2008-05-15 / News

Dutch Island Boat Yard up for auction

By Sam Bari

Town Administrator Bruce Keiser announced the June 4 public auction of the Dutch Harbor Boat Yard at Monday's Town Council meeting. Keiser said the company that has been operating the West Ferry boatyard had gone into receivership, although he did not have all the details. He said he would look into the matter and asked that the issue be on the May 27 Town Council meeting agenda.

Keiser suggested that whoever purchased the property could not take over without council approval. "They'll have to go before the council before any papers can be transferred," Keiser said. "I think we should discuss our position and how we want to be involved with the new owners."

Councilman Robert Sutton suggested looking at the town-owned land at Dutch Harbor and consider its use. "Maybe we could use it for something else that would be more beneficial to the town," Sutton said. "I think we should look into the possibilities."

In his Town Administrator's report, Keiser said that the archeological investigation at 44 Southwest Ave., conducted by Church Community Housing, "uncovered numerous artifacts and features of Native American activities at the site." A full report of the findings and the implications for site development will be forthcoming shortly, he added.

"Preliminary results indicate that the presence of the features will limit development of the parcel and may confine any re-use to the footprint of the Town Offices structure," Keiser said.

At least 40 significant archeological discoveries had been made, making the property questionable for additional development. "Church needs to make a decision of whether they are going to proceed," Keiser said. "Their decision hinges on archeological findings, which will be decided in the next few days."

In an unrelated matter, the town administrator said that bids for the revised highway barn project specifications will be opened on Thursday, May 15 in the Town Hall conference room.

Legislative matters

Representative Bruce Long (R. - Jamestown, Middletown) highlighted several bills of interest at Monday's council meeting.

• The General Assembly overrode the Governor's veto of 24- hour weekend gambling at Rhode Island's two gambling parlors, Twin River in Lincoln and Newport Grand in Newport. Long, who previously voted against the expanded hours, voted to sustain the Governor's veto.

• Legislation that will exempt private land trusts from the adverse possession law has passed the House of Representatives. H- 7082, co-sponsored by Long, will protect the Conanicut Island Land Trust from an unscrupulous and deceptive land taking technique called adverse possession. This takes place when a neighbor uses, cares for, and acts in every way as if the adjacent property belongs to them. After 10 years, the courts under certain circumstances may grant ownership to the user of the property, taking the land away from the rightful, legal owner.

This year, the approach is to relieve the private land trusts from this onerous law. Municipal Land Trusts are already exempt.

• A criminal expungement bill, H-7583, has passed the House Judiciary Committee, where Long is a member. The bill automatically removes criminal violations from an individual's record after five years. The matter is scheduled to be taken up by the full House this week. Long voted against the bill.

• The peanut butter/tree nut allergy legislation passed last year is substantially revised by a new bill, (H-7463 Sub A). The current law prohibits the sale of peanut butter and other nut products in all schools. It requires nut free classrooms and lunch tables. The new bill provides that each school devise individualized plans to accommodate identified students with nut allergies. Long voted for the revised bill.

Licenses and permits

The Town Council voted unanimously to approve one-day license applications for the Conanicut Island Art Association, the American Legion Post 22, St. Matthew's Church, and the Jamestown Medical Fund.

Public hearing

The proposed amendment to the code of ordinances advertised in the May 1 Jamestown Press making a loading zone on Coronado Street, and parking changes on Union Street and Walcott Avenue was passed unanimously by the council.

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