2006-10-05 / News

Narragansett Ave. center opposed

By Sam Bari

The application for a specialuse permit filed by property owners Irene and Goerge Dolos and the town recreation department for a proposed teen center at 23 Narragansett Ave. met strong opposition at the Sept. 26 Zoning Board of Review meeting.

Town Councilwoman Barbara Szepatowski spoke in favor of her former second-story office as a meeting place for teens. She said that the facility offered the necessary elements that teens needed, like a full working kitchen, an office for Teen Co-ordinator Melissa Minto, and several rooms that could be used for computers, studying, and limited activities.

Fire Marshall Art Christman spoke in favor of the office "for no more than 20 people at a time," he emphasized. However, after hearing further testimony from opposing parties, Christman said, "I'm going to have to bring in the state on this one. I don't want to be responsible for approving anything without their input."

Jamestown attorney John Murphy, representing a neighboring resident said that the property already had one special-use permit in force for the House of Pizza, which is below the secondstory office suite proposed for a teen center. He said that a town ordinance restricts non-conforming use to one permit per property. Town Solicitor J. William W. Harsch suggested that the town ordinance could be interpreted to apply to each unit on the property separately. Zoning board member and attorney Richard Boren agreed with Murphy. Harsch suggested that the item be given a continuance so the ordinance could be reviewed.

Zoning official and building inspector Fred Brown questioned the safety of the second-story facility. "It has a back secondstory entrance with wooden stairs. There's a pizza restaurant directly below it with an oven that could potentially catch fire. The office does not have a sprinkler system. It's a firetrap. I wouldn't want my kids to go there," he said.

Two abutting neighbors opposed the facility, citing limited parking, a dangerous entryway, difficulty to supervise, and next door to a bar and restaurant serving alcohol as their reasons for not wanting the center at the proposed Narragansett Avenue location.

Other residents opposing the application questioned the proposed $1,500 monthly rent when the facility could only be used by 20 teens at a time. This meant that a different facility would be needed for larger gatherings, which would incur further expense, they said.

The board voted unanimously for a continuance. However, the matter will not see another meeting because the application was withdrawn on Sept. 28. It was not made clear who withdrew the application.

In an unrelated matter, the board voted unanimously to approve the application from the Jamestown Parks and Recreation Department for a special-use permit on behalf of property owners James A. Thompson and Pamela A. Storey to allow the use of an 850-squarefoot office area at 32 Pemberton Avenue for exercise and dance lesson classes.

After reviewing an opinion from town-hired environmental scientist Justin Jobin concerning a property on Seaside Drive owned by Brian and Darien Petit, the board voted unanimously to approve the application.

A lengthy discussion between Cranston engineer John Caito and Board Chairman Thomas Ginnerty resulted in the board voting unanimously to approve a special-use permit for a Garboard Street residence owned by Jamestown attorney James Donnelly.

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