Council restricts Shores beach parking
After an orderly but heated public hearing, the Town Council Monday voted to approve part of a proposed ordinance to restrict parking at the town-owned beach on Seaside Drive in the Jamestown Shores.
The council voted 4-0, with Council President David Long absent, to approve the first section of the ordinance, which reads, "No person shall allow, permit or suffer any vehicle to stand or park within 75 feet east of the mean-high water mark in the area of the boat launch at the Jamestown Shores Beach."
The ordinance went into effect immediately.
The council as well as an obvious majority of the audience strongly opposed section 2 of the proposed ordinance, which sought to prohibit or restrict parking on specific streets.
If the council had adopted the ordinance, no parking would have been allowed from Hull Street north to Spindrift Street, with no parking on the east side from Frigate Street north for a distance of 1,000 feet, and no parking on the west side from the Shores beach driveway to the boat launching ramp north for a distance of 750 feet. But the council voted 4-0 against section 2.
Jamestown Shores Association President Charlotte Zarlengo supported the ordinance in its entirety, citing safety issues as her reasons for wanting to limit parking. Several people in attendance, some Shores residents and some not, disagreed, saying that efforts to restrict parking were discriminatory and designed to deny non-residents access to the beach.
In an unrelated matter, the council voted 4-0 to adopt an amendment to the Zoning Ordinance to make ground fill on an undeveloped property illegal. Town Solicitor J. William W. Harsch said that if anyone is seen dumping fill where a building permit is not displayed during normal business hours Monday through Friday, the town code enforcement officer should be called. If the incident happens after hours or on the weekend, the police should be notified of the incident, and a code enforcement officer will decide if the dumping is illegal, Harsch said.
The amendment also addressed an individual sewage disposal system restriction. All ISDS and any well serving a new dwelling shall be located on the same lot as the structure they serve. The amendment was adopted to prohibit use of water sources other than wells on the property and town water for new homes where water is not available.
According to Town Planner Lisa Bryer, the amendments were designed to offer more specific standards for Subdistrict A lots. Copies of the proposed amendment are available for review at town hall, 245 Conanicus Ave. Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
The council also agreed to adopt a resolution approving the mutual aid agreement between the Jamestown Police Department and the Newport Police Department. The two departments entered into the mutual aid contract for the purpose of providing reciprocal police services across jurisdictional lines. The agreement will enhance the capabilities of the two departments and provide additional protection for the citizens and property in both municipalities.
During the open forum, the only resident to speak was former councilman Nick Robertson, who pointed out the importance of moving forward on the highway barn project. "I know the barn has had tremendous opposition by some residents," Robertson said. "However, we have been wrestling with the problem for 10 years. What was a million dollar project has escalated in price to two to three million dollars, and the cost is not going to go down. I encourage you (the Town Council) to put this project in the fast lane and move forward," he said.
Robertson also noted that the highway barn project was designed to accommodate the needs of the town for the next 50 years. He pointed out that new equipment is sitting outside exposed to the weather at the taxpayers' expense. He said that he was impressed with the Town Hall project being under budget and three weeks ahead of schedule.
Robertson asked why the town could not do the same thing with the highway barn. He encouraged the council to take on the opposition and build the barn before the costs became unattainable.