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Board Continues Discussion of Aquifer Protection District - May 25th 2022

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By Cynthia Drummond for BRVCA

May 25th 2022

RICHMOND – Planning Board members discussed the town’s “Aquifer Protection Overlay District” zoning ordinance at the May 24 meeting, completing their evaluation of the list of activities in the district. They also considered a new draft of the ordinance itself, which includes procedural and compliance requirements as well as development standards.

The aquifer protection overlay district, the section of town that sits atop the drinking water aquifer, has been divided into two sub-districts, a groundwater and wellhead protection zone (Sub-district A) and a groundwater recharge zone (Sub-district B).

Board members had begun going through the use table at the April 26 meeting and completed their assessment on Tuesday. Each use in the table was considered in terms of its potential impact on the aquifer and whether it should be permitted, either by right or by special use permit, in one or both of the sub-districts.

Town Planner Shawn Lacey told board members,

“At our last workshop meeting, on the aquifer protection overlay drafts and as related to the use code table, we made it as far as page 10 in just reviewing the range of uses that were being proposed within the aquifer overlay Sub-district A, Sub-district B. So basically, at this time, I think we’re just picking up on where we last left off.”

Members went through the use code table, beginning with “repair services,” which were proposed as requiring a special use permit in Sub-district A, but were permitted by right in Sub-district B.

Several uses, members decided, should not be permitted in either sub-district. Those include pet cemeteries, dry cleaners,  metals fabrication and breweries.

Lacey said he would make the changes, and would also amend the zoning map.

“I need to get to work on actually creating an updated zoning map, because we have to create Sub-district A,” he said. “B, in effect already exists.”

The board also considered an amended draft aquifer protection overlay district ordinance. The first draft was presented to the board in April and Town Solicitor Karen Ellsworth has since added revisions to the ordinance, based on the board’s feedback.

Ellsworth noted, however, that in some categories, such as those involving water use, it would be necessary to solicit feedback from professionals with technical training.

“I reached the limit of my expertise with this entire draft, and I think what we need to do now is send it to somebody who actually knows about this stuff, because I think that for some stuff you want to take out and some stuff you want to put in, I don’t know, because I’m just not qualified,” she said.

Members agreed to ask experts, including a hydrogeologist, and Lorraine Joubert, who leads the University of Rhode Island’s Cooperative Extension Water Quality Program, to look at the amended ordinance and suggest improvements.

“We’ll have our consultant take a look at it, if we missed anything or we need to define it further,” Board Chair Philip Damicis said.


In other business, board members commented on proposed changes to the Planning Board website. The updated site will provide information on the jurisdiction and authority of the Planning Board, a current list of development applications and a flow chart showing how the application process works.

Lacey said the chart was a visual illustration of the stages of the process.

“It’s kind of basic,” he said. “It’s kind of like ‘here’s where you begin and here’s what’s involved and how the process becomes complete’.”

Board Vice Chair Nancy Hess said she thought it was important to explain that the approval process is determined by the state.

“I think we need to state that this review is dictated by the state,” she said.


A site visit, (an official Planning Board meeting and therefore, open to the public) will take place at 67 Stilson Road at 8 a.m. on Saturday, May 28.

Board members, accompanied by at least one representative of the applicant, Joseph Catelli, will consider the suitability of the site for the proposed “Stilson Trade Center,” involving the renovation of an existing warehouse and the construction of seven new warehouse buildings, which would be rented to tradespeople. The property is located in an industrial zone.



Beaver River Valley Community Association

P.O. Box 10, Shannock, RI 02875



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