2005-12-01 / News

CingularWireless granted yet another continuance

Zoning is waiting for recommendations from the planning board
By Sam Bari

Attorney Joe Giammarco represented Cingular Wireless in its request for special-use permits and variances at the Nov. 22 Zoning Board of Review meeting.

The cell phone giant is seeking to build a wireless communications facility at 179 Tashtassuc Rd.

The project would include an antenna tower rising 70 feet above the ground in the protected historical district and farmland area of North Main Road. Giammarco brought Kevin Breuer, engineer and expert witness, to explain Cingular’s position.

Board member Richard Boren noted that the board was awaiting recommendations from the Planning Commission before making a decision. Giammarco said that the planning board gave Cingular a negative recommendation.

Boren said that although the recommendation was negative, he was not willing to vote without an explanation stating why the Planning board did not approve the project.

Giammarco asked for a continuance until the information was available from the Planning Commission. The motion was unanimously approved.

Attorney John Murphy continued to represent Connie Slick in her request for an amendment to an existing special-use permit for her multi-purpose dwelling on Narragansett Avenue.

The plan was revised as requested and submitted to Town Engineer Michael Gray. Both Gray and the Planning Commission approved the revision. A gravel driveway with more than 20 feet covered in stone to keep gravel off the sidewalk and out of the street was included in the revised plans. The stone also reduced the impervious coverage and improved drainage. The board unanimously approved the application.

In new business, Zoning Board Chairman Thomas Ginnerty recused himself from deliberating or voting on STD Builders request for a special-use permit. In a letter addressed to Zoning Clerk Pat Westall, attorney Peter J. Brockmann, representing STD Builders, and owner, Steven Perry, filed an Applicant’s Request for Recusal

In the request, the applicant accused Ginnerty of making negative statements about building in the so-called Sub-District A, a Jamestown high ground water table and impervious overlay district. Ginnerty said that his statement was taken out of context. Although he did not believe it was appropriate to recuse himself, after seeking legal advice, Ginnerty thought it best to comply with the request to avoid further delay in resolving the matter. Vice-Chairman Don Wineberg oversaw the proceedings in Ginnerty’s absence from the table.

Brockmann called on Chris Duhamel, project engineer, and licensed designer of individual sewage disposal systems, to present the plans for the applicant and to answer any questions of the board concerning the 14,400square-foot double lot on Ferry Street. Perry was also present.

Board member Richard Boren noted that the board issued a negative recommendation on the application, as did the Planning Commission earlier this year. Boren’s position was that after the planning board denied the application five times, the applicant did not have legal grounds to continue pursuing the request to the zoning board.

Although the original statute did not require the Planning Commission to recommend approval, a new statute did. Jennifer Azevedo, legal council for the zoning board, said that the applicant was within his rights to present to the board. The board could send the applicant back to the Planning Commission for another decision under the new guidelines that have changed since the first application, or the board could review the application and make a decision on its own, Azevedo said. The board members decided to proceed by hearing the presentation and making the decision on their own.

In his presentation, Duhamel noted that the lot contained no freshwater wetlands. He also determined that the high groundwater table and impervious groundwater table are within acceptable limits according to codes and ordinances and that the state Department of Environmental Management had approved the ISDS.

After the presentation, the application met vehement opposition from abutting neighbors who claimed that approving the request would worsen existing problems of storm-water runoff already turning their properties into virtual lakes, even during moderate rainstorms.

Following a short discussion, the board unanimously denied the STD application.

The appeal of Frank Andres for the issuance of a building permit to Windridge Properties, LLC at 14 Clinton Ave. was given a continuance until the zoning board meeting in December.

In correspondence, Peter DiBiase’s request for an extension of a previously granted variance was unanimously granted.

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