2007-10-04 / Front Page

Town may urge CRMC to approve Beaverneck plan

By Tom Shevlin

The owners of a parcel of land on Beavertail Road have been cited by the state Coastal Resource Management Commission (CRMC) for violating the state's coastal management regulations.

The Procaccianti Group, a Cranston-based real estate development firm, who own Plat 12, Lot 41, commonly known as Beaverneck Farm, had violated state regulations when they clear cut vegetation within 200 feet of the coastal buffer zone.

However, according to Town Administrator Bruce Keiser, the Proccaciantis have indicated they are planning to use the property for agricultural purposes. Due to its intended use and the current state of re-vegetation of the area in question, Keiser asked that the council send a letter to CRMC officials in support of the landowners.

The move would signal a departure for the council, which had unanimously passed a resolution on Nov. 13, 2006 expressing the town's concerns over what it then called a "blatant coastal buffer zone violation" by the property owners.

Councilwoman Barbara Szepatowski, an environmental engineer, expressed her reservations over further council action, noting that town officials should consider examining whether the property owners have faced any other environmental violations in the past.

Groundwater testing

devices not needed

Plans to install groundwatermonitoring devices in the Jamestown Shores will have to proceed without the cooperation of the Department of Environmental Management (DEM). According to Keiser, plans to deploy devices to monitor the quality of groundwater in the shores area, while interesting from a scientific perspective, would not impact the DEM's ISDS zoning process. However, the plan, which had been explored as a joint venture between the town, DEM, and URI, is not dead.

Keiser said discussions are still on-going between the town and university officials to determine the best course for future development of the Shores area.

Groundwater quality, which has been a persistent concern for Jamestown Shores residents who rely on septic systems because they are not connected into the town's sewer system, has been a virtual unknown for town officials and residents.

The monitoring would help fill in a gap in the town's groundwater database.

Because the devices were still available to the town at no cost, Council Vice President Julio Di- Giando suggested that the town independently move forward with groundwater monitoring.

"It can't hurt to have more information," DiGiando said.

Also in relation to the Shores, Keiser gave an update at the Sept. 22 meeting on the town's tax sale lot acquisition efforts. He reported that the town currently has eighteen tax sale lots either pending review or complete.

Jamestown community block grants leave council wanting more

Jamestown was the recipient of $33,650 from the Rhode Island Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program, it was announced last week.

The amount, which represents an increase from last year's $31,500 in grant money, left town councilors underwhelmed.

In a letter to Town Councilors, Governor Donald Carcieri wrote "priority, this year, has been given to activities designed to improve or increase the supply of housing available to low and moderate income families."

Funding included $20,000 for housing operations, $5,000 for East Bay Community Action Health/ Dental, $2,000 for the Women's Resource Center, and $ 2,000 for Community Housing Land Trust, $2,000 for a community housing information program, and $2,000 for the Community Housing Resources Board. Another $600 was allocated for administration purposes.

Town Administrator Keiser said that he was disappointed with the amount, and suggested Jamestown suffered from the perception it had less need than other communities, due in large part to its affluence.

Councilman William Kelly suggested that the town write a letter to the Governor stating, "Thanks, but it's not enough."

Kelly acknowledged that Jamestown may not be perceived as needy, however noted that the town has a record of efficiently using funds it is granted. "I think we can prove that if we get this money, we'd be more productive," Kelly said.

Council President David Long expressed his concern with asking for more money and conceded that Jamestown was in better financial shape than other communities in the state.

Councilwoman Barbara Szepatowski also urged a tactful approach and suggested the town compare its grant with those given to towns such as East Greenwich, Barrington, and Bristol.

According to the Governor's office, $5.172 million was awarded this year to 32 Rhode Island communities. A complete list of CDBG projects by community can be found online at www.governor. ri.gov.

Jamestown has received funding each year under the CDBG programs since 1987.

Open Forum

In the Sept. 22 open forum, State Representative Bruce Long (R - Jamestown, Middletown) updated the council on several issues affecting Jamestown including the state's on-going battle over the construction of an LNG terminal in Narragansett Bay.

Long, who has been a vocal opponent of LNG in Narragansett Bay, reported to councilors that he had sent a letter to National Grid President Mike Ryan urging the power giant to cease its pursuit of using its newly acquired KeySpan property to establish a Liquified Natural Gas terminal in Providence.

Long also noted that he expects the General Assembly to be called into special session sometime in October to address several of the Governor's vetoes.

Also in the open session, Valerie Malloy of Columbia Avenue expressed her concern over involving the town in the dispute between the CRMC and the Procacciantis.

In other business:

•The town extended thanks to the Dutra and Neale families for their cooperation in the purchase of development rights to their family farms at last week's Special Financial Town Meeting.

• Approved a resolution authorizing the issuance of bonds and notes for acquisition of real estate as passed at the Sept. 18 special Financial Town Meeting

• Approved a resolution authorizing the acquisition of real estate and contracts grants as passed at the Sept. 18 special Financial Town Meeting

• Awarded a bid for teen center electrical improvements to Jack's Electric, Inc. for an amount not to exceed $7,210.

• Tabled the appointment of Russell C. Benjamin to the town's Housing Authority until an interview could be conducted.

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