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Planning Commission to Review Newest Changes to Village Zoning District

New changes have been made to a village center zoning district.


Residents expecting a public hearing on a controversial zoning district at Monday night’s North Kingstown Town Council meeting will have their say Tuesday night to share their thoughts.

After recent modifications to the , the council decided to have the town’s Planning Commission review the amended ordinance one more time before making a decision. The North Kingstown Planning Commission will review and make a recommendation at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday night at .

The CVD discussion began during planning commission meetings for a proposed village center at Rolling Greens Golf Course — named “The Preserve at Rolling Greens” — 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.

After months of review, rewrites and discussion, the matter now goes back to the commission for final review and recommendation after the findings from a study on North Kingstown’s village centers was integrated into the language.

The study, conducted by Horsley Witten Group, suggested that the CVD zone’s regulations and parameters should be based on performance standards instead of arbitrary numbers and figures — recommending that yield plans be cast aside for measuring tools such as nitrogen loading. Nate Kelly, a member of Horsley Witten, spoke before the council and suggested that language regarding open space minimums and impervious surface maximums be excluded. These recommendations have now been integrated into the CVD language, according to Planning Director Jon Reiner.

Kelly added that the CVD “can’t be placed anywhere in North Kingstown” and that there needs to be “clear eligibility criteria,” strong design criteria, compliance with nitrogen standards and multiple layers of protection and review for a plan to be approved under the CVD zone.

Aside from its suggestions for the CVD ordinance, Horsley Witten recommended the creation of a new district exclusively for the Wickford Junction village center, where a .

“Wickford Junction is different,” said Kelly. “It’s unique and it has different requirements in terms of transit development opportunities.”

The role of the urban services boundary, where public services supporting urban development exists, regarding the CVD was questioned by both Council President Elizabeth Dolan and Council Member Charles Stamm. According to Planning Commission Chairman Chip Palmer, there was “initial” sentiment to restrict CVDs to within the urban services boundary, but the prevailing sentiment was to let it be allowed townwide. Palmer told the council the issue will be readdressed with the commission at Tuesday night’s meeting.

jeff February 01, 2012 at 03:53 PM
recognize that there may be other areas outside the Urban Services Boundary where a village center would be an appropriate, useful and welcome addition. In sum, despite the rantings of Diana and the presumptions of Kevin, and putting aside anything going on at the Town Council level, which I have no knowledge of beyond what is on the record, I felt that someone needed to dispute the assertion that the Planning Commission is involved in some kind of elaborate ruse to disguise an intent to approve an as yet unsubmitted approval for a project which may (or may not) comply with an as yet unenacted ordinance. One point Kevin repeats, and I believe did last night, is that the Planning Commission insulted concerned citizens and ‘showed its hand’ when it failed to approve a proposal for a concensus-building effort regarding the one specific proposal he opposes. At the time that issue came up, which was near the beginning of this process, the Planning Commission was told, as I recall, that the cost of this particular concensus building process would be somewhere between $10,000 and $20,000. At that time, I, for one, was convinced, as I am now, that the residential neighbors of the proposed project were dead set against the proposed mixed use development and that no “concensus” was possible. As most people know, the Town is not in great fiscal shape, and the thought of expending money on what I viewed as an exercise with extremely limited value (Cont'd)
jeff February 01, 2012 at 03:53 PM
was not attractive to me. Now, where at least I have concluded that the neighboring residents are against the particular proposal at issue and no concensus is possible, the Planning Commission is criticized by people who vehemently oppose the project and, thereby, only prove the point that trying to build a concensus would not be a worthwhile expenditure. I could understand if the developer were complaining about not trying to spend Town money to build concensus, but it makes no sense to me for Kevin to continue beating this drum – unless, I suppose, you are looking at this from the viewpoint of a conspiracy theorist. Finally, I think it is important to acknowledge the hugely beneficial contribution of the vast majority of citizens who have come to meeting after meeting of the Planning Commission. These individuals have made it their business to become expert on complex issues and have contributed greatly to the discussion of the CVD ordinance – their insights and concerns have been incorporated in many provisions of the draft ordinance.
zelda fish February 01, 2012 at 04:26 PM
How much of our tax money is this town going to spend on things we don't want or need? What about concentrating on Post Road? What other towns in this state are creating compact villages? I think East Greenwich, but is that all? Someone please educate me, I think I missed the meeting where we were told why we need new villages.
zelda fish February 01, 2012 at 04:33 PM
If I wanted the conveniences provided by cities, such as a grocery store, movie theatre, gas station, restaurant, etc. within walking distance of where I lived, I would have moved to a city.
4ResponsibleSitings February 01, 2012 at 04:41 PM
AMEN!!! to Zelda Fish "If I wanted the conveniences provided by cities, such as a grocery store, movie theatre, gas station, restaurant, etc. within walking distance of where I lived, I would have moved to a city."
seed and soil February 01, 2012 at 06:49 PM
Jeff....by no means would I ever label you as a "bone head or a turd"...and I hope you know that. The "boneheads and turds" I allude to above have a long murky history in this community that most who pay attention know all too well. Take a peek at past comments, I have in the past identified you, Chip, Tom Sgouros, Jeff Tucci, Kevin, and others who have taken on these debates as people I would be delighted to see pitch their hats into the public rings. Although I may not agree with your philsophy in this business vs conservation/preservation debate, I respect very much the work you have done and do not at all question your ethics or integrity. Something I can not say about others involved in this process. I am sorry if I was not clearer in my reactions above and apoligize to those who have put countless hours and energies into considering the issue who may hold a different philosophical view. I do very much respect your efforts and appreciate your time in service. An additional ps to my comments.....although it is well reported that Mr. Reiner may no longer have what it takes at this point to serve in his post....my guess is that he is following what he is told to do and is not in the seat to stand up for what he may feel is best for the community. It is my strong opinion that we as community members have every right to try an direct the leadership of our community in ways that are consistent with our vision and hopes for it's future.
Kevin M February 02, 2012 at 06:32 PM
Jeff- While you may very well separate these 2 issues, you can’t speak for the whole panel. During one of the last “town wide” CVD meetings the developer’s attorney interrupted and was allowed to speak for 5 minutes on his disapproval of CVD language, (I believe bedroom density), while the “rest of the public” was not given these rights. And right after the final public comments were closed - 2:08:45 Michaelson …for someone to say this is all being done for one developer is assuming an awful lot. 2:10:25 Palmer …many members of the audience want to equate this particular ordinance and want to analyze it in terms of how Rolling Greens would fit into it, but that’s not the focus of this commission. And yet 14 minutes later…. 2:24:31 Powell …he could do, if Mark wanted to do it, pay the money, he could have however many units, and as many bedrooms as he wants. (cont)
Kevin M February 02, 2012 at 06:32 PM
While you have taken offense to my premise of the cards stacked against the local community for some time; I am very much in support of the CVD and its intended purpose. I am not your enemy! Tuesday night I held you in highest regards on the panel (Dion was absent) for standing up to the latest rewrites and I agree with you as I have little trust in the nitrate loading as a soul limiter at this time, and have written and spoken as much. Stripping out open space requirements, impervious surface limitations, and yield densities, and to rely on numbers that don’t correlate with other projects leaves me very uneasy. When the HW report states that there is an equivalency between the town density limit and the town 5.0 nitrate loading; yet the presenter tells you at Tuesday’s meeting that keeping the density limit will diminish the village feel; nor have they omitted the density limit from the groundwater overlay for residential zones, they obviously aren’t equal. I feel much more comfortable with the previous PC version of the draft; you have spent long hours on, than the draft being pushed on you Tuesday night. (cont)
Kevin M February 02, 2012 at 06:33 PM
Where we differ greatly is when the CVD doesn’t fit Lafayette; the historic building clause is added (which would be grandfathered and/or special use permit applied anyways). Wickford Junction doesn’t work, so we remove it and write a separate ordinance. If an area doesn’t meet planning’s goals, the ordinance gets tweaked or a new version to work. If it doesn’t meet publics goals, who cares? The fact that this is a highly contested issue and not wanted (except for a handful of supporters who don’t even live here); and the PC won’t acknowledge or treat it as a roadblock, upsets all of us. The planning director spoke to the non-conforming 10 acre property last night (in which previous town officials spot zoned the property general business) and how the State will not accept our Comprehensive Plan unless this is corrected, or the town will be strong armed with lack of state funds and “potential” unwanted state projects like “prisons” would be possible (his words). Also discussion on how reverting the property back would entail more lawsuits. By the way, that lot rezone was originally presented with the expectation of utilizing TDR’s and sending development rights away from that area. Now that the town has upset the owner, he’s considering developing the lot to pay off debt’s. If it has no bearing on the CVD, why was it part of the topic last night? (cont)
Kevin M February 02, 2012 at 06:34 PM
Talk about the public, both drafts use the USB inappropriately to increase/limit density, not prevent sprawl. We requested the USB to protect our watershed and prevent more properties from getting us in a non-conforming situation with the state. Our watershed has been deemed “most critical basin in the state” by the RI Water Resource Board; “unclear if there will be enough water for the QDC” http://www.ecori.org/water-issues/. Post road and existing villages are losing businesses. Use the CVD as intended and revitalize those previously developed areas in town with sewers instead of building over undeveloped land that soaks up rain and replenishes our aquifer. Water protection is equally as important an issue for many of us, and should be for the whole town! I am not out to waste town money either. This is the first time I’ve heard a town official admit there will never be a consensus. I have made that argument >>only to allow the 400+ residents the right to be inclusive in the shaping of their neighborhood<< instead of 11 town officials that live on the other side of town and a planner that doesn’t live in this town (unlike the 6-8 residents the town used to justify village centers from their Healthy Places Forums). The main stumbling block for local residents from the beginning has been no additional retail, no new village! As time goes on, each draft gets progressively worse, further limiting residential and increasing commercial considerably more!
Kevin M February 02, 2012 at 06:36 PM
Maybe you remember the Rolling Greens attorney saying early on, they were going to “help” the town by creating a village center to get back into compliance. The concept of the CVD is to prevent sprawl and create dense villages. The intent of the Urban Service Boundary is the same and to protect the rural character and watersheds of the State from being developed. From State Land Use 2025: “The Plan directs the State and communities to concentrate growth inside the Urban Services Boundary and within locally designated centers in rural areas, and to pursue significantly different land use and development approaches for urban and rural areas. Achieving a sound policy for appropriate growth in urban areas will allow us to preserve more of our rural landscape. Growth and preservation thus become a single issue.” If it is not important and “has no rational basis in terms of planning”, why has the State rejected our Comprehensive Plan over it? (cont)
Tommy Jervis February 03, 2012 at 07:12 AM
This is a trust issue. With the council. lets get some good candidates, replace the council and get planning flushed out and refreshed, and take a fresh look at the comprehensive plan. I just dont trust this town council. Too many missteps for my comfort zone.
Govstench February 03, 2012 at 12:53 PM
There are changes needed on this town council - no more trust. The insider deal stuff has blown their creditability. Perhaps one answer is a charter revision for term limits. The town needs new people with fresh ideas!
jeff February 03, 2012 at 01:19 PM
Off topic, but I've always thought this Town needs a ward system (council members represent a particular district/neighborhood), rather than an 'at large' system.
Straight Talker February 03, 2012 at 03:11 PM
Just happens to be the mother of a TC member who has received over 50% of campaign contributions from RG interested parties!
NKresidenttaxpayervoter February 03, 2012 at 03:48 PM
Now your on to something Gov, this council is no longer representing our residents best interest. Too much posturing and personal agenda. Clearly having a council of lawyers making deals with lawyers is not getting the job done. I hope someone is looking into this Kinder situation. 1.2 million? Really? Sounds like the typical RI buddy system. Hoping and praying for change, my eyes are wide open.
seed and soil February 03, 2012 at 04:42 PM
So pleased to see the ball rolling on this crucial debate. Many great ideas and suggestions being presented...keep them coming!! Could anyone fill us all in on what is currently going on with the NKGOP? I have heard rumblings that a shift of powers is taking place from within. If this can be confirmed, It will certainly point to the possibility of redirection in the next election cycle. Another question. Who is this Kinder and does anyone know if he has any personal connections with the power seats? Jeff - great suggestion on the ward system. How can the engaged community make that happen? Govstench - how can the community see to it that these charter revisions for term limits be made a reality? Zelda Fish....as always you're wonderfully helpful in providing the supportive facts. Kevin - more thanks to you for providing the facts and such detailed background information. Straight-talker - excellent fact shedding light onto the conflict of interest. I still stand by my impassioned plea to form a "no-labels" NK Community Improvement Initiative...and have every hope that those who love NK and have a solid ethically compass can work together to bring about the required changes in town leadership and vision. I am pitching out the idea of holding a casual coffee chat somewhere local and sometime soon. Please give your feedback. Would you have an interest in attending to open up dialogue about forming a group?
zelda fish February 03, 2012 at 07:47 PM
Great idea - it's about time! We will be there.
NKGOP Watch February 04, 2012 at 02:24 AM
Dont all forget that KINDER was the lawyer who I was told refused to hear evidence against Halley, and despite scathing results of the special needs audit, said "we better settle" and paid him a couple hundred thousand (Halley i mean) Kinder reportedly got around 100k for that "advice" (that he was likely told to give). With friends like Dan Kinder.... you dont need the Dolans and Huestons anywhere NEAR city hall!
It is what it is February 08, 2012 at 12:31 AM
"His wife has been heard saying"? Are you serious? It's absurd you keep bringing unsubstantiated gossip into a debate on a public issue..."influential town official told me", "only a handful of people want this project", all the conspiracy theories, etc. Worse, I personally spoke with her at the last meeting and know your claim is absolutely not true. I would imagine its hard to be confident in a project that has had so much political garbage, misrepresentation, and lies thrown in its path. I dont think these catty untruths are really helping your argument much. By your posts it appears you're on a mission to slay this project at Rolling Greens, I just hope if you do win in your fight to stop this project you'll be happy with the development that goes up in its place. Because whether its Mr. Hawkins or some other developer after him it seems something gonna change there whether we like it or not. That piece of land is already zoned to have the course wiped out and houses thrown up in its place. I personally would rather see a development that keeps the golf course land open permanently, cause there is a lot of us (despite what you heard) that do love that place, and would support this project in order to keep it.
PLAINTRUTH February 08, 2012 at 05:44 PM
@ "It is what it is". Kevin M has been the one blogger most consistently focused on factual information throughout this process for more than a year. He talks about the Urban Service Boundary, zoning, nitrate loading, density, etc. For you to allege that he "keeps bringing unsubstantiated gossip" into the argument is disgraceful and simply ignorant of what he has been doing for a long time, or you have a vested interest for this project. This was the one and only time Kevin M used unnamed sources. The VAST majority of the residents who actually abut this project DO NOT want to see commercial development in their neighborhood. See this link showing a meeting of 150 of them if you don't know this. http://northkingstown.patch.com/articles/no-moves-made-on-rolling-greens-development Also, almost every household signed a petition against it and the Town has a copy. So either you are in the minority of neighboring residents, or you do not live in this area. I saw the petition in the golf club in support of the project and very few of the signatories were from this part of NK. Many were not even from NK at all. And of course they were there to play golf, so they are the most biased group you can find when the question was "do you support this project, which keeps the golf course..."! The neighboring residents' views are what count, not those outsiders when it comes to development in residential areas. By the way, most of the residents are OK with houses, rather than commercial.
NK voter February 08, 2012 at 06:45 PM
If you have proof, show it. If not, unsubstantiated gossip is nothing short of libel/slander. No council is perfect and these people have, in my opinion, done a pretty good job trying to both hold the line on tax increases. With rising school costs and so forth, the only way to stop property tax increases is to attract a tax base--a business tax base. More homes is not the answer. You do the math--every new home with 2 school aged children costs the town/state $13k per student or $26K. Their property tax? Maybe 5K. Business is the answer. The question is where do we put it....
NK voter February 08, 2012 at 06:48 PM
Kinder? You mean the guy that cost the Town 1.2M over 13 years but saved us much more than that? I think we need two of them.... The RI buddy system? Oh, you mean teacher/Fire/Police unions and Dem politicians....
NK voter February 08, 2012 at 06:51 PM
Just what every blog needs--A trash talker "that hears things." It really adds to your credibility.
It is what it is February 08, 2012 at 07:27 PM
Please don't assume that because I'm not on your side in this argument must mean I'm not from here, must be invested in the project, or have no idea what I'm talking about. Your wrong on all three charges.  I do live here & have been following this project for a while now and do know about the urban service boundary, zoning, nitrate loading, density, etc ... Just because I'm offended that Kevin did bring untruthful gossip into this debate doesn't mean I'm "simply ignorant or disgraceful", but thank you very much for using such nice words. And your wrong saying its his only time using an unnamed source since in the very sentence preceding the one about the developers wife he wrote, "an influential public official told me",  I believe that would be filed under unnamed sources.  I just don't think claims like that have a place in such a heated debate, and that's why I voiced my entitled opinion.  And would like to point out unlike you that this "simply ignorant and disgraceful" person did so without calling people names.
It is what it is February 08, 2012 at 07:33 PM
@ plain truth My problem with the anti-project standpoint, is they keep saying  how this project will affect the towns water, the nitrate loading, I've even heard the "pet waste" of this project being considered, and more. My question is, how is a huge development of almost a hundred houses, each with their own septic, own driveways, own waste water, and of course their own pets is ecologically better than a smaller project that preserves openspace? If you dont want more commercial development fine I understand that, but I dont understand using ecological arguments against this project if you are as u say OK with that many houses. I do understand a lot of people in our neighborhoods have signed the petition and your right I did not, I did sign the one at the golf course (shocking to you I'm sure) But I did see they had TWO petitions, one for people from Nk and one for people outside of NK. And when I did sign it the filled sheet was taken and put it in a folder behind the bar, so I'm not really sure you have all your facts straight about their petitions.  I'm not the enemy here I just hope everyone realizes what the real impacts are if this smaller development is squashed and the door opens for another one.
It is what it is February 08, 2012 at 07:37 PM
And by the way everyone in NKs opinions are what count, not just the neighbors.
Kevin M February 12, 2012 at 05:21 PM
@It is what - There are 2 separate issues at stake. One is retail and one is water. Nothing I have said is untrue. Believe who you want to believe. You on the other hand, hiding behind your screen name, are dishing out untruths. He is only allotted 49 homes (families) (1 per 2 acre buildable land) see pg 7. http://www.northkingstown.org/sites/northkingstown.org/files/basic-page-images/MASTER%20PLAN%2024X36.pdf ,under current zoning, not almost a 100. His proposed development contains 92 homes (families) plus an additional 35,000 sq ft of retail including yet another bank and pharmacy for this area. We encourage his senior retirement golfing community and keeping the restaurant (on it’s original site). We only oppose the additional 35,000 sq/ft commercial/retail portion of his development, which the area is not zoned or planned for. This CVD is not limited to just his site and the whole intersection will become a new commercial center. I am concerned with all CVD’s in groundwater districts, not just this one. Except for Hamilton, all other village centers being considered are in groundwater districts.
PLAINTRUTH February 13, 2012 at 01:43 AM
@It is what it is: You write in a very selective way. I said "EITHER you are in the minority of neighboring residents, OR you do not live in this area", you chose to only see the second part. I never said you do not know what you are talking about, (you brought that up), I said Kevin M knows and he is factual. He did not bring untruthful gossip into this any more than you did with your response. As he said above, you believe who you want. I did not call you names, although it is true I described your remarks as ignorant etc - a fine distinction I realize, but a distinction. That's no worse than you using words like "lies" and "catty untruths", don't be so sensitive! By the way, regarding "unnamed sources", you and I are hiding behind made up names, so we hardly occupy the high ground!. On town wide issues, OK everyone gets to vote, but I still believe on local issues only local opinions count - my entitled opinion, to borrow your phrase. I could reply to more of your inaccuracies, but let's get to the real points. I said the local residents are OK with houses, ie the Hawkins plan for new houses, but you assumed I mean the homes on the golf course (wrong again). What the VAST majority of abutters does not want is commercial, and you do seem to agree in your post. I think everyone should simply reread Kevin M's posts. He puts the case well. It too hope the golf course stays, but not if I end up with commercial development where I live instead. Let's not rezone residential land.
PLAINTRUTH February 24, 2012 at 08:13 PM
Well, here we are then. On Monday 2/27 the TC will vote on the CVD draft, which will open up green spaces all over our town to commercial development applications, if it passes in its current form. If you want existing empty commercial space redeveloped first, before building on more open space, let the council members know before they vote in 3 days from now. towncouncil@northkingstown.org All they need to do is limit CVD's to inside the state recognized Urban Services Boundary. There are 4 "villages" inside this area which the town-paid consultant company, Horsely Witten, stated are suitable for CVD's. Let's deal with those first. If we NEED more later on, then we will still have our green open spaces to consider at that time. FIRST DO NO HARM.

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