At its last meeting, the (CVD) ordinance draft, but delayed a final vote until the next meeting on Feb. 27, 2012 when all five councilors can be present. (Councilor Stamm was absent last week and had asked for the delay.)
Two important aspects of that meeting were that a petition was handed in on behalf of the and that a resident proposed a very interesting compromise solution which addresses all the issues with this problematic new ordinance. The petition reads:
"North Kingstown Residents Petition in Support of a Retirement Community, the Preservation of 90 acres and a Public Golf Course." This sounds great! It conveniently does not mention any retail, which is the only objection we neighboring residents have; therefore we, like all those who have signed the petition, can support this statement. Many of those who spoke out against the retail at planning commission and town council meetings have now signed the petition themselves and it has been submitted to the Town Council.
The petition has no significant value since the objectors are willing to sign it as well. (And by the way, there will not be 90 acres AND a golf course - the golf course is most of the 90 acres.) Finally, the petition, which is directed at one location, Rolling Greens, is irrelevant to the council meeting on Feb. 27, as that vote is about a town-wide CVD ordinance, as has been emphasized repeatedly by town officials.
The compromise offered by the residents simply asks for proper planning and community involvement for CVDs outside the Urban Services Boundary, by requiring potential sites to be previously identified in North Kingstown's Comprehensive Plan and by gaining consensus with nearby neighborhoods. It embraces the entire text of the latest CVD draft (the developer has had input into this document, so presumably finds it acceptable and his lawyer praised it very highly at the last TC meeting), the Statewide Planning document "Land Use 2025" and the report submitted to the Planning Department by the consultants, Horsley-Witten.
It requires that the Planning Department demonstrates that it has been properly pre-planned and why it is needed. (It is also worth noting that Councilor Hueston asked the Planning Director, Jon Reiner, whether the ordinance could be modified to require a consensus of residents before a CVD could be approved, which is one half of the residents’ proposal. He confirmed it could be.) What could possibly be unacceptable about this overall suggestion? Unless councilors allow one project, Rolling Greens, to influence their vote, this proposal addresses all concerns, yet allows planned villages both sides of the Urban Services Boundary. It will be very interesting to watch how the individual councilors cast their votes.
Incidentally, our neighbor town, Exeter, will require proposed village locations to be planned and listed in their comprehensive plan. What we call a compromise will be standard operating procedure in Exeter.
The North Kingstown Town Council should remain uninfluenced by a misleading stunt of a petition and focus on insuring the future of our town is planned professionally and comprehensively, to produce the maximum benefit for the residents, rather than allowing a series of disjointed private development projects designed for personal gain.
284 Laurel Ridge Lane, NK