Final council meeting for Long, likely Schnack
Business went on as usual at this week's council session as Town Council President David Long presided over his final meeting.
"Last one?" an audience member asked before the meeting began. Long replied with a nod and a smile.
Long was typically businessoriented through the course of what was a diverse council agenda. At the conclusion of the meeting, the outgoing council president took a few moments to reflect on his time on the council.
"After 8 1/2 years, it's been a pleasure and a privilege," Long said. "A lot of good things have been accomplished." One of those things, he said, was the council's decision to hire Town Administrator Bruce Keiser.
Keiser replied in kind. Speaking on behalf of the town staff, Keiser said that he would "miss Council President Long and also Councilor Schnack." Schnack, who narrowly lost reelection in last week's elections, also sat in on his final council meeting provided that a recount set for today cannot vault him into the fifth council spot. Schnack, the only incumbent up for reelection not set to return for another term, received a boisterous round of applause and cheers for his service on the council.
Long, who chose not to seek a fifth term on the council, concluded the public portion of his final meeting to a standing ovation.
Community groups pitch in
for Town Hall improvements
Town Hall is set to receive an artist's touch, and a gardener's.
In his regular report to the town council, Town Administrator Bruce Keiser said that he had been in discussions with the Conanicut Island Arts Association (CIAA) and Quononoquott Garden Club over their respective offers to assist in the creation of an island art installation and help in landscaping of the new town hall.
Keiser said that the CIAA has committed to purchasing a picture rail for the display of public art in town hall. According to Keiser, the plan represents "a great opportunity to introduce island residents to local artists."
Meanwhile, while acknowledging that he doesn't "have the greenest thumb," Keiser said that he was working with the garden club to enhance the landscaping at the new town hall.
In the open forum, Conservation Commission Chairman Chris Powell presented councilors with copies of a new trail guide. Powell said that the guides, which will be available at several locations around town at a cost of $1, were made possible, thanks to a grant from the Department of Environmental Management (DEM).
Jennifer and David Clancy, owners of the glass blowing studio on North Road, asked councilors to resolve a prolonged dispute over their desire to engage in retail activity at their workshop.
Flanked by several dozen supporters who turned out to show their support for the artists, Mrs. Clancy urged councilors to approve an Oct. 23 Planning Commission resolution which granted Mr. and Mrs. Clancy a special variance to operate a retail business with limited hours and selling season.
According to the Planning Commission resolution, Mr. and Mrs. Clancy would be permitted to sell their wares from their North Road location from June to December with operating hours limited to Thursday - Sunday between the hours of 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Council President David Long commented that because the matter had been the subject of discussion in executive session, he was limited in what he could say, however expressed that the council was "very determined" to resolve the situation.
In other business
Town Administrator Bruce Keiser reported that the town will be issuing a request for proposals (RFP) on the cleaning contract for the town's offices. Keiser said that in addition to pursuing the RFP, the town would also examine the possibility of using town staff to fill a custodial role.
Keiser also reported that the town was in the process of disposing of its surplus property in the former town offices.
Councilwoman Barbara Szepatowski asked Keiser to look into the absence of proper striping in front of a fire hydrant on Narragansett Avenue where cars have reportedly been parking for several months.
Councilors unanimously approved a resolution authorizing Council President David Long to enter into purchase and sale agreements for the purchase of development rights for the Dutra and Neale farms as approved at this fall's special town meeting on the town's Farmland Buyback Program.
Councilors also unanimously approved the liquor licenses of the following island businesses: CLASS A (PACKAGE STORE): Grapes and Gourmet Inc, dba Grapes and Gourmet, Varsha, Inc., dba Jamestown Wine and Spirits, CLASS B (TAVERN): Long Wharf Marina Restaurant, Inc., dba The Bay Voyage, CLASS B (VICTUALER): Alexander Enterprises, dba Narragansett Cafe, Islandish, Ltd, dba Chopmist Charlies, Jamestown Oyster Bar, Inc., dba Jamestown Oyster Bar, New England Golf Course Management, Inc., dba Jamestown Golf and Country Club aka: The Caddy Shack, Portuguese American Citizen's Club, dba Portuguese American Citizen's Club, Slice of Heave, Inc., dba Slice of Heaven, SeaDish Ltd, dba Tricia's Tropigrille, Trattoria Simpatico, Inc., dba Trattoria Simpatico, CLASS D (CLUB): Conancicut Yacht Club.
Council members also approved a license for Special Olympics RI to conduct a "Penguin Plunge" at Mackerel Cove on Jan. 1, 2008.