In last week’s Standard Times, there was a front page article in which a member of the Exeter community expressed his dissatisfaction with the . I believe it is important for everyone to understand what has taken place over the past few years with and the collaboration that has occurred between the two communities.
- North Kingstown spent $750,000 to purchase and protect 10 acres of the 140 acre Schartner Bald Hill Nursery property. The Town committed this amount toward the entire purchase, since the deal would not have occurred without our contribution.
- The Town of Exeter spent $500,000 to protect 102 acres as their contribution to the deal.
- RIDEM gave a $1,000,000 grant to Exeter and North Kingstown toward the purchase of this property and there was also a private contribution of $3,000,000 donated to Exeter for the purchase by a private entity.
- North Kingstown and the private party’s attorney conducted all of the negotiations for the purchase of the development rights. There was no participation by Exeter in the numerous meetings held weekly for many months.
- North Kingstown developed a Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) program to protect this property and other areas in town. There was an understanding that there would be building on another portion of the unprotected land for agricultural or agriculturally related businesses.
- NK then agreed to allow the 10 acres of the Bald Hill Nursery land in Exeter to utilize the NK TDR program through the development of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and a revised ordinance. This assisted Exeter since the town had not acted as required in the Purchase and Sales Agreement in establishing their own TDR program. There was no financial gain for NK in this agreement, only an additional means of protecting the intersection from further development on agricultural land.
- Currently, between NK and Exeter, there are approximately 35 acres of commercially zoned land at this intersection – 25 in NK/10 Exeter. There is presently little control over the design, layout and compatibility of the sites as they relate to the area or one another. A visioning process with the potential for new zoning at this intersection allows for a better coordinated development result which is more consistent with the character of the area. The NK sentiment at this time is to develop a well thought out plan and to LIMIT the impact of the current commercial designations.
- Exeter’s displeasure at not being at the table for the NK process seems to forget that during the “Vision for Exeter” process and the Exeter discussions regarding the potential for a village at this very intersection, NK was not asked to participate in any manner.
- NK has committed considerable resources (staff time/money) to land protection and the visioning process for this intersection. NK does not have the authority to manipulate or study Exeter land or change the zoning. A monetary contribution to the effort could allow inclusion of some of the Exeter property.
To state that North Kingstown is not committed to preserving is intersection or providing a sensible plan for development is a misrepresentation of the facts. Exeter should take comfort in the knowledge that North Kingstown has taken the initiative in developing and implementing a well thought out plan for this area.
North Kingstown Town Manager