Town Planner Jon Reiner offers the town's view of issues surrounding the Harbor View subdivision on Post Road. His colleague, Nicole LaFontaine, wrote about Harbor View and affordable housing there in a story posted Jan. 6: Affordable Housing At Harbor View: Planning Dept. Explains. A news story about the subdivison can be found here.
Over the course of the past several months, there have been a number of examples of incorrect information being distributed about various town projects. This correspondence is the first of several that will be submitted in an effort to bring the facts forward to the public.
A recent example of incorrect information relates to the Harbor View subdivision located behind the North Kingstown Chamber of Commerce.
The development was originally proposed as a major subdivision over 10 years ago with 16 house lots, a stream crossing over the existing stream on the property, 2,160 linear feet of roadway and extensive clearing of the entire property, not just what can been seen from the road. The property is approximately 23 acres in size.
The old plans were proposed by a different developer and had substantial land clearing throughout the property, in the front and rear of the parcel. There was also much more development near the critical resources of wetlands and the stream. Those plans met the requirements that were in place at the time. The plan done by the former owner called for 7.13 acres of open space.
When a new owner acquired the property, the town's Planning Commission and Planning Department asked the new owner, Tony Fiore, to resubmit plans utilizing the new conservation subdivision ordinance and regulations. Conservation design was adopted by the town over 6 years ago, and requires a process that looks at the natural resources of the site first, and sets those areas aside for protection. Conservation design is a process that requires less road frontage for lots, allows for smaller lots, and requires more total open space. The new plan requires substantially less total land clearing. The new plan has 20 house lots, 3 of which are affordable, no stream crossing, only 1,148 linear feet of roadway (much less impervious coverage) and has 14.49 acres of open space.
This is a little more than double the permanently protected land of the former master plan-approved subdivision. Unfortunately, most of the open space is not visual from the road, so the visual impact from the road is great. The total amount of protected property is much greater. Both the approved master plan and final plan are shown below. (Ed. Note: The pdfs were added at 9:45 a.m., Jan. 8.)
The Town Planning Commission, Technical Review staff, and the Planning Department utilize an efficient planning process that addresses all environmental concerns, protects open space, allows for creative design, but also respects the property rights of the property owner, the developer, business owners and future residents of North Kingstown. It should be recognized that all privately owned property is subject to development according to the Town of North Kingstown Comprehensive Plan, Zoning Ordinance, and Subdivision Regulations.
Jonathan J. Reiner, AICP
Director of Planning and Community Development
North Kingstown Planning Department