Zoning changes unfair Too many traffic stops
My wife and I own a potential building of value currently targeted with 67 new rules or regulations that go even further beyond the current extensive list of form-based regulations pushed through during the last zoning changes.
I participated in that process and expressed my opposition to how the views of townspeople were converted into an endorsement of a transect zoning code based on New Urbanism. I found it paradoxical that maintaining the rural nature of Jamestown involved zoning ideas based on the imposition of an urban form. Now the planning board is trying to use the vague consensus of maintaining the rural nature of the town to apply detailed architectural zoning control over individual buildings.
This is fundamentally flawed. While there is some precedence for controlling certain historical sections of towns based on architecture, the new changes target individual buildings spread over a large area. The flaw is that these buildings could be sitting right next to ones that do not have the same restrictions. While most building owners get to maximize the usage of their property within existing zoning laws, owners of buildings of value will be forced to submit to town officials for every last little change.
We bought our Narragansett Avenue house more than 30 years ago specifically for its development potential in the commercial district. However, since the facade is residential, the new rules would severely limit any change towards a more public commercial use, even though the house sits right next to an imposing three-story commercialcondo building with no setback. Onerous requirements on a few houses are unfair and will not solve overall viewscape and developmental issues.
During the planning board meeting last week, owners of buildings of value were chided by the board for not paying attention, and chided for not waiting for them to finish the regulations and final list of buildings of value. By then, of course, it would be fait accompli, with assumptions and philosophy never open for discussion. At this point, the planning board cannot define an objective criteria for selecting buildings of value.
I ask for a moratorium on zoning changes until the planning board very carefully listens to what townspeople want. That was not done during the charrette. The board cannot use a vague call for maintaining rural character to justify whatever it wants to do. It needs to accurately define the problems and tackle them directly, preferably with a supportive, not punitive approach.
I have lived in Jamestown my entire life, and I can honestly say that I avoid driving in Jamestown as much as possible for fear of the police. I recently got a ticket; the officer said I ran a stop sign. I am certain that I did not. However, he is the respected “public servant” so he must be right. He said he has it on video. Why is he videotaping me? We don’t live in inner city Chicago.
The officer that gave me the ticket, I believe, was the same officer that stopped me three times in one week in March 2012. On one of the stops I had two little boys buckled in the back seat. He said he stopped me because he saw them “bouncing around” in the back seat. I can tell you, unequivocally, that this could not have been true. I believe I was stopped because it was St. Patrick’s Day (one of two times he stopped me that day) and they were stopping as many people as possible to find intoxicated drivers. I had not had a drink all day, so both times he stopped me were a bust for him.
I filed a complaint with the police department because whether he was intentionally targeting me or it was merely a coincidence, it is really ridiculous. I am not a reckless driver. I don’t care what the statistics say, Jamestown has changed dramatically. I do not enjoy driving in Jamestown for fear that I will be stopped for nothing. I do not feel protected. I feel stalked. I would not recommend moving here if anyone ever asks me for this reason.
I would also like to mention that my husband was in an accident in Jamestown last summer. He was seriously hurt, so he was taken away in the ambulance. He was later cited for being uninsured and it was printed in the Press. He never was, and never has been, uninsured. They never asked him to see proof of insurance. He had to go to the courthouse in Providence to clear it up. We have no clue why they would randomly cite him for this. Maybe they felt that just being injured and totaling his car were not inconvenient enough.