November 23, 2014
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Councilman withdraws ordinance for Highland Beach local parking only

Public safety issues, the capping of the Truk-Away Landfill and a public hearing in relation to a zone change were of concern at Wednesday’s council meeting.

Ward 5 Councilman John DelGiudice suggested withdrawing an ordinance he sponsored that would have required the installation of “Local Traffic Only” signs on Priscilla Avenue, Burnett Road and Ogden Avenue, streets that are located at the back exit of the new walking path at Rocky Point and exit out onto Highland Beach, as the Warwick Police Department recently conducted a study and did not recommend posting the signs.

DelGiudice said people are parking in the neighborhood, as opposed to the lot specified for Rocky Point visitors, because it’s a much shorter walk. He’s been hearing a lot of complaints as of late.

“The neighborhood’s becoming like a parking lot,” DelGiudice said.

Still, said DelGiudice, the WPD recommended against posting the signs, stating that they thought it was unconstitutional and unenforceable to make those streets local traffic only based on the fact that they are public streets and the public should be allowed on them.

Further, it would prohibit people who live on those streets to park on the side of the road or have guests park there.

DelGiudice said that with the recent purchase of Rocky Point, the problem would eventually solve itself.

“We’re going to have access going to Rocky Point and get parking lots closer to the beach so people don’t have to walk a mile and a half to get to the beaches,” he said. “I think time will heal it.”

Also, the council unanimously approved a resolution for the installation of a four-way stop sign at the intersection of Vohlander Street and Symonds Avenue. Ward 4 Councilman Solomon sponsored the resolution and said the WPD found a need for the signs after completing a traffic study.

Considering the items on the agenda and the recent complaints she’s heard from constituents regarding public safety issues such as speeding, Ward 3 Councilwoman Camille Vella-Wilkinson said that more attention must be given to these issues.

“Most of us who have walked during this campaign season have heard constituents say that people are blowing through stop signs [and] cutting through. We’ve got to come up with something,” she said. “If this isn’t going to work and it’s not enforceable, there’s got to be something we can do to tame this. This is a safety issue. I don’t have an answer, but this is a continuous complaint.”

Ward 1 Councilman Steve Colantuono offered some advice. He said that one of his constituents was unhappy with automobiles speeding by her home so she erected a political-style sign on her lawn that reads, “Drive as if your children live here.”

“Since she’s put that sign on her lawn she’s noticed the traffic and speeding to be much improved,” Colantuono said. “It may not be the answer, but it’s worth some commentary.”

The council also encouraged residents to avoid crafting their own traffic signs and posting them on city property, as Ward 9 Councilman Steven Merolla said has been the case with residents who live near Chelo’s on the Waterfront in Cowesett.

DelGiudice recalled a similar situation in the past, though this one involved a fake stop sign.

“Years ago, a person put up their own stop sign on the corner,” DelGiudice said. “It looked almost official – it was just slightly bigger than the ones the city used. But I had to take it down the same day it went up.”

Aside from public safety issues, for the second time within the last month or so, the council again decided to hold a resolution that asks the Department of Administration (DEM) to properly cap the Truk-Away landfill, located adjacent to property owned by the Rhode Island Airport Corporation for T.F. Green Airport.

Merolla, who sponsored the resolution with Vella-Wilkinson, said he just received information from DEM and asked to hold the resolution until the Oct. 10 meeting so he can add more language to the legislation.

Regardless, Vella-Wilkinson said that DEM conducted a study in August and verified there was exposed debris and recommended it be capped.

Vella-Wilkinson requested the study, as she feared erosion developed in the area and could potentially run into Buckeye Brook, as well as the land surrounding it.

Council President Bruce Place said the council recently received a letter from Buckeye Brook Coalition President Paul Earnshaw, who along with his organization strongly recommended passage of the ordinance.

In other business, the council unanimously approved first passage for an ordinance relative to a zone change. If it reaches second passage, it will allow the addition for the use of an office at 305 Centerville Road, which will be used by the construction company, Shoreline Properties, Inc.

Russell Bramley, an attorney from Haronian, Bramley & Harrington representing Shoreline, noted that the addition includes two stipulations, the first being that it cannot be used as a medical office, and the other prohibiting the owner to erect a fence to abutting landowner property.

Also, five Warwick residents were re-appointed to the Juvenile Hearing Board. They are: Judith Biernacki, Paul Evans, Jeffrey Miner, Linda Dale and Tracy McDermott.


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