Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze & Observer 02-07-2019

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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Page 13 of 83

14 LETTERS FEBRUARY 7-13, 2019 | VALLEY BREEZE & OBSERVER | SMITHFIELD SCITUATE FOSTER GLOCESTER Many of his accomplishments are listed below: • Moving Route 44 in Greenville to provide additional driveway space for the Greenville fire station and adding lanterns along the roadway • Creation of the Historic Farms and Apple Appreciation month • Capron Bridge rededication parade and ceremony • Worked with PreserveRI and the Smithfield Land Trust to continue the preservation of the Mary Mowry house • Helped preserve the Waterman Tavern • Worked tirelessly to preserve the East Smithfield Neighborhood Center and its rich history. Created architec- tural drawings to help restore the site in the most cost-effective way pos- sible. • Co-creator of the Smithfield his- toric home marker program. Worked with multiple members of the com- munity to design a plaque that would be displayed outside of historic struc- tures in town. He dedicated countless hours and endured many setbacks to ensure that the program would suc- ceed. • Completes a site visit and evalu- ation on all homes that apply for stonewall exemptions. • Created the architectural drawings to preserve the windows in the town council chamber in the town hall. The Town Council would create a vacuum if they failed to reappoint Mr. Leach that would have an irreparable impact on historic preservation and would lead to irreversible changes to the historic character of this great community. I urge Town Council members to think about the future of the Smithfield community and the values that this town embodies. I urge them to vote to reappoint Mr. Leach to another term on the SHPC to help preserve those values. BENJAMIN CAISSE Smithfield Historic Preservation Commission SUPPORT From Page 13 Sand Trace: Too many units in rural Smithfi eld Smithfield is about to undergo a major shift toward becoming a city, not a town, if its Planning Officer Michael Phillips has his way, to authorize a 78-building, 180-unit condo development at Log Road, over the Stillwater Reservoir, called The Sand Trace, using a loophole to do so, along with several other sites, if this Master Plan Stage is approved on March 21. We call it The Sand Bag, and here's why: Although town coun- cilors and residents alike realize the inclusion of Low to Moderate Income Housing (LMI) ratios are required by the state, councilors agree off the record that the pro- posed size of Sand Trace is a bad idea for a rural area zoned R-80. However, Smithfield's Planning Board now controls this approval process, bypassing our Zoning Board, and can decide whether to allow up to eight times more units than are currently allowed there now. If the 22 homes now allowed at Sand Trace were even doubled to 44, and 25 percent of those units, 11, were LMI, we'd be in compliance for LMI. You've seen full page ads in prior Observer issues, and it's true: The state doesn't tell each town how to provide LMI, just that it get done somehow. Why so many more units are being welcomed by this planner, in opposition to neighbor concerns, is anyone's guess. In Narragansett, Exeter, Barrington, and three other towns, LMI has been implemented in ways that are more in line with the character of their towns and common sense zoning. Taxpayer alert: With our excellent school system that will be closing one elementary school this year, and statewide Pre-K on the way, we're now paying tax increases of $250 to $300 on average for the next five years – a special assessment created by passage of school improvements on our three elementaries, and a new fire station. When hundreds more of Low to Moderate income housing is created for families, what will school enrollments look like in 5-10 years when thousands of these units are phased in, on top of mandatory Pre-K? What does Smithfield's Budget Board think about how this will work, and how much more extra spending is in store for us? Public safety-wise, Log Road, the primary way in and out of these 180 condos, was recently a washed out causeway, down to one lane, a little two-lane blacktop that carries fire and emergency traffic, with no sidewalks. Sand Trace is in no way ideal or suited for this part of town. Jan. 29 rains created a complete spill from the Sand Trace site into the reservoir. Now factor in storm runoff with pet waste downhill, into our public water supply. So these roads that can't be walked, run or bicycled without great injury potential will need to be rebuilt as wetlands and waters rise. Smithfield seems to have accepted the bacterial mess at Slack's Pond and Georgiaville as a way of life. Are we now trying to destroy the Stillwater Reservoir? The Comprehensive Plan's introduc- tion says the town values its water resources and quality of life, but the town's words certainly do not match its actions. Infrastructure: How will the Georgiaville water system support these hundreds more units, and will our 60-year-old pipes and systems support Sand Trace? What about water pressure? Town Council President Suzy Alba said on Jan. 22 that the council can- not review and remove this poorly conceived Table H-25 from our Comprehensive Plan until the fall. Why not now? That makes no sense and we challenge her to identify a provision in the law that requires such an amendment "to wait until the fall" (when, conveniently, the Sand Trace project will have already been approved). The Sand Trace needs to be com- pletely vetted before Smithfield commits itself to becoming a city over time. Unite at tonight's hearing and stay on top of this precarious recklessness. Home and business owner petitions will be available for signatures at 6:30. All hands on deck! CYNTHIA & THOMAS MULVEY Smithfield Nerney offers his support for Leach There has been a well-planned, systematic attempt to remove from office any public servant who has worked to preserve the rural charac- teristics of our town. Although these malicious attacks have been ongoing for many years, recently, greater effort is evident with politically motivated and patently unfounded assaults upon Councilwoman Maxine Cavanagh, Land Trust Chairwoman Barbara Rich, longtime Councilman Al LaGreca, and our Town Solicitor Ed Alves. Such smear tactics on the character of good people played a major role in removing the two lat- ter officials. The latest effort is this coun- cil's failure to reappoint Robert Leach to the Historic Preservation Commission which Robert co- founded. Robert has demonstrated many years of accomplished his- toric preservation projects in which he has played a leadership role. These include: Fort Adams, Castle Hill, P Benjamin, Van der Wal, and Holmes Bristol. He has also donated his service to the circa 1822 Smithfield Exchange Bank on Route 44, Putnam Pike, and with the installation of colonial lighting, changing the character of downtown Greenville. One of the more recent is the Door Rebellion Museum in the center of Chepachet which took 11 years of professional services to bring to fruition working with the Glocester Heritage Society. Anyone involved in the field of historic pres- ervation can realize and appreciate the time and effort it takes to com- plete such projects. Restoration gen- erally requires much more time than renovation. One would expect some town officials to know this. Currently, Robert is restoring his home, the Captain Andrew Waterman-Foster House (circa 1750). Waterman-Fosterson is a Founding Father of Smithfield, and a signer of the R.I. Declaration of Independence. That Robert would be penalized for the arduous task of restoring this very significant historic structure by removing him from the Historic Preservation Commission is both startling and ironic. To some people, the concept of public service is totally incompre- hensible. Blinded by the dollar sign, they view giving of one's time solely in terms of profit and self-aggran- dizement. Thus they attempt to sully the reputation of the generous "giv- ers." See LEACH, Page 19 Midway Laundry 1818 Mineral Spring Avenue (Adjacent to North Providence High School) February Dollar Days 401 563-3006 Starting Friday, February 1st SAVE ALL MONTH LONG WASHERS (only) 2 load washer - $2.00 3 load washer - $3.00 4 load washer - $4.00 6 load washer - $6.00 8 load washer - $8.00 OR Let us do it for you with our WASH–DRY–FOLD SERVICE Only 79 ¢ per pound (with minimum of 12 pounds)

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