top of page

News Archives!

Council Considers Return to In-person Meetings


RICHMOND — Members of the Town Council are considering allowing the resumption of in-person meetings in addition to the current web-based format, but have agreed to proceed with caution.

The topic was on Tuesday’s meeting agenda at the request of council President Nell Carpenter, who asked the council to consider protocols for re-opening the Town Hall, the senior center and Town Council meetings to the public.

“The reason I wanted to have this on the agenda for discussion was to be proactive, because we will, at some point, have direction from the governor’s office,” she said. “Obviously, our actions are contingent on the governor’s orders, but I would like to be able to hit the ground running in this community when that order comes down."

Carpenter noted that the Department of Public Works had been installing modifications in the council chambers to make public meetings safer.
“My understanding is that there is an anticipation of being ready to open the doors, so to speak, in May, mid-May, late May, I believe and with that, have resuming services in the various offices of Town Hall,” she said.

Members of the town’s senior center are eager to return to social activities, Carpenter added, and the town’s boards and committees are also discussing the resumption of in-person meetings.

Meetings at the Town Hall would require participants to register in advance, since the capacity of the council chambers, which is already NO more than 50 people, would be further reduced. People would still have the option of watching meetings online.

Councilor Ronald Newman had a list of questions about the re-opening.
“How can we ensure everyone is properly able to socially distance themselves in chambers? What sanitation disinfectants would be used? How can we ensure safety if there’s still not, you know, adequate immunization yet? The U.K. variant now is starting to come our way, and we’ve got to worry about that especially when we’ve got a gathering? How can we ensure Town Hall employees themselves will remain safe with people coming into council chambers and the Town Hall itself?…What is the sudden movement that we have to really meet in person? he said.

Newman said he was comfortable with online meetings and wondered whether re-opening in May might be too soon.

Carpenter said she was exploring re-opening strategies and intended to continue with web-based meetings.

“I share your concerns, Ron,” she said. “Please don’t think that I’m trying to start this before it’s safe.”

In other business, the council discussed a “notice of claim” filed by The Preserve LLC on Mar. 30 against the town by attorneys John Tarrantino and Nicole Benjamin. The claim seeks $100,000,000 for damages resulting from The Preserve’s treatment by town officials.

Owned by developer Paul Mihailides, 3,500-acre “Preserve Sporting Club and Residences” has been managed since Sept. 2020 by Ocean House Management LLC, which operates the Ocean House in Westerly.

The notice of claim, addressed to Richmond Town Solicitor Karen Ellsworth and the Town Council, accuses the town of discriminatory treatment which resulted in the loss of an opportunity to build a hotel on the property.

Ellsworth said she had asked that the document be added to the council agenda so it would be public information.

“Under state law, someone who is going to sue a municipality for money damages has to file a notice of claim 45 days before the suit is filed,” she said. “We have not been sued and this does not necessarily mean that we are going to be sued. This is just a notice of claim and if you would like to discuss it, we have to do that in executive session.”

The council agreed with Ellsworth’s recommendation that the notice of claim be referred to the town’s insurance carrier.

The council also heard an update by Town Planner Shaun Lacey on flooding mitigation in the Valley Lodge Estates and KG Ranch Road neighborhoods.
The Southern Rhode Island Conservation District was awarded a flood resiliency grant from the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service and has targeted that area of Richmond for a mitigation project, the engineering of which would be undertaken at no cost to the town.

“We’re still waiting on the allocation of funds from the federal offices over at NRCS down to the state, and we’re probably looking at five to six weeks out from that funding being made available,” Lacey said. “So still in a little bit of a holding pattern but we’re actually reasonably confident that the planning budget is probably going to be increasing, so that’s pretty good news.”

Lacey said a full presentation on the mitigation project would be provided to the council once the state has authorized the conservation district to proceed.

Please email if you would like to receive Town Council, Planning Board, Zoning Board and other updates or visit our website at


Thank you for your continued support. 



Beaver River Valley Community Association

bottom of page