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Town Council Meeting Update for March 1st 2022


Council Hears Two Zoning Change Applications, Approves One


By Cynthia Drummond for BRVCA

March 1st 2022

RICHMOND — At an abbreviated meeting on Tuesday, March 1, 2022, the Town Council approved one zoning change application and continued the public hearing on a second application to the March 15 meeting. (The council meeting was shortened to allow members to attend the annual public hearing on the Chariho School District’s Fiscal Year 2023 budget, which took place that same evening.) During the first public hearing, the council approved amendments to the comprehensive plan and zoning map requested by the Mary R. Fasano, Revocable Trust, Mary R. Fasano and Ronald E. Fasano, for a parcel at 61 Tefft Hill Road.

The Fasano family, owners of a metal-working business currently located in Cranston, plan to relocate the business to a two-acre section of the 42- acre property, where their residences are already located.

In Nov. 2021, the Planning Board issued a recommendation that the council approve the application, which will change the comprehensive plan’s future land use designation of the two-acre parcel from residential to light industrial. The zoning map for the parcel, currently single-family residential, will become light industrial.

The Fasano family intends to build a metals fabrication facility on the property, which abuts Nooseneck Hill Road. Town Planner Shaun Lacey explained that the Planning Board approval was granted with one condition.

“Use of that portion of the re-zoned two acre portion be limited to metals fabrication,” he said.

Council Vice President James Palmisciano said he was pleased to see the recommendation from the Planning Board, but he wanted to understand the reason for the condition of approval.

“I’m just curious, too, if you could just re-state, for the people in this meeting, what is the reason that we are restricting to metals fabrication?,” he said.

Lacey explained that the board had not seen a need to expand the list of acceptable uses.

“There was a discussion amongst the board that if that was the intent of what the applicants wanted to do, there really would be no reason to extend the list of uses beyond that, and I think that was really the primary reason,” he said. “It was tailor made to support the applicants’ desire.”

Palmisciano said he wanted to ensure that the condition would not prohibit the Fasanos from applying in the future for other uses, which would be considered on a case by case basis. The council then approved the Fasano application.


No Decision on Water Treatment Company Proposal


At the second public hearing, council members heard an application by Lawrence Casey, owner of Aqua Science, for comprehensive plan and zoning map amendments at 301 and 310 Nooseneck Hill Road.

Lacey explained the details of the application.  “The applicants objective is to re-zone these two properties from R-2 [single-family residential] to light industrial, which would facilitate Aqua Science, which is a long-standing water-softening equipment supplier, to expand business operations,” he told the council. “Similar to previous applications, the project also includes a comprehensive plan amendment to change the future land use map from medium - density residential to light industrial.”

The Planning Board, after hearing the application last November, had voted to recommend that the council approve the proposed amendments however, Lacey explained that as with the Fasano application, the board imposed a condition of approval of the Aqua Science proposal, limiting the use of the re-zoned property to warehousing. Council President Nell Carpenter said she had been approached by abutting property owner Wilson Knerr who had concerns about the re- zone.

“Mr. Knerr has expressed a concern of diverted water and he also expressed concerns of potential wetlands,” she said. Lacey responded that residents’ concerns would be addressed during the Planning Board’s review of the proposal.

“There’s a number of things that we have to consider before making any decision on any development,” he said. “I think, in response to Willy’s concerns, by simply re-zoning the site from one zone to another doesn’t necessarily bring out any potential concerns from that point of view. It’s more of a site-specific concern that would be raised at the time of actual permit review.”  Councilors discussed the condition restricting Casey’s use of the re-zoned parcel to warehousing. Palmisciano said he understood the need for the town to control future development, but he was also concerned about the additional burden it placed on business owners. Casey told the council that his business had grown to the point where he needed a warehouse to store materials and supplies. But he also noted that he hoped to offer space to other trades.

“We are busting at our seams,” he said. “We’re a success story. We have a family business. What I’m looking for is to continue that family business, to build an additional warehouse at 301 Nooseneck Hill Road where we now do our internet business as well as our service business, and they’re two different businesses. And our vision is to move across the street in a couple of years and build a warehouse that will support strictly our internet business as well as our local suppliers that we support and support our business, making those into two different businesses. Also an opportunity, because this is nine buildable acres dividing up that to 120-some thousand square feet, give or take, of buildings that would be tradesmen’s buildings for the trades...where they can come out of their back yards and into a zone that is a commercial zone.”

Casey’s proposal for the construction of additional buildings for trades people would not conform to the condition proposed by the Planning Board that the re-zoned land be used only for a warehouse, and, therefore, will now require that town staff determine additional use codes for the proposed zoning and comprehensive plan amendments. The council continued the hearing to March 15, by which time the use codes will have been determined.


In other business, the council set the date for the Financial Town Meeting to June 13, at 7 p.m., at Richmond Elementary School.





Beaver River Valley Community Association

P.O. Box 10, Shannock, RI 02875



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