2010-10-14 / Front Page

Town survey reveals surprising results

By Sam Bari

The 2010 Jamestown Community Survey revealed surprising statistics on everything from the importance of ocean views to the inadequacy of town boating facilities. The Jamestown Planning Commission reviewed the 65-question survey during its regular meeting on Oct. 6.

Of the 514 people who responded to the question, 363 – 70.6% – felt strongly that maintaining the island’s rural character was the overriding goal of the Jamestown Comprehensive Plan.

However, 404 of 514 people who answered the question – 78.6% – felt strongly that scenic views to the Bay were more important. And 439 of 519 who answered the question – 84.6% – felt that the town should take a proactive stance on maintaining historic scenic views of the Bay.

Only 331 out of 520 who answered a question on boating facilities – 63.7% – felt that Jamestown had adequate facilities for boating. One hundred and one of the 520 who answered – 19.4% – felt that the town was lacking in that area.

Just about 85% wanted more boat ramps, 70% wanted more landside facilities and 40% wanted boating instruction.

On a question about recreational fishing access, 287 of 519 who answered – 58.3% – felt that the town had adequate recreational fishing access. Twenty percent – 104 respondents – disagreed.

On a question about the preservation goals of the plan, 51.6% – or, 288 of 519 surveyed – strongly agreed that the goal of the 2004 Comprehensive Community Plan was to protect and preserve all signifi cant historical and cultural resources, while 63.1% – or, 326 of 517 who answered the question – strongly agreed that the most important goal was to protect the rural and historical character of Jamestown.

Town Planner Lisa Bryer also reported:

• The Town Council will discuss the charette process and timetable at its next meeting.

• The Safe Routes to School program received $200,000 from the Dept. of Transportation and Statewide Planning for a total of $450,000.

• The Community Development Block Grant received $95,000 from the state Housing and Urban Development. Of those funds, $60,000 is earmarked for senior housing improvements.

• The town application to CDBG for $75,000 for Church Community Housing Corporation to build three affordable housing units at 13 Swinburne St. was denied. Bryer said that the state might entertain funding next year, if funds are available now that the town has all of the required permits to build.

The majority of the meeting was spent reviewing the natural and cultural resources section of the Comprehensive Community Plan.

Language was added to the “flood hazard areas” section, which explained the necessity for the town to agree to abide by the National Flood Insurance Program minimum requirements for floodplain management.

If the town does not agree, local residents will not be eligible to receive flood insurance. The requirements include the adoption of a floodplain management ordinance or bylaw, if the community is interested in participating in the program.

In 2010, Jamestown adopted a “community flood plain ordinance for special flood hazard areas” as part of the Zoning Ordinance.

The added section further explained that Jamestown participates in the NFIP by an agreement with the federal government. Through the NFIP, the Federal Emergency Management Agency provides maps of hazardous areas and provides federally backed flood insurance. In return, communities agree to enact and enforce floodplain regulations intended to minimize threats to life and property. All 39 communities in Rhode Island participate in the NFIP.

New language was also added to the ground water quality subsection of the “water quality standards” section. The additional verbiage explained the town’s proactive accomplishments in implementing the recommendations of the groundwater quality study, as well as numerous other management strategies for protection of groundwater in the Jamestown Shores area.

The town has developed a Wastewater Management Plan, along with a Wastewater Management Ordinance that mandates inspection and maintenance of all onsite wastewater treatment systems – formerly known as ISDS.

In addition to protecting existing and future development from water quality issues, the town developed a High Groundwater and Impervious Layer Overlay District with associated development regulations for the Jamestown Shores and the Conanicut Park area in the North End.

The review of the Comprehensive Community Plan is an ongoing project as the plan develops. Upon completion, the Plan will be made available through hearings to Jamestown residents before it is finalized and approved.

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