bicyclists who do not follow street signs.

Aldo’s Bakery sent a letter to the council requesting it be allowed to increase the number of video games in its building from one to five; they had up to 20 in the past. However, no one was present to speak on behalf of Aldo’s and the council did not think game licenses was a matter for it to take up.

First Warden Kim Gaffett said that licensing was normally handled by the clerk’s office or by requesting a change by the Planning Board. The council took no action on the letter.