By Kevin Maloney
North Kingstown Town Councilman
With all other Town Council members weighing in on the subject, I am compelled to express my extreme disappointment in the recent Comp Plan rewrite and zoning changes. When we ignore the language discussing revitalization of existing properties before building in green space, preserving the farmland and open space, etc. and rewrite our Comprehensive Plan on the fly to allow new zoning to take place; it defeats the integrity of having a Comp Plan. Adding new language encouraging development of our scenic areas and encouraging development of land the town has established as transfer of development rights sending areas (to counter legal challenges) is counter intuitive. The recent Market Analysis report ordered by the town council has been ignored as well.
I ran 2 years ago because a large population felt they were not being heard and represented. In both TC and PC public hearings spanning 3 nights, the vast majority opposed this development with only a previous TC member, the developers lawyer, and I believe 1 or 2 others in favor.
The costly Stakeholder process was stacked against the residents and then mis-used to justify the Compact Village Development zoning when there has been overwhelming demand for a Conservation Development. An explanation of this can be heard by listening to the 6/23 town council meeting recording.
The rotary which will go in at this intersection is designed to keep traffic moving. The last weekend in June the traffic was backed up down to Rte. 4. This development will only create more of a bottleneck and defeat the purpose of the rotary. The rotary will also inhibit the walking and biking between parcels being touted.
The development was originally proposed as age restricted, then downgraded to age targeted; meaning no restrictions.
In my opinion this is spot zoning, which the town was called on when changing another parcel in the area, and still unresolved. Town officials claim they want to limit growth to the area. I feel this will do just the opposite. The Bald Hill nursery owners originally proposed a small landscape nursery business not much different than what existed. There is a Hops Farm Brewery starting across the road. Remember the wedding barn proposal? This is acceptable development for the area. Not more pharmacies and banks.
Now Bald Hill Nursery is looking at 72,000 sq./ft. to preserve their rights. The owners will challenge this and more than likely be vested, the Schartner parcel was never changed and remains general business, leaving spot zoning of one development, Rolling Greens. Town officials are also requesting the Urban Service Boundary be moved West which only encourages more growth, not limit growth as continuously stated. It would also allow even greater density of Rolling Greens per CVD language.
We have suitable areas all over town capable and zoned properly to increase our tax base and expand economic development. We need to fix Post Road and our other existing business centers before destroying scenic open spaces and spoiling those as well. We need to listen to the people. That is why I voted against these changes. My mind hasn't been clouded by accepting campaign donations from the developer, satisfying running mates or childhood friends.
North Kingstown Town Council