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Board Approves Nooseneck Hill Road Preliminary Plan


By Cynthia Drummond for BRVCA


RICHMOND — Planning Board members have approved the preliminary plan for a four-lot conservation development on Nooseneck Hill Road.

At a public hearing during the Oct. 12 meeting, the board heard the application by the Oxford Development Group for the subdivision, which would be built on a 9.3 - acre parcel in a residential zone.

Representing the Oxford Development, Group, attorney John Kenyon said his client had first come before the board when he presented the pre-application in May 2020.

“There was also a site walk on May 23rd 2020,” Kenyon noted. “At that time, the Planning Board members had several suggestions as to the design, which included a conservation design and also the use of shared driveways.”

The application has already received the necessary state permits. Neal Hingorany, of Narraganset Engineering Inc., said the portion of the parcel conserved as open space, a key component of a conservation development, has grown and now comprises 60.4 percent of the total property.

Patricia Pouliot, whose property borders the proposed development, asked whether the home owners’ association that will maintain the shared driveway and own the open space might decide one day to allow the property to be developed.

“So the homeowners’ association can’t do anything with that property?” She asked.

Richmond Town Solicitor Karen Ellsworth responded, “That’s correct. They can’t.”

Board Chairman Philip Damicis said the four-lot subdivision was permitted by right.

“The board doesn’t really have, under the purview, the right to tell the applicant they just can’t develop their property,” he said. “The property’s currently zoned for residential development, so all the board can do is ensure that whatever development goes into that complies with the town’s regulations. I agree, from a conservation standpoint it’s not the most rural parcel. It didn’t start out that way and it’s not end up that way, however the conservation subdivision, it did allow the board and the applicant to have more flexibility in the site layout."


Comprehensive Plan update


Town Planner Shaun Lacey told the board that following comments from the Rhode Island Division of Statewide Planning on the draft of the town’s updated comprehensive plan, he would be proposing several amendments. The state must approve the new comprehensive plan before that new plan can take effect.

“I am not asking board members to take action at this time, but I just wanted to use this opportunity to share with you changes that I made to satisfy the state,” he said.

“It’s great progress,” Damicis said. “It’s good that the state is happy.”

Lacey said board members would be able to discuss the proposed amendments at their next meeting, on Oct. 26.

“I think our goal for the next meeting will be to share with you some of the text changes that Karen Ellsworth has been working on,” he said.


Joint Meeting


Before the meeting adjourned, there was a brief discussion of the upcoming joint Town Council and Planning Board special meeting to consider amending the town’s zoning to prohibit the commercial cultivation of marijuana in all districts. Commercial growing is currently permitted in some business and industrial zones, but compassion centers are prohibited in all zones.

Damicis wondered which body would run the joint meeting and another board member said she hoped the council chambers could be configured to provide participants with sufficient personal space during the meeting, which will be open to the public.

“I don’t want to sit right next to someone in a room,” Andrea Baranyk said. “I would still like to have some space.”

The special meeting, which can also be viewed online, will take place on Oct. 18 at 6 p.m..

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