2009-09-03 / News

Zoning amendment will allow ‘green roof’

By Tyler Will

The Jamestown Zoning Board of Review, during its meeting last week, approved an amendment to an existing permit that was rejected earlier by the Planning Commission because the commission said it changed downtown’s character.

Victor Bell of Environmental Packaging International applied for the amendment for a future property at 41 Narragansett Ave., which will now allow him to build a second segment of “green roof,” a unique roof that is made with a waterproof layer and several inches of soil, which insulate the building. Owners of a green roof can grow plants on it, according to Shahin Barzin, the building’s architect.

While rain or melting snow could change the consistency of the soil, Bell has a two-year maintenance contract with the firm building the roof. After that, the roof will maintain itself, Barzin said.

The green roof emits less heat than a conventional roof – a small step in the fight against global warming, he added.

The Planning Commission rejected the proposed amendment because several commissioners said the green roof, which is flat, would alter the character of downtown Jamestown and did not align with the town’s future plan.

Bell, Barzin and attorney Mark Liberati offered evidence to the contrary.

“This is not the type of roof that will look like the Bank of America roof,” Liberati said.

Bell’s initial proposal included one segment of green roof at the back of the building; this amendment was to add a second segment of green roof. Neither of the two green-roof segments will be visible from the street, Liberati said, adding that the roof at the front of the building is a traditional pitched roof.

The change in design will enhance the building, while maintaining the “immaculate language” of the island, Barzin said.

The board asked Town Solicitor Peter Ruggiero about town regulations regarding flat roofs. He responded that the guideline does not take all flat roofs into account.

“I think the flat roof they are envisioning did not quite take into account what this proposal is,” Ruggiero said.

The zoning board also granted two special-use permits during the meeting.

George O’Toole spoke on behalf of his friend, George Dolos, who applied to change 23 Narragansett Ave. from commercial to residential designation. Dolos could not make it to the meeting, O’Toole said.

O’Toole said the fire alarms and water systems are up to date, and Ruggiero said the Planning Commission, Sewer and Water Committee, and Jamestown Deputy Fire Marshal had approved the change.

Valerie Tessier also applied to raze a current single family home and build a new one at 529 Seaside Dr., which she already owns. She was represented by her attorney, Mark Liberati, and said that she and her husband currently live in Jamestown seasonally, but want to live in town full time.

“It is an adorable cottage, but it is a cottage…we need a little bit more room,” Tessier said.

When the proposal went before the Planning Commission, the commission realized the house violated the town’s height restrictions, and it had to comply, Liberati said. The original architect was dismissed and a new one, Spencer McCombe, was hired, he added.

To make the structure comply, McCombe altered the plan to shorten the building, which brought the roof down, McCombe said after the meeting.

The design includes a septic system, which its engineer Greg Sousa said will not pose a hazard to anyone because of its proximity to neighboring wells and the ocean.

In the event of a power loss, the house’s drainage system will automatically start working again when power resumes, Sousa said.

The board required that Tessier get an ultraviolet unit to help reduce bacterial concentration in the septic system.

An appeal of a decision by the building official, which was continued for several months by applicant Janice Ryng-Dutton, was withdrawn. The board received a letter requesting a withdrawal. The letter, given to the Press, did not cite a reason for the withdrawal.

“I hereby withdraw the above referenced appeal from the decision of the Building Official and the above referenced petition for variance with respect to Lot 246,” the letter said.

Return to top