Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Charlestown Democrats support town purchase of Whalerock land

CDTC urges Council to seek voter approval

(Charlestown) The proposed Whalerock industrial wind turbine project has stirred up almost universal opposition since it was first proposed three years ago. The Charlestown Democratic Town Committee (CDTC) has clearly voiced its opposition to the project and called on the Charlestown Town Council to negotiate a fair purchase price to secure the land as open space.

Now that the Town Council has reached a tentative deal with the property owner, CDTC Chair Catherine O’Reilly Collette said, “We are pleased to see that such a deal is now on its way to fulfillment. Buying the land for open space will end the three-years’ of turmoil and provide Charlestown with one of the most strategically located open space parcels in the town.”

The CDTC also approved a resolution to call on the Charlestown town council to show respect for the taxpayers by putting the deal before the voters. A vote on any Whalerock purchase was promised by the Town Council Majority led by Town Council President Tom Gentz (CCA Party) and mandated by Town Solicitor Peter Ruggiero at the Council’s August 10, 2011 and May 9, 2011 meetings when the land purchase concept was last discussed.

Even though there appears to be sufficient funding in the town’s Open Space-Recreation Bond fund, this Council majority has set the precedent for placing such matters before the voters when they decided to put the construction funding for Charlestown’s beach facilities to a vote in 2011 rather than use available Open Space-Recreation bond funds. Voters approved that measure on June 6, 2011 by more than 10 points – 55.6% to 44.4% - despite strong opposition from beach front property owners.

Ms. Collette continued, “I think it is very reasonable to use existing open space bond money for this purpose and believe there is strong support for a fair and reasonable solution to the Whalerock controversy. Let’s handle this transaction with full openness and transparency. We call on the Council majority to honor its past positions and promises and allow voters the final say.”