Jul 28, 2014
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Letter: Rolling Greens Project Ignores Residents' Concerns

North Kingstown's elected and appointed public officials [turned] a public process into a fast track formality in order to serve the interest of a single developer, writes Rickey Thompson.

Letter: Rolling Greens Project Ignores Residents' Concerns

The intent of this letter is to expose the truth about the Rolling Greens proposal at the western intersection of Route 2/102 and express my disappointment and dismay with our North Kingstown elected and appointed public officials as they turn a public process into a fast track formality in order to serve the interest of a single developer.

The facts are clear that, excluding the two restaurants (Oatley’s and the Corner Tavern) and the former garden center, the majority of this area includes residential neighborhoods and farm land appropriately zoned residential. Additionally, located west of the Urban Service Boundary, the same residential zoning applies to the Rolling Greens property.

Shortly after purchasing the Rolling Greens property, without consideration to the surrounding neighborhoods the developer sought to increase his profits by petitioning the town to change a significant portion of his Rolling Greens property zoning to commercial. Despite the loud and clear message that residents are opposed to the Rolling Greens proposal, our public officials choose to ignore the real concerns that this proposal will have a negative impact on neighborhoods and home values.

With regards to the Rolling Greens proposal, which has morphed into a so-called the Rural Gateway proposal, my confidence in our town public officials has eroded to a point that my trust in them is all but gone. Here’s why.

  • Misleading, contradicting and inaccurate statements made by our town public officials.
  • Disregarding voter approval of an open space bond in which North Kingstown, Exeter and a private Donor invested millions of dollars to preserve this area.
  • Amending of the town’s Water Service Map adding the developer’s Rolling Green property at the same time they are removing 70% of North Kingstown properties from the same Water Service Map. It is also worth noting that while the majority of North Kingstown property is losing its water rights, another large property owned by the same Rolling Greens developer is not being removed from the town’s Water Service Map. Why? I also find it interesting that the Water Service Map amendments are conspicuously not being advertised with the Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Map changes.  Are you losing your water rights?       
  • Ignoring the town sponsored – town wide 2006 and 2013 Comprehensive Plan survey findings which clearly indicate that residents are not in favor of increased commercial development in this area.
  • Ignoring taxpayer paid consultant recommendation that “The Town of North Kingstown, with input from the Town of Exeter, property owners and abutters, should determine the appropriate direction for this area through public discourse. The town should continue to research and study different models of rural development that may be appropriate to this area of the community as part of that public process”.
  • Influencing the Stakeholder process with handpicked developer friendly participants ensuring that the results were in favor of the Rolling Green’s developer.
  • Working towards the elimination of the Urban Service Boundary ensuring the destruction of North Kingstown open space and farms to commercial development with results not seen since the commercial build out of Route 2 in Warwick.

As Residents anticipate the next and final phase of this fast tracked and abbreviated developer friendly process to be addressed by the Town Council on June 23th, I cannot help but recall two recent events. The first being an obviously flawed and subsequently exposed letter (published in the local newspapers) penned by our town manager in which he indicated that he wanted to set the facts straight.  Really? The second being a recent resident’s plea to our Planning Commission in which he spoke from his heart in advising our public officials that he felt “the fix is in." I openly ask our public officials if they care? Do you?

Rickey Thompson

North Kingstown

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