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Planning Commission Questions Creation of a New Zoning District

Planning Commission remained indecisive on proposed changes to the town's zoning ordinances.

North Kingstown residents will have to wait another two weeks to potentially receive updates from the Planning Commission on the proposed Rolling Greens project—a plan to build a commercial and residential village center off Ten Rod Road. 

Titled "The Preserve at Rolling Greens," the proposed development would feature 92 units divided into 36 duplexes, 10 single-family homes and more than 35,000 sq. ft. of commercial space.

At two acres per dwelling, the proposed location for the village—west of Route 4 at the Route 2 and Route 102 intersection—isn't zoned to adequately accommodate commercial-level development. 

To lawfully accommodate the Rolling Greens proposal, members of the Planning Commission would have to approve amendments to the town's comprehensive plan and zoning ordinances.

During Tuesday's meeting at the Cold Spring Community Center, members of the Planning Commission discussed potential changes to Section 21-325 (17) of the North Kingstown Zoning Ordinance which lists the qualifications for "Compact village development" or "CVD"—a mixture of residential and limited commercial development.

The proposed amendment under discussion Tuesday night suggests creating an entirely new zoning district titled "Compact Village Development, Section 21-95," according to the meeting's agenda.

And though the commission didn't have time to directly address the Rolling Greens application, Gardner "Chip" Palmer said any changes made to the zoning ordinance would require due diligence and could affect the outcome of the Rolling Greens project.  

"I think it's difficult to make zones without a lot of work or without a lot of study to make sure that we've vetted out all the different pros and cons and the 'what ifs,'" said Palmer.

"I don't know that I'm going to feel comfortable enough to get this thing into the shape that it would have to be in to satisfy other projects that might want to take advantage of it," added Palmer, alluding to the Rolling Greens application.

Jeffrey Michaelson, also a member of the Planning Commission, expressed concern for those apprehensive about the potential effects of a new zoning district—namely, the addition of commercial property in areas that have been strictly residential.

"Are we tailoring the ordinance to the application?" asked Michaelson.

Find out what the Planning Commission's next move is Thursday, July 7 at 7:30 p.m. in the Cold Spring Community Center.

4ResponsibleSitings June 23, 2011 at 09:00 PM
WAKE UP NK- besides changes to the comprehensive plan and zoning ordinances RG: ignores Statewide Planning’s Urban Boundary (meaning we will lose potential Fed & State grant money) ignores groundwater protection requirement put in place to protect our drinking water (RG currently allowed approx. 50 dwellings NOT including any commercial) ignores the PC’s own consultants who recommend not developing this area w/o community consensus. ignores the $5.25 million given to local farmers to preserve and protect this area. ignores a TDR being discussed for additional property to preserve and protect this area. ignores $9million requested from taxpayers on a sewer bond to direct development to Post Road. ignores the majority of area property owners who don’t want this to be the furthest western extent of Wickford Junction. ignores 2 large developments on Frenchtown Rd and Quonset with over 575 dwellings and over 145K retail. Now we are writing a townwide ordinance to appease 1 developer who knew his property was zoned residential and had groundwater overlay requirements. This will expand retail/commercial development to any zone in town they can append a current business lot to (currently requires an entire parcel to be commercial, new ordinance any portion thereof). As for Michaelson’s comment about tailoring for a developer; just like the wind ordinance, the developer was involved in the writing of the ordinance and certain bullets are his text.
PLAINTRUTH June 23, 2011 at 09:41 PM
I have attended every Planning Commission meeting on the Rolling Greens application for months and researched it thoroughly. In my opinion Michaelson hit the nail squarely on the head asking "Are we tailoring the Ordinance to the Application?" Read 4Responsible Sitings comments. You be the judge. This Application does not comply with current town law, State guidelines or NK water protection law. It goes against the millions of our tax $$ which have already been handed over to protect this area from development. It is nowhere near Post Road where $9 million more of our taxes will go on improving the sewers directly to support development there, not on a virtually greenfield site where the vast majority of neighboring residents petitioned against it. It is an absolute NO BRAINER to stop this project yet the wheels of the PC keep turning, pushing this down residents' throats. Take a look at all the empty commercial lots around town. This is not needed and it is outside the current rules. So why is it proceeding? What are the advantages for the residents and NK that outweigh all the negatives above and in 4Responsible Siting's letter? ANYONE??? (Especially PC or TC members in favor of this project.) Beware anyone living near a commercial lot of any size almost ANYWHERE in town. The new Ordinance will allow it to be combined with nearby residential lots and the whole thing developed, with the PC members having full discretion over how much of the new buildout can be commercial.

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