Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze & Observer 12-5-13

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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DECEMBER 5-11, 2013 Serving Smithfield, Scituate, Foster and Glocester FREE Observer the valley breeze & DESTINATION NORTH POLE KEEPING IT LOCAL Departing from Woonsocket, Polar Express more magical than ever. LIVING @ "Like" us on Residents heeded message, shopped hometown stores Saturday. PAGE 6 valleybreeze.com Search for The Valley Breeze Newspapers Landowners seek flexibility in 'corporate corridor' By GERRY GOLDSTEIN Breeze & Observer Correspondent gerryg76@verizon.net SMITHFIELD – A group of property owners in the restrictively zoned "corporate corridor" along Routes 7 and 116 are working with Keith W. Stokes, former executive director of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corp., on a proposed master plan for the area that would relax some of the prohibitions on how they can use their land. Their project revives an emotional issue that split a former Town Council three years ago, when it narrowly approved tighter zoning that Valley Breeze & observer Photo By Bill Murphy Hannah Ross, center, #1172, of Smithfield, takes off from the starting line for the Kids 1K leg of the Family Turkey Trot 5K on Thanksgiving morning in Pawtucket. Cold but sunny weather greeted the runners. See more photos on Page 20 critics said amounted to landtaking without compensation. One business owner, Jackson Despres of the Smithfield Peat Co., sued the town in an action still pending, contending at the time, "What you are doing is confiscating all of our property." Despres confirmed that an informal organization of area landowners has contracted with the Mayforth Group, a government-relations consultant with offices in Providence and Washington, to come up with a plan for more flexible zoning that would expand business uses in the area. He has long contended that in today's economy, much See CORRIDOR, Page 26 Auditor lauds Smithfield school system as 'one of the best' By DENISE PERREAULT Valley Breeze & Observer Correspondent SMITHFIELD – Some are saying it was one of the most harmonious meetings the School Committee ever held. On Monday, Dec. 2, everyone – including the school board's harshest critic – was praising the newly released performance audit of the Smithfield School Department. Starting with preparation of a policy manual, the chairman of the School Committee, Richard B. Iannitelli, said his board over the next few months will consider implementing every recommendation of the 86-page B&E Consulting LLC performance audit "until we've dissected it all." Iannitelli also said he expects the Town Council will turn over to the School Committee the full $450,000 the school system requested last spring to pay for new teachers, stressing however that the final decision is up to the council. "I can't see how they (the council) can turn it down," Iannitelli said, noting the performance audit explicitly said the School Committee needs the extra money and the audit itself was so full of praise for the school system, its personnel and educational programs. The council to date has committed $300,000 of the $450,000 the school system requested, with the rest in escrow. The chairman's comments came during a break in a joint meeting of the council and Hear for the Holidays Finally... a hearing device you'll actually WANT to wear! $4 0 0 O FF a p a ir ofN era Pro Exp ires D ec. 13, 2 0 13 Dr. Mary Kay Uchmanowicz, Licensed Audiologist, 30 Years 151 Douglas Pike, Smithfield, RI 02917 401-349-0456 www.twinrivershearinghealth.com ©2013 Breeze Publications Inc. school board on Monday night at the high school, a meeting called to discuss the highlyanticipated audit. The council commissioned the $42,000 audit in the spring after persistent claims arose charging the School Committee with overbudgeting and failing to spend its money wisely. See AUDIT, Page 26

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