Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Cumberland Lincoln 12-06-2018

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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16 CUMBERLAND DECEMBER 6-12, 2018 | VALLEY BREEZE | CUMBERLAND LINCOLN EDITION "clear-cut trees and completely erad- icated well beyond the limits of dis- turbance approved by the Planning Board," he wrote. Vegetative buffers specified in the final plan were effec- tively lost, and numerous state and local violations were issued. "Extensive correspondence includ- ed in this memo reveals the inor- dinate amount of time and energy town staff have expended to get the developer to conform (to) the final plan specifications approved by the Planning Board," he writes to the board. Hidden Meadows II "is starting out to be a repeat of High Ridge," Stevens adds. Mayor Bill Murray said the issues with McKee "will come to a head" on Dec. 13. McKee's history in Cumberland, said Murray, is to act first "and then challenge it." A summary of the claims For the second phase of the Hidden Meadows project, Stevens is making the following claims: • That no surety was posted for land clearing/disturbance; • That no pre-construction on-site conference was held; • That the property was cleared beyond the tree line specified in approved preliminary plan; • That McKee did not conserve any mature vegetation (trees) on lots; • That Kelly stated in a prelimi- nary plan hearing that there was to be staking of areas to be cleared on each lot, and the developer would abide by those, adding that they didn't anticipate clear-cutting of entire lot areas; • And that the department's posi- tion is that "approval" required in town ordinances before beginning construction is final plan approval and not preliminary, and that "begins construction" includes grub- bing (stump pulling). Kelly responded to each of the claims, stating that: • The developer doesn't need to post a bond for land clearing and no one asked for one; • No condition was put on the decision requiring a meeting prior to what he termed "tree construction;" • Preliminary approval is not the binding plan, but final plan is bind- ing; • A meeting was requested but then the town refused "because it took the wrongful position that only one acre could be cut because they can't read their own ordinance." The word "trees" simply isn't in the town's soil and sedimentation con- trol rules, he said. • Terrapin representatives request- ed a pre-construction meeting with the town engineer, and met with him, said Kelly. Stevens, "who has a personal problem with Mr. McKee, interrupted it and later said it didn't count as a pre-construction meeting because it wasn't on site." Town taking firmer stance on McKee In June, spurred in large part by issues with McKee developments, the Planning Board passed tougher new restrictions on development, including requiring developers who clear beyond town-approved "limits of disturbance" to stop work and go back to the board, and specify- ing that before any work is done, a pre-construction conference with the town engineer take place on site and the construction limits be clearly delineated by ground markers. According to ordinances noted by Stevens, anyone who begins con- struction without receiving permis- sion from the board or administra- tive officer is in violation of the reg- ulations. The department's position, he said, is that required "approval" means final plan approval, which has not been granted. Mike Healey, of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, said the department limited clearing and disturbance in wetland areas of the property. "The vast majority of the pro- posed alterations, however, are in non-wetland areas outside DEM's jurisdiction. The wetlands permit for Hidden Meadows II included a stream crossing, which was the only wetland alteration for the entire subdivision," he said. "The crossing enabled the developer to access non-wetland acres, which he plans to develop. The town received RIDEM's public notice in July. It clearly showed the clearing that was proposed and subsequently permit- ted. The town did not comment dur- ing the 45-day public notice period." Stevens said Healey's comment may relate to a state wetlands per- mit or stormwater permit. As a rule, the town engineer or planners don't usually comment on such permit applications, he said. The Planning Board's approval of the preliminary plan required that the developer get state approval prior to final plan approval. Either way, he said, "all developers must abide by the town's land development regulations." TREES From Page 15 OCYL taking registra- tions for winter and spring classes CUMBERLAND – The Mayor's Office of Children, Youth and Learning is currently taking reg- istrations for the following winter and spring classes. At OCYL's STEAMshop, student- centered learning opportunities involve exploring and creativity with open-ended prompts using a variety of materials and tools. Students in grades K-9 are encour- aged to use their natural curiosity to ask questions, solve problems, and continuously examine, interact with and interpret the world. Parents must register their child at least a week before each program begins. Financial assis- tance is available for qualifying Cumberland residents. OCYL's STEAMshop schedule: Chess on Thursdays at 5 p.m., 6 p.m., and 7 p.m.; Coding Club on Tuesdays, 6 p.m.; Creation Lab on Wednesdays, 6 p.m.; Creative Crew on Wednesdays, 2:30 p.m., with busing available from Cumberland middle schools; Cyber Security on Mondays, 5-6 p.m.; Open STEAMshop on one Saturday each month, 9 a.m-noon; Robotics on Fridays, 4:30 p.m.; Private Music Lessons on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 5-7:30 p.m.; Small Group Guitar on Wednesdays, 4:30 and 5:30 p.m. For more information or to regis- ter, visit www.ocyl.org . 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