Long warns against container port revival
"It's back." That's the word from State Representative Bruce Long (R - Jamestown, Middletown), who reported at Monday's town council meeting that efforts to construct a container port at Quonset Point have recently been resurrected by the leadership in the General Assembly.
Long, who has been a venerable and vocal opponent of efforts to build a container port at Quonset, referenced comments made recently in the media by House Speaker William Murphy (D - West Warwick, Coventry).
In other matters, Long said that he was pleased to learn of National Grid's recent decision to abandon plans to develop a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Providence. However, Long, who was among several elected officials to express written opposition to a Providence LNG terminal, urged continued vigilance against transporting LNG through Narragansett Bay as Weavers Cove Energy continues to press their bid to construct an LNG terminal in Fall River.
Town holds off on
Town Councilors have deferred voicing their support involving a dispute between the owners of a property on Beavertail Road and the Coastal Resources Management Commission (CRMC).
The Procaccianti Group, a Cranston-based real estate development firm, who own Plot 12, Lot 41, had violated state regulations when they clear cut vegetation within 200 feet of the coastal buffer zone.
Town officials had considered sending a letter of support on behalf of the Procacciantis due to their stated intent to use the land for agricultural purposes, however, deferred further action at Monday's council meeting since the matter was still under review by CRMC. According to Town Administrator Bruce Keiser, though a vegetation-restoration plan had been submitted to CRMC officials by the property owners, the matter remained unresolved.
Accordingly, Keiser advised that the town wait until the CRMC dispute is resolved before taking any further action.
Highway barn update
Keiser reported receiving several responses from the town's Request for Qualifications for engineering work on the proposed facility.
Keiser also said that he had met with Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority (RITBA) Executive Director Earl "Buddy" Croft with sample materials and received a "very positive response." RITBA, which had yet to formally approve the sale agreement for a piece of property on Upper Taylor Point critical to the town's highway barn plan, was scheduled to take the matter up at its October meeting.
Former town office
space to be rethought
Bruce Keiser reported on Monday that the town was preparing to resume recreation classes at the town-owned Jamestown Country Club facilities, which had served as the temporary town hall.
However, that use would likely not last long. According to Keiser, the town has received several inquiries from local business owners about the possibility of converting the space into offices or even a restaurant facility. According to Keiser, the town could issue a Request for Proposals in several months.
Town Sealer of Weights and
Measures steps down
After fifteen years of service, Jamestown Sealer James McLoughlin is stepping down from his post. McLoughlin, who as Sealer had been responsible for maintaining the integrity of the town's measuring mechanisms such as gas pumps and grocery store and pharmacy scales, notified town officials of his resignation earlier this month.
According to Rhode Island law, each town is required to appoint a state-certified Sealer in order to conduct yearly tests of island measuring devices. McLoughlin was appointed to his post in 1991. Though no Jamestown residents are currently certified by the state, the town has expressed a desire to appoint an island resident in future months in order to fill the post.
After a review by town officials, the town administrator reported that the Harbor Commission budget is intended to be determined in the general town budget and is therefore subject to council approval.
Keiser also reported on the outcome of the town's Harbor Commission Town Council work session.
Dutch Harbor Boat
Yard lease update
Keiser reported that the town had been in receipt of an additional payment from the owners of the Dutch Harbor Boat Yard, as well as a proposal to complete payment of the remaining balance on what had been a $27,009 debt owed to the town in lease payments and other costs.
While the receipt of payment was welcomed, Keiser recommended that the town "take an in-depth review of the situation" in order to determine the best future course for management of the town-owned West Ferry property.
Progress on Jamestown Shores
tax lot sales Titles to 24 parcels in the Jamestown Shores have either been acquired or petitioned for in Newport Superior Court, according to a report submitted to town councilors by Keiser.
The number represents approximately 25 percent of the total lots eligible for tax sale.
Keiser reported that the town was "making good headway" thanks to the work of former Town Solicitor Larry Parks, who had been retained specifically for expediting the town's acquisition process.
The process, aimed at taking possession of dozens of tax sale lots on the island's north end for the purpose of open space preservation, began earlier this year and is expected to take several more months to complete.
In other business
• A robust crowd turned out for the first meeting of the town council at the new town hall Monday. Those in attendance were greeted with hot cider and refreshments and an ebullient Council President David Long. "What do you think?" Long asked. The crowd, which totaled approximately 65, responded with applause.
• Councilors approved union contracts for IBPO and NAGE #69.
• Approved a motion to set Alcohol Beverage License limits for 2007-2008.
• Town Administrator Bruce Keiser reported that plans for a joint school committee-town council budget workshop would be finalized soon. A date of Oct. 29 had been proposed.
• Also in the works is an open house for the new Town Hall.