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Another Meeting, Another Delay for New Village District

The Town Council will vote on a compact village development district on Feb. 27.

Following months of planning commission meetings filled with , the fate of a controversial village center zoning district has once again been pushed back. The North Kingstown Town Council decided to push back its pivotal vote until Feb. 27, when fellow committee member Charles Stamm (who was absent from Monday’s meeting) would be able to attend.

The North Kingstown Planning Commission began to look at the zoning district in question – a compact village development (CVD) zone – following plans proposed by Mark Hawkins for a village center at Rolling Greens Golf Course on Ten Rod Road.  Since i, nearby residents have come out  — described as a smaller version of South County Commons in Wakefield — in their area. The land in question, zoned residential, sits upon a groundwater overlay district designed to protect the town’s water supply. During these discussions, the commission began to look into modifying the language for CVD, as it has yet to be used in any developments in town.

On Feb. 7, the commission voted 5-1 to recommend the new language to the council. . Though the CVD could be implemented in a number of locations across North Kingstown, many residents brought their comments back to one in particular – The Preserve at Rolling Greens – which lies west of the urban services boundary. One Wickham Road resident, Kevin Maloney, offered a compromise, suggesting that the CVD only be allowed within the urban services boundary or in pre-approved village centers.

Residents in nearby neighborhoods spoke against allowing commercial in a residentially-zoned area and the impact the proposed village center would have on the already stressed aquifer in the area.

“This is not right. This is not what the town wants nor, in my opinion, what it needs,” said resident Colin O’Sullivan.

For other speakers, the process to actually get a project approved could be a major obstacle for developers. According to Planning Director Jon Reiner, a project would need to go through four separate public hearings before approval.

“Any developer who wants to pursue this has a tremendous uphill battle,” said Scott Spear, attorney for Mark Hawkins, who applauded the time and diligence spent on the new zoning district.

Despite the opposition, the CVD district did have some supporters with one speaker calling it a “well thought out, state-of-the-art way of developing.”

The council looks to vote on the matter on Feb. 27.

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