Multiple motions approved for Deepwater Wind

Mon, 06/15/2020 - 11:00am

Working with what First Warden Ken Lacoste described as a “complicated agenda,” the Town Council approved measures that will move forward two pressing needs for the town: the search for a new town manager and the project to rebury two sections of cable connected to the Block Island Wind Farm.

The Town Council met via telecommunications on Wednesday, June 10, with the council immediately turning to a closed session to address the two issues.

When the council returned to open session, Lacoste announced there had been two votes made on the agenda items in closed session.

The first vote was “based on a recommendation of the Town Manager Search Committee, the council voted to proceed with interviews with the two candidate finalists, [and] scheduling interviews with council in the near future,” said Lacoste.

The second vote “made a motion to have the negotiating team of Interim Town Manager [Jim Kern], Facilities Manager [Sam Bird], and Town Solicitor [Kathy Merolla] proceed with negotiations of National Grid for the easements for the work being done on the reconstruction at Town Beach,” said Lacoste.

Lacoste noted “councilor Willi did not join us for the rest of the closed session meetings.”

The council resumed open session for the following agenda items: Discuss and Act on Town Manager Interview Process and Schedule, Discuss and act on Site Access Agreement with Narragansett Electric Company/Deepwater Wind Block Island LLC and the Public Archeological Laboratory, and Discuss and Act on Preconstruction License Agreement with Deepwater Wind Block Island LLC.

Manager interview process and schedule

“I make a motion to have the Town Clerk [Molly Fitzpatrick] schedule interviews with the two candidates as soon as possible before the end of the month,” said Lacoste.

Councilor Sven Risom noted “I would love to have those candidates come out and tour the island, to see the facilities, and meet the council.”

Site access agreements

Interim Town Manager Jim Kern reported an update on the site access agreement with Narragansett Electric Company/Deepwater Wind and the Public Archeological Laboratory.

“This is a site access agreement with the two companies… we will be discussing their construction project next year to rebury the cable. They have asked for the purpose of satisfying the requirements for their environment permitting to be able to do some archeological test pits in the parking lot. They have suggested doing it for one week, starting the 22nd of this month… It’s essentially to dig test pits and sift the sand to find anything sensitive to record and report it. [When they are finished, they will] Fill [the test area] back in, and return it to its previous state. The test area is essentially the area surrounding the Beach Pavilion. It runs behind the Beach Pavilion, but doesn’t leave the parking lot, [and] includes sections of both the south and north, closest to the beach as opposed to Corn Neck Road,” addressed Kern.

“It goes about halfway in the south parking lot to about halfway in the north parking lot,” added Lacoste, and further asked the question “Will the portions of the parking lot that are not being tested, will be used for parking?”.

“They will be… they will release the areas they are finished with,” said Kern.

The site access agreement will begin “starting [June] 22 and terminate on [June] 29,” said Kern.

“This is a week-long agreement that allows [Public Archeological Laboratory] to do the investigation that is necessary for the permitting. It basically sets forth the time period where they can operate the location they can operate and certain qualifications on their operation, such as performing the work,” said Town Solicitor Kathy Merolla. She noted at the end of their operation, “everything has to look exactly the way it was prior to the work being done and the Town has to approve it.”

Lacoste made a motion “to authorize the Interim Town Manager [Jim Kern] to enter an agreement with Public Archeological Laboratory and/or Narragansett Electric Company for the preliminary archeological work at Town Beach,” and amending his motion “to include $1,000 for consideration.”

License agreement with Deepwater Wind

“The anticipated construction period is the middle of October to the middle of May of next fall into the following spring. This is an agreement that would allow the two companies to pre-stage some of the equipment and material on the north end of the parking lot… from the middle of September to middle of October. The idea there being they would be in a better position to get started in October… the license agreement goes through similar to the previous conversation, and lays out what is required of them… the term would be for 30 days from the middle of September to middle of October. Based on the calculations done, in support of the permanent and temporary easement — the consideration I would suggest using is $9,000 a month, or $300 a day. I should say the agreement is with Narragansett Electric Oil and Deepwater Wind,” said Kern.

“It’s definitely only the north lot — the south lot would be available for parking,” added Lacoste.

Risom asked “This is all in the parking lot area, not inhibiting the road or any access?”

“That’s correct,” said Kern.

Lacoste made a motion “to have the Interim Town Manager [Jim Kern] to enter in a license agreement between the Town of New Shoreham, Narragansett Electric Company, and Deepwater Wind, LLC. for preconstruction license agreement with those entities.”

The Town Council will be meeting via telecommunication on Monday, June 15 at 6 p.m. to discuss and act on the Town’s fiscal year 2021 budget.