2010-03-04 / Front Page

Wineberg resigns in protest

By Iain Wilson

Jamestown’s Zoning Board of Review entertained a full docket during its meeting at Town Hall last Tuesday, passing five requests for variances and specialuse permits. But the evening’s biggest surprise occurred toward the meeting’s end, after many community members had left.

In a brief announcement to members of the board, Vice Chair Don Wineberg announced that he will resign his position – a move that he said was directly inspired by the Town Council’s decision not to apply for stimulus funding for the controversial wind turbines that have been proposed for the island.

Wineberg’s resignation came as a surprise to members of the board, who urged him to reconsider his decision.

In an e-mail to the Press, Wineberg wrote, “I will indeed be resigning from all town positions I hold in protest over the votes of councilmen Bowen, Schnack and Murphy not to even apply for stimulus funding for a Ft. Getty turbine.”

He further wrote that the decision will result in a multi-million dollar tax increase on Jamestown’s residents, who won’t have the opportunity to vote on the issue.

“I cannot serve a council majority that I feel exercises such terrible judgment,” he added.

Prior to Wineberg’s announcement, the board sat through several presentations by applicants.

The board heard first from a representative for Arthur Paul Petrosinelli, who wants to construct a single-family home on the plot at 32 Coulter St. He has owned the land since July, 2009, but the existing home on the land had burned down. After finding that the proposed dwelling preserved the character of the area and was actually smaller than the original house, the board voted unanimously to approve the project.

Jason and Patrick Vieira presented their proposal to add to their business, Balance Sport and Fitness, at 16 Douglas St. – a plan that was conditionally approved last week by the Planning Commission. The board asked only background information of the applicants.

“The building pre-exists, it’s just a matter of a use change,” said Chair Thomas Ginnerty, adding that extensive debate was unnecessary. The project was unanimously approved by the board.

Applicants Terry Allen and Michael Lanza sought a variance to construct a 16-foot by 40-foot residence on East Shore Road, and several architects and engineers presented their proposal to the board. There was some confusion over a deed restriction dating back to the plot’s original deed from the late 19th century, limiting where a residence can be built.

Two neighbors spoke primarily in support of the project, but noted that they were leery of the close proximity of the proposed well to their own. If, for instance, work needed to be done on their pre-existing well, it may prove difficult with the new proposed well.

The board noted that though this is a common problem among residents, the issue is beyond its legislative power. The lot that Allen and Lanza are looking to build on is an unmerged single non-conforming lot, which can be used for a single-family dwelling. A unanimous vote approved the proposal.

Attorney John Murphy then spoke to the board on behalf of the Girard family, who sought a special-use permit regarding the high groundwater table and impervious layer overlay district. The Girards want to demolish and reconstruct their residence at 7 Bark Ave. All aspects of the plan were approved by the Planning Commission, which agreed that the project will improve storm water management and, thus, the surrounding environment. A unanimous vote also approved this project.

In the meeting’s final proposal, attorney Peter Brockmann presented on behalf of Robert Rodio, who sought a special-use permit to develop a single -family home on a vacant lot on Frigate Street. Another unanimous vote approved this project.

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