15 Sep 2014
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Oyster Road Issues Not Cracked Yet

The Narragansett Town Council asks staff to work with a resident in order to find a compromise, as opposed to formally taking an action.

NARRAGANSETT – The Narragansett Town Council has asked its support staff to work with resident Mary McCaffrey toward a solution about issues on Oyster Road in Great Island, as opposed to adopting a formal resolution.

The direction passed by a 5-0 margin at Monday night’s town council meeting. At issue is whether road work in the summer of 2011 shrunk the roadway size and driveway of McCaffrey's home.

According to memos prepared by Town Manager Grady Miller and Town Engineer Jeff Ceasrine (see attached PDF), the paved size is roughly the same, just in a slightly different place on the road.

However, at Monday’s meeting McCaffrey insisted that the roadway had shrunk. She also insinuated that Ceasrine and other town officials had acted improperly in allowing work on a larger house on her road.

This insinuation caused Ceasrine to angrily deny that charge, and the council asked both Ceasrine and McCaffrey to pare back and work together toward a mutually-satisfying decision.

According to memos prepared by Ceasrine, an examination of aerial photographs of Oyster Road pre- and post-construction show a roadway of about 12 to 14 feet, with a three-foot shoulder on both sides. Based on a Google Maps aerial view, there are about six houses on the road.

Ceasrine offered four options to the council:

1)   Do nothing. Given its location on Great Island, Ceasrine wrote, “Oyster Road is no different than many other short dead-end streets with extremely low traffic volumes. There are other similar examples literally within sight of Oyster Road itself on Great Island. The road was constructed in 2011, and, in my opinion, meets the appropriate functional classification (low volume, dead end residential street).”

2)   Increase the width of the pavement or adding a shoulder. This option would require easements from the homeowners, approval from the Coastal Resources Management Council, constructing a water quality treatment system and extensively remodeling the existing pavement.

3)   Reconstructing the road. Ceasrine placed the initial price estimate at $15,000 for this, with the caveat that asphalt prices are up 8 percent for 2012 vs. 2011 and that such a small project would most likely have a surcharge from a construction company.

4)   Adding a shoulder to one side of the road. Ceasrine noted that there was not enough town property on either side of the road to do this without obtaining an easement. The price was pegged at about $2,500.

Ceasrine advised that the town follow option No. 1.

He wrote, “Widening a short, dead-end road that services a handful of homes will cost significantly more than it is worth, and begs the obvious question – do we adopt the same approach for all other similar situations? In terms of available time and money, our pavement management program will suffer from that strategy.”

According to town records on Vision Appraisal, Mary and Scott McCaffrey bought their home at 4 Oyster Road in January 1992. The home and the land were most recently assessed to have a combined value of $741,600.

We’ll have more from Monday night’s town council meeting later today and tomorrow. To get an e-mail when those stories go up, click the “keep me posted!” button below.

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