TOM WARD – Reject huge wind turbine

TOM WARD – Reject huge wind turbine

I’ve always been a fan of Ruth Pacheco and her farm on Old Smithfield Road in North Smithfield. The bees, the herbs, the puppy care … all of it. The entire road is beautiful, a throwback to simpler and quieter times, yet only a stone’s throw from shopping and restaurants and other niceties that make modern life enjoyable.

I understand the need for Mrs. Pacheco to seek out ways to keep her farm financially sound and in her family’s hands for generations to come. But in seeking to place a large wind turbine on her land, she has created a firestorm with neighbors.

My dad once told me “Remember, the rights of your fist ends where the rights of the other guy’s nose begins.” To neighbors, this wind turbine is a giant 462.5-foot fist in the face. Proposed by Green Development and its founder, Mark DePasquale, this turbine would be 32 feet taller than Rhode Island’s tallest building, the so-called Superman building in Providence. That seems pretty big.

People have been talking about this project for years, and signs saying “No Wind Turbine” are along the road. At one time, I counted 27, but there are fewer today. In last week’s story by reporter Lauren Clem, we were introduced to Nicole Valliere, a woman who with her family bought the beautiful 16-acre property and home next to Mrs. Pacheco. It was perfect for her children and ailing father, she told us. Mrs. Pacheco came to meet and welcome her new neighbors after the sale, and told Ms. Valliere of the turbine, no doubt in an earnest effort to win her approval. It didn’t work, and Valliere has joined neighbors in the fight against the turbine she knew nothing about.

As an aside, may I ask: Do real estate agents or homeowners have any obligation to tell unsuspecting buyers that a massive wind turbine is planned next door? Apparently not. Legally, home sellers, with their professional representatives, must sign disclosure forms that inform buyers of all sorts of things that may impact the value of a home. But if a 462.5-foot wind turbine is planned next door, nothing needs to be said? If so, may I say here, “There ought to be a law …”

Right now, however, it seems current laws favor the developers of green (with a small “g”) energy. As I’ve written before, environmentalists across the state are protesting – rightly, in my view – the clear-cutting of trees that absorb carbon only to have them replaced by solar sprawl. We can all pat ourselves on the back for saving the planet, but it’s clear this is ridiculous public policy. Solar belong on rooftops, or large buildings, or brownfields and other damaged lands like former dumps. Clear-cutting woodlands for solar energy makes no sense to me.

Still, that’s what state policy rewards today with our taxes – fairly aggressive and rampant development of green energy just to make a political point.

I have read enough about the light “flicker” of spinning blades and the noise levels of large turbines. While Green Development has maps that show flicker will not be a problem for neighbors, there isn’t much besides promises that can be made regarding noise. One Portsmouth woman, Denise Wilkey, complains bitterly in our comments last week of the noise and changes to her quality of life from a Green Development turbine 1,100 feet from her home. She is not alone. With apologies to Ruth Pacheco and her family, I would urge the North Smithfield Zoning Board to turn this plan down. My bottom line: Huge turbines don’t belong anywhere near people. The neighbors’ noses – and ears – have rights, too.

Ward is publisher of The Valley Breeze.


It doesn't benefit the town, as it exposes the town to nuisance lawsuits. It is no benefit to residents who will surely suffer from flicker and the effects of low frequency noise. No benefit to the environment since the proposed site borders on a water shed area, plus wind turbines are known to slaughter birds and wildlife. There is no benefit to NS Fire and Police as turbines in Coventry are known to block emergency communications. Plus turbines catch on fire. Can the Town's Fire Department reach a 460 foot tower to put out the flames? Or rescue people from a toppled wind turbine? There are only two parties that benefit: the Pacheco family and Green Development. As stewards of the safety, health and welfare of the residents of North Smithfield please do not approve this wind turbine!

As a resident of the Cranston neighborhood impacted by the Johnston wind turbine farm, I can guarantee the nuisance to neighbors is not worth the monetary gains of 1 family and Green Energy Development. The constant sound (is there a jet plane hovering over my house for hours on end...), the sleep deprivation, the ringing in my ears, the intrusion on my once beautiful skyline, my son's constant ear popping, is enough for me to tell your zoning board to "just say no!" Please, Mrs. Pacheco, do not do this to your neighbors, do not do this to yourself. Come visit the Alpine Estates, Portsmouth and Coventry Neighborhoods. I know you would change your mind in even considering the prospect of placing one of these monstrosities on your beautiful property. There is a place for green energy, however, that place is not in your backyard.

I live 2000 feet from the Johnston 7. Since they began operating back in January I've noticed my quality of life change. Many evenings they are so loud that I cannot fall asleep. Some nights I'm woken up in the middle of the night. I wake up at least twice a week with a pressure headache. My doctor put me on medication and I'm still not able to fall asleep !!! These are not problems I ever had. Seems unfair that I have to listen to the roaring turbines since they were sited too close to my neighborhood. Industrial machines that run 24/7 do not belong 2000 feet from a residential neighborhood. They should be miles away. They emit toxins into the environment as well produce annoying noise. They are not "green" or cost effective. Let's see who is actually benefiting from them.... The land owner, the developers and all the politicians who are getting paid off to allow this!!!! We need to protect the citizens of this state from this fraud!!! It's a total money grab and innocent people are suffering!!!!!

I have been following this story for some time. I am happy to see the Valley Breeze take a commonsense approach to this ridiculous request to install the tallest structure in RI in a residential neighborhood. Opinions on wind turbine projects, throughout the country, have dramatically changed over the years. Initially, not much was known about these machines. However, states are finding the health and financial effects on their communities are real and problematic. Increased litigation is becoming the norm for towns who allow these machines in residential neighborhoods. North Smithfield recognized these issues and took the initial right step in passing a town ordinance in not allowing any new wind turbine applications a few years ago. Apparently, the Pacheco application was grandfathered prior to that ordinance and, therefore, has to be dealt with. A recently published article details the lawlessness of this developer and his company. A simple internet search will tell you the long history of this man, his company, and his business practices. The Town of North Smithfield would be wise in not doing business with this man or his company. Allowing this project will undoubtedly bring an avalanche of lawsuits to its taxpayers. More importantly, denying this wind turbine is just the commonsense right thing to do. It simply does not belong anywhere near residential homes.

Thank you to Mr. Ward for publishing this article and for voicing his opposition to the proposed turbine on Old Smithfield Road. I have spent countless hours researching wind turbines/farms. I have yet to uncover a single benefit. The only information I uncover is negative. Fires, shadow flicker, extreme noise. I have connected with people all across the country whose lives have been taken away from them due to turbines being erected near their homes.
A few days ago as I was driving into Providence, I took note of the Superman building and how it literally towers over all other buildings downtown. The proposed turbine will be TALLER than that and will be seen from very far away. If you live anywhere within several miles of this turbine it WILL effect YOU. The turbine that Ruth Pacheco and WED is proposing will be as close at 980 feet to the neighboring homes. So, instead of being outside enjoying the peace and quiet, people will be forced to have to listen to the constant roaring of the jet engine like noise and the flickering
I urge you to take a drive down Old Smithfield Road. Take note of the beautiful and historic stone walls all along the street. Most families that live on the street have lived there for generations. Try to imagine how they will get the base and the propellers down that road without disrupting the historic elements.
I truly hope this gets rejected by the zoning board.

I think that this article, previous articles, and reader comments lead to a very simple statement regarding the proposed wind turbine. That being, the proposed turbine benefits NO ONE other than Mrs. Pacheco and Green Development. Period. It would be ludicrous for this proposal to ever come to fruition at the expense of the surrounding neighbors, and the town itself. For ONE resident. ONE. When narrowed down to this, there is no other the decision the Zoning Board can make than to deny the proposal.

I am very much against this on Old Smithfield Road . This is not an area where this should be constructed. The noise and the flickers will change the lives of the people who have purchased there homes to live in a quiet peaceful neighborhood. Mr. Ward state the fact that Mrs. Pacheco is one one person and we are many who will be effected by this turbine. She and her family are the only ones who will benefit from this. The neighborhood will not . Money is the only thing that concerns the Pacheco . The zoning board should reject this on so many levels.