Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Woonsocket North Smithfield 06-06-2019

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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6 NORTH SMITHFIELD JUNE 6-12, 2019 | VALLEY BREEZE | NORTH SMITHFIELD BLACKSTONE WOONSOCKET EDITION NORTH SMITHFIELD – The fallout from the sale of a possible open space purchase to a third party resulted in a debate over the best way to guide the process, with town officials resolving this week to devel- op a policy for considering future purchases. Last month, proponents of preserv- ing open space and town officials found themselves at odds after David Gold, owner of a 144-acre parcel known as the Gold property, sold the land to a solar developer after several years of negotiations with the town. Though a portion of the land could still come under town ownership through an agreement with the developer, members of the Conservation Commission and other groups expressed frustration with what they saw as the failure of town officials to transparently negotiate an agreement that would preserve the land. Shortly afterward, Douglas Osier Jr., a town councilor elected to his first term in November, announced he planned to propose an "open space committee" that would pro- mote and advise on future open space purchases. The announce- ment immediately drew backlash, with several town groups, includ- ing the Conservation Commission and the North Smithfield Land Trust, sending letters to The Valley Breeze expressing their opposition. Opponents maintained the new committee could be redundant with existing town boards and was simply a political maneuver seeking to gain the favor of those who support open space. "Now, in an attempt to pacify vot- ers and appear receptive to open space suggestions, (Osier) is plan- ning to assemble an open space committee," wrote Carol Ayala and Paul Soares of the Conservation Commission. "However, he has already demonstrated his lack of interest and follow through on the open space suggestion made by the town's Conservation Commission." On Monday, Osier defended the proposal, describing it as an oppor- tunity to engage residents and estab- lish set guidelines for purchasing open space. The committee, he said, would consist of at least nine mem- bers from various town boards and the community and serve a similar function to open space committees in other Rhode Island towns, includ- ing Tiverton and Middletown. In addition to setting targets for open space acquisition, the committee would ensure any future purchases are consistent with the comprehen- sive plan and research financing options. "The focus is on our town. This has nothing to do with political games," he said. "This is for all of us, our future, as residents of North Smithfield. We should be support- ing and collaborating in addition to working together to achieve com- mon goals for our community." The proposal got a cool reception from fellow council- ors, who repeated residents' concerns that the committee would simply add another board to a lengthy list of town advisory committees. Council President Paul Vadenais said he didn't feel another committee was necessary and the ultimate over- sight for purchasing open space lies with the Town Council. "We have professionals that work for us in the Planning Department, we have the Planning Board, we have outside groups in town that are looking to do this such as the Land Trust, and by creating another committee with members from all of those things, it doesn't solve the issue," he said. "It's going to add another layer to something that's already confusing and possibly mis- guided at times." Town Administrator Gary Ezovski proposed a possible middle ground when he offered to sit down with Osier, Town Planner Tom Kravitz and members of other town boards to develop a new policy for consid- ering open space purchases. Though the initiative would not involve cre- ating a new board, the policy would establish guidelines to help avoid future conflict over open space. "I'm not a fan of another com- mittee, but I do think that a policy could be developed to affirm the process for which an open space recommendation could be vetted," he said. The proposal received the unani- mous approval of councilors, includ- ing Osier, who passed a measure authorizing the initiative in a 5-0 vote. The new policy will be sub- ject to final approval by the Town Council. Future open space policy up for debate in North Smithfield By LAUREN CLEM Valley Breeze Staff Writer lauren@valleybreeze OSIER Wright's Dairy opens new on-site scoop shop NORTH SMITHFIELD – Wright's Dairy Farm and Bakery has announced the opening of The Wright Scoop, a new on-site scoop shop that opened June 1. The shop is housed in a vintage trailer on the property at 200 Woonsocket Hill Road and features classic flavors, toppings and seasonal sundaes. Cathryn Kennedy, a fifth generation Wright's family member, will over- see the scoop shop. All ice cream is made on the property from Wright's Dairy cows. The Wright Scoop will be open Wednesday through Friday from 3 to 9 p.m., Saturdays from noon to 10 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 7 p.m. IN BRIEF

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