A letter to the editor from Exeter resident Francis P. DiGregorio.
The North Kingstown Town Council recently
submitted its proposed “Rural Gateway” amendment to the Comprehensive Plan,
Future Land Use Map, and Water Service Area Map at the western intersection of
Routes 102 and 2 to State Wide Planning (SWP). These proposed amendments along
with its companion zoning amendment creating a Compact Village Development
result in increased residential density and commercial development. These amendments opposed by the citizens of North Kingstown and the Town of Exeter constitute
a reversal of intentions in preserving the rural/agricultural character of this
The Exeter Town Council has unanimously supported its Planning Board in communicating its strong objection to these amendments to SWP. Both North Kingstown and Exeter had previously initiated and invested in the preservation of this unique location. Realizing that a strong political will is essential for good planning concepts to take rootm the Town of Exeter remains committed to that concept while the Town of North Kingstown has abandoned it. The preservation of this intersection and area initially had that strong political will vested in each Town Council and supported by its respective Planning Boards. While the Exeter Town Council exerts its political will and continues to support the preservation of this unique location, the North Kingstown Town Council has abandoned its commitment and returned to the short-sighted planning decisions for the short term financial profitability of the chosen few. Good planning demands a steadfast political will, and while the Exeter Town Council embraces this philosophy it is obvious that the North Kingstown Town Council does not!
Additionally, it is a sad testament to the mores of our society that the same Exeter Town Council that has demonstrated the wisdom and courageous leadership in protecting and preserving the town’s rural/agricultural character is now under siege via an unjustified recall petition. This is a Town Council that has served and implemented the will of the majority of its citizens honorably and with great wisdom. Yet it finds itself, as duly elected officials, threatened with an unjustified recall by a less than honest, single-issue, crudely vocal and self-serving minority. If the recall is successful, the question becomes who will be the new Exeter Town Council members and what will be their positions relative to the fate at this critical and unique intersection? As a member of the Exeter Planning Board I am familiar with some of the replacement Town Council members and I am not optimistic as to their support in this matter.
It is ironic that the Exeter Town Council is under siege for supporting the will of its citizens while in North Kingstown their Town Council continues, almost unhindered, to supplant the will of its citizens to preserve the rural/agricultural of this location while imposing its own questionable agenda.
Great things can happen when a strong political will exists and flourishes. There is no better example than the renaissance of Providence where William D. Warner, FAIA, together with the planners and political leaders with the will, vision and courage paved the way for the rebirth of the capitol city. Like the leaders at that time, our current planners and political leaders must exert a strong political will to implement good planning. In Exeter we’re fortunate to have this type of leadership!