2013-05-09 / News

Councilors learn Fort Getty campground almost at full capacity

Remaining six spots may open to transient campers

The campground at Fort Getty is almost fully reserved for the sum­mer, Recreation Director Bill Piva told the Town Council Monday night.

“We have eight vacant spots,” he told the councilors, but added he expected to rent two spots this week, leaving only six still empty.

Piva would like to fill the vacan­cies for the whole season, if pos­sible, before opening them up for transient RVs.

“I’d prefer to advertise and see what we get,” he said.

If spots remain, he will open them to passing campers.

The campground preparations are almost ready for the season. Town Administrator Bruce Keiser said a new fence was being in­stalled this week along the road at the campground’s west perimeter.

The council also agreed on a plan to sell a Fort Getty nonresi­dent sticker for $100 for the sea­son. However, the official vote was deferred on advice from Town So­licitor Peter Ruggiero because the resolution was not printed on the May 6 agenda.

In other business, the council deferred voting on an amended parking ordinance. After resident Clayton Carlisle voiced some ob­jections to a new four-way stop at the corner of Watson and Pember­ton, Police Chief Ed Mello agreed to review the area. Mello also agreed to make minor changes to remove some inadvertently includ­ed state roads from the list of stop signs in the town ordinance. The councilors also postponed a deci­sion about resident-only parking on Hamilton Avenue.

At a separate public hearing, also Monday night, the council passed amendments to its historic preservation ordinance. There was no public comment.

In another matter, the council­ors indicated they will support adopting a new historic-district ordinance, but some controversy developed over whether the au­thority should be with the Planning Commission or with a new district panel.

Planning Commission Chairman Michael Swistak said the planning board, which has reviewed the pro­posed historic-district ordinance, has reached a consensus that the responsibility for review and ap­proval of “historic-building permit and demolition applications should reside with the Planning Commis­sion.”

However, most of the councilors indicated they are leaning toward creating a new commission, and several Shoreby Hill residents also voiced their support for a separate commission to adjudicate the rules.

Ruggiero said state law would have to be changed to allow the planning board to be the respon­sible body for the historic district. Jamestown would be the only com­munity in the state with the option of designating the Planning Com­mission to act as a district panel. He suggested sending the General Assembly a proposed amendment to the state’s general laws to allow Jamestown to exercise the option.

Council President Kristine Trocki said the amendment might be necessary even if the coun­cil opted not to allow the plan­ning board to act as the district board because the state law says the council president appoints the district commission members. Jamestown’s charter indicates the council members would have the authority. Ruggiero could not say Monday if the Town Charter and state law are in conflict but agreed to research the question.

In other news, councilors voted to donate $4,000 to the Jamestown Arts Center for a new roof.

Under new business, the coun­cilors backed a plan to ask the General Assembly to create “en­abling legislation” for a new local- preference ordinance.

Currently, Rhode Island has one ordinance, which is used state­wide. It has never been challenged, Ruggiero said.

Councilor Mary Meagher said the councilors were studying the sample preference ordinance, which Ruggiero provided, but she wanted to see “more of a prefer­ence” given to hometown busi­nesses than his model ordinance affords.

“The reality is, the locals can’t compete with outside conglomer­ates,” Ruggiero said. Nonetheless, current state law requires “certain contracts” to be awarded to the lowest qualified bidder.

Ruggiero said enabling legisla­tion would allow the town to give a job to a company that was local but not the lowest qualified bidder.

Ruggiero said the town could ask state lawmakers to create the enabling legislation. The General Assembly is still in session, he said, and there was a possibility the lawmakers could act within “a couple of months.”

Councilor Eugene Mihaly said he was skeptical the state legisla­ture would act that quickly. Rug­giero said the town could always revisit the issue if the legislation were defeated.

Finally, the councilors asked Keiser to request a facilities plan from the Fire Department, which has been discussing building a new substation.

Councilor Blake Dickinson mentioned a new facility at the north end of Jamestown to improve response time, but there are also other ideas being broached about changes at the existing fire station on Narragansett Avenue. He want­ed to see a comprehensive plan that included all the options.

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