October 22, 2014
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Council approves station transit development plan

In contrast to the recent City Council meeting on airport expansion, last Monday’s gathering at City Hall was tame.

A few claims were granted and a handful of resolutions and ordinances unanimously passed, including a resolution that approved the Warwick Station Transit Oriented Development Plan project agreement between the state of Rhode Island and the city of Warwick.

“We’re talking about creating a place of higher identity and pride to the city of Warwick and it will provide considerable opportunities for work and shopping and leisure,” said Ward 3 Councilwoman Camille Vella-Wilkinson, who co-sponsored the resolution with Ward 1 Councilman Steven Colantuono. “This master plan would create a walkable community and make that part of Warwick a destination, which ties in beautifully with the train station and airport.”

According to Planning Director William DePasquale, the total of the grant awarded is $1,059,000. The state provides a 20 percent match and there will be no local involvement in terms of funding.

“It’s a real win,” he said at the meeting. “The idea is to create an infrastructure that attracts business. The federal program is designed just to entice that type of development.”

With that, Council President Bruce Place, Ward 6 Councilwoman Donna Travis, Ward 5 Councilman John DelGiudice, Ward 8 Councilman Ray Gallucci and Ward 9 Councilman Steven Merolla were added on as sponsors.

Further, an ordinance regarding a renewable energy resource system exemption gained second passage on a unanimous vote. Colantuono and Ward 8 Councilman Ray Gallucci sponsored the ordinance on behalf of Mayor Scott Avedisian.

Also, an ordinance regarding traffic-calming measures for Lippitt School reached first passage. Sponsor Ward 3 Councilwoman Camille Vella-Wilkinson said there has been a traffic study conducted near Lippitt and requested favorable action as a result of the findings.

A similar resolution concerning school bus only signs at the school also unanimously passed, as did a resolution requesting an enterprise zone for the gateway and Intermodal zones. Merolla was the sponsor and Vella-Wilkinson asked to be added on as a co-sponsor.

Moreover, a claim that involved fallen tree branches that caused damage to vehicles was approved, although the administration’s recommendation was to deny.

The council decided to approve the claim of Greenwood residents Laura and Ronald Perry, as they were under the impression that a verbal explanation to Warwick Tree Warden Fred DeNoncour was a sufficient way to notify the city that the tree needed work. Typically, residents must fill out a work order in writing.

At the meeting, Laura said she flagged down DeNoncour one day when he was in her neighborhood and told him of the issue. Shortly after, branches fell from the tree and crashed into her car, as well as the windshield of Ronald’s vehicle, causing extensive damage. At the time, Ronald was in his car.

“It was like somebody hit my windshield with a baseball bat,” he said. “It broke into four pieces.”

Because they thought they made the city aware of the issue and someone would attend to the tree, DelGiudice suggested the city finance a portion of the claim.

“It’s hard for our tree warden to remember every tree he looks at, but we should take half the accountability,” said DelGiudice. “Maybe it was misunderstood what he said. It’s not a clear-cut situation.”

After brief discussion, the council awarded the Perrys $314 for Laura’s car, as well as $157 for Ronald’s vehicle.

Two other claims, one involving a sanitation vehicle and another involving a pothole, were approved, as well.

Resident Richard Meckes was awarded $344.67 because a sanitation vehicle recently damaged his truck while he was at a stoplight. He said the arm of the vehicle protruded and struck his truck.

“It just came out,” Meckes said. “God forbid I was on a motorcycle or walking. Thank God no one got hurt.”

Moreover, resident Louise Pasco was granted $300 because of an unattended pothole on Hardig Road. She said she was recently headed north in her vehicle on Hardig Road when the altercation occurred.

“It’s not well lit at all,” she said. “I literally sunk right into it and it ruined both my tires and wheel rims on the passenger side, front and back.”

Merolla spoke in her defense.

“This is the same claim we had about a year and a half, two years ago,” he said. “It’s in the same location. The road floods out and breaks up. They’ve got to pave over there and do some drainage. I drive the road every day and it’s like that because it gets washed out. The water comes up over the stream.”

Louise’s husband, Todd, agreed. He said when he filed the police report; the officer informed him that he was the third person who reported the pothole.


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