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Letter: Rolling Greens Project Ignores Residents' Concerns

North Kingstown's elected and appointed public officials [turned] a public process into a fast track formality in order to serve the interest of a single developer, writes Rickey Thompson.

The intent of this letter is to expose the truth about the Rolling Greens proposal at the western intersection of Route 2/102 and express my disappointment and dismay with our North Kingstown elected and appointed public officials as they turn a public process into a fast track formality in order to serve the interest of a single developer.

The facts are clear that, excluding the two restaurants (Oatley’s and the Corner Tavern) and the former garden center, the majority of this area includes residential neighborhoods and farm land appropriately zoned residential. Additionally, located west of the Urban Service Boundary, the same residential zoning applies to the Rolling Greens property.

Shortly after purchasing the Rolling Greens property, without consideration to the surrounding neighborhoods the developer sought to increase his profits by petitioning the town to change a significant portion of his Rolling Greens property zoning to commercial. Despite the loud and clear message that residents are opposed to the Rolling Greens proposal, our public officials choose to ignore the real concerns that this proposal will have a negative impact on neighborhoods and home values.

With regards to the Rolling Greens proposal, which has morphed into a so-called the Rural Gateway proposal, my confidence in our town public officials has eroded to a point that my trust in them is all but gone. Here’s why.

  • Misleading, contradicting and inaccurate statements made by our town public officials.
  • Disregarding voter approval of an open space bond in which North Kingstown, Exeter and a private Donor invested millions of dollars to preserve this area.
  • Amending of the town’s Water Service Map adding the developer’s Rolling Green property at the same time they are removing 70% of North Kingstown properties from the same Water Service Map. It is also worth noting that while the majority of North Kingstown property is losing its water rights, another large property owned by the same Rolling Greens developer is not being removed from the town’s Water Service Map. Why? I also find it interesting that the Water Service Map amendments are conspicuously not being advertised with the Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Map changes.  Are you losing your water rights?       
  • Ignoring the town sponsored – town wide 2006 and 2013 Comprehensive Plan survey findings which clearly indicate that residents are not in favor of increased commercial development in this area.
  • Ignoring taxpayer paid consultant recommendation that “The Town of North Kingstown, with input from the Town of Exeter, property owners and abutters, should determine the appropriate direction for this area through public discourse. The town should continue to research and study different models of rural development that may be appropriate to this area of the community as part of that public process”.
  • Influencing the Stakeholder process with handpicked developer friendly participants ensuring that the results were in favor of the Rolling Green’s developer.
  • Working towards the elimination of the Urban Service Boundary ensuring the destruction of North Kingstown open space and farms to commercial development with results not seen since the commercial build out of Route 2 in Warwick.

As Residents anticipate the next and final phase of this fast tracked and abbreviated developer friendly process to be addressed by the Town Council on June 23th, I cannot help but recall two recent events. The first being an obviously flawed and subsequently exposed letter (published in the local newspapers) penned by our town manager in which he indicated that he wanted to set the facts straight.  Really? The second being a recent resident’s plea to our Planning Commission in which he spoke from his heart in advising our public officials that he felt “the fix is in." I openly ask our public officials if they care? Do you?

Rickey Thompson

North Kingstown

underwhelmed June 12, 2014 at 04:01 PM
@Ricky--Ty. I believe that your disappointment will only continue to grow the deeper you dig sorry to say. The electorate, does not have any interest in the common good of NK nor are they interested in stemming the tide. Honesty in politics is the darkside not a commodity that most voters are interested in promoting. That would require some introspective thought and honest examinations of their own voting motives, as well as to honestly examine what has been going on in NK for the last few election cycles, not likely to happen. It would also require some personal involvement of time and effort--oh dear God that means give up some of the TV time or ? terrible blasphemy!! I do not discount what you stated regarding Mr. Maloney. However the issue is directly in his backyard and this is exactly what I said in my comments. He as well as Mr. Welch have sided with the Rep majority in other town wide issues that are not in the best interests of the whole town and especially the taxpayers. I stand behind my original comments. Many who supported both of these TC members are, let us say, disappointed by the go along voting records. It is better to stand and be honestly counted than to knuckle under and be part of the problem. Let the majority own their votes and the results. Let them answer for the many negative issues they have caused in NK. This TC is nothing more than a rerun of the previous one with 3 name changes. I simply ask--Is NK becoming a better or worse place to live? I think the for sale signs answer that question.
Sheila Chappelle June 12, 2014 at 05:18 PM
To Rickey Thompson on the Rolling Greens Project and other issues in this, what use to a fine, town. Where have you been hiding for the past 15+ years. NK politics has not paid attention to the people since before the approval of the Wal-Mart shopping center or the train station. Nothing is going to change until the people wake up and get people in politics who are FOR the people that pay their salaries. If they don't do their job vote them out or go to council meetings and start demanding their resignations.
highflyer June 13, 2014 at 10:03 AM
Sheila what you said are good about walmart and the train station. The people had a good chance to get honest people on the town council in the last election and did not vote for them. New faces maybe new ideas. People can vote for anyone they want. It is the system we have and I think underwhelmed said it just like it is. I am sad for NK because it looks like a sad town now.
LiveLaughLove June 13, 2014 at 02:51 PM
Are you also aware that the town of NK situation with the firefighters has also not been resolved? The Town Council continues to wait hopefully for a positive decision from the RI Supreme Court, after losing their case before the State Labor Relations Board and Superior Court (twice). The bill will be stunning. It is horrifying that these people continue to be elected.
NKResident1 June 16, 2014 at 08:17 AM
The Town Council has managed to push residents away from meetings and the process allowing Town Council free reign for their pet projects. Residents need to be involved by attending meetings to force Town Council accountability.

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