Green Development Sues Exeter for $200 Million
March 12, 2020
In its latest legal maneuver, Green Development LLC is seeking $285 million from communities it accuses of obstructing and collaborating against its wind and solar projects.
A Washington County Superior Court filing by North Kingstown-based Green Development and its owner Mark DePasquale calls for damages from Exeter for blocking his projects through ordinances and moratoriums. He also blames the town for helping North Smithfield draft an ordinance that restricts solar projects.
The lawsuit accuses Exeter’s part-time town planner, Ashley Hahn-Sweet, of consulting with the North Smithfield Town Council to draft a solar moratorium. It accuses Exeter of “nearly schizophrenic treatment” of Green Development for approving and reversing zoning rules before passing a solar moratorium that hindered several of his projects.
“The Town’s nearly schizophrenic treatment of Green — first passing the Green Ordinance, then purporting to repeal it, then purporting to rescind the repeal, then imposing a moratorium, and then passing Solar Ordinance 9, a measure that treats the Town more favorably than Green in respect to its Applications for approval — evidences a confusion borne of hysteria and political infighting,” according to a March 11 Green Development press release.
In addition to the town planner, the lawsuit accuses the Town Council and town treasurer Maria Lawler of unlawfully enacting a moratorium and thwarting, blocking, and impairing solar projects in the community and in North Smithfield.
“It is unfortunate that it has gotten to this point, but the actions of certain officials in the town of Exeter have left us with no other options,” said Bill Fischer, spokesperson for Green Development. “To be clear, this is not our experience in most of the cities and towns in Rhode Island where Green has developed renewable energy projects. The actions of a handful of individuals have created an enormous amount of liability for the residents of Exeter.”
Fischer noted that prior to filing the lawsuit, DePasquale invited the town to mediate the dispute but the town declined.
DePasquale also filed a notification to file a lawsuit against Coventry for $85 million, presumably for previous disputes with town officials, such as them denying two ground-mounted solar projects and issuing a cease-and-desist order for unauthorized construction.
DePasquale is touting his legal team that includes Adler Pollock & Sheehan P.C., Mancini Carter P.C., and Orson and Brusini Ltd.
In late January, Green Development served legal notices to both Coventry and Exeter, outlining his intent to sue for lost revenue and expenses.
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