Foes of Rhode Island solar project lose legal battle

HOPKINTON, R.I. (AP) — Opponents of a commercial solar energy project in Rhode Island have lost a legal battle in their bid to overturn two zoning amendments to allow the construction of the project in a residential zone

The 13 plaintiffs, all Hopkinton residents, filed the complaint in January 2019, alleging the Hopkinton Town Council had violated the law because it had not followed several required procedures in granting the zoning amendments.

The decision in favor of the town was issued late last month, according to The Sun of Westerly.

Rhode Island Superior Court Associate Justice Sarah Taft-Carter in her decision wrote she was not persuaded that the plaintiffs had presented sufficient evidence of harm.

Eric Bibler, who is not a plaintiff but founded the group Hopkinton Citizens for Responsible Planning, disagreed with the judge’s opinion.

“The judge dismissed the claims of the plaintiffs after finding that they had ‘no legal standing to sue’ — notwithstanding the fact that they are all abutters to the project and that the developer is building an industrial project in a residential neighborhood,” he wrote in an emailed statement.

Town Solicitor Kevin McAllister said the ruling was not a surprise. “I was confident that this is how the court would rule," he said.

Places in this Story