Neighbors committed to saving Sand Pond

By John Howell
Posted 8/28/18

By JOHN HOWELL Mayor Joseph Solomon won some votes Saturday and he didn't have to put a toe into the pristine waters of Sand Pond. The occasion was the first ever Sand Pond Palooza, a gathering of watercraft on the pond and an audience on the pond beach,

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Neighbors committed to saving Sand Pond

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Mayor Joseph Solomon won some votes Saturday and he didn’t have to put a toe into the pristine waters of Sand Pond.

The occasion was the first ever Sand Pond Palooza, a gathering of watercraft on the pond and an audience on the pond beach, intent on stopping the development of a three-story, 630-unit self-storage facility at Pond Plaza on Post Road. The intent of the Palooza, according to organizer Jane Allsworth, was to have some fun, show off the pond and bring together the neighborhood.

It was more than that. Ward 2 Councilman Jeremy Rix was in attendance, as was Senator Michael McCaffrey and then, later in the afternoon, Mayor Solomon. Solomon didn’t pass up an opportunity to speak to the group on an introduction made by pond neighbor David Bouchard.

Bouchard praised City Planner William DePasquale who, since former Mayor Scott Avedisian resigned to head the Rhode Island Transit Authority, also serves as Solomon’s chief of staff. Last September, the neighborhood turned out in force to oppose master plan approval for the self-storage facility. The Planning Board found the development non-compliant with the city’s comprehensive plan.

It’s wasn’t the end of the fight.

Project developer PRW Holdings LLC appealed to the Zoning Board of Review earlier this year. DePasquale stood firmly opposed. Basing its decision on technical aspects of city ordinances and the Planning Board decision, the Zoning Board overturned the planning board. Now PRW is seeking two special permits from the Zoning Board to proceed with the development.

“I wasn’t going to vote for him unless he showed up,” said one of the neighbors selling “Save Sand Pond” t-shirts, referring to Solomon. The sale of the shirts supports a fund to support the legal battle ahead. The mayor called the pond a “hidden treasure.” He spoke of his 100 days in office, how he named DePasquale his chief of staff and DePasquale’s passion for the city.

“We have listened; we are in agreement; let’s save the pond,” he said.

It would appear to be a victory for the neighborhood, yet the group isn’t letting up. Bouchard spoke of how the group has evolved since first appearing before the Planning Board. He said they have united and are no longer naïve and trusting; “we are resolute to have government by the people, for the people.”

Raising the prospect the Zoning Board could approve the special use permits, Rix urged the neighbors not to back off; to “investigate” plans for the development. “Keeping up the fight is so important.”

McCaffrey spoke of his childhood experiences, recalling how he skated on the small pond that is part of the larger pond and then being permitted to play hockey on Sand Pond when the ice was deemed safe. Former city councilman and a member of the planning board until his resignation last year, James Desmaris said if built the self-storage unit would be the highest building on Post Road other than the terminal at Green Airport between Apponaug and Pawtuxet.

“We have to go to every meeting and stop them,” he said.

As of Monday, a hearing before the Zoning Board had not been scheduled.

K. Joseph Shekarchi, attorney for the developer, said Monday the hearing will not be held Sept. 11 as originally scheduled and more likely in October, or perhaps as late as November. He said when it comes before the board, “the presentation will be based on facts, not emotion.”

Comments

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richardcorrente

Originally, I was in favor of the storage units at Sand Pond. I met the developers and found them to be credible, honest businessmen. Then, I spoke to resident after resident that opposed the project. They asked me "How can the developer control any toxic substances being stored at their facility?" "What will happen when the rain washes away whatever gets poured on the ground?" It made me take a second look.

The homeowners are right. My original assessment was wrong. Sand Pond is pristine. The water quality is excellent. It has to be preserved. I am a proud member of Friends of Warwick Ponds and the vast majority of our membership is very opposed to this project. You can add my name to that growing list with a sincere apology for not realizing it sooner.

Happy August everyone.

Rick Corrente

The Taxpayers Mayor

Wednesday, August 29, 2018
wwkvoter

Corrente the taxpayers panderer writes:

" I was in favor of the storage units at Sand Pond"

"I am a proud member of Friends of Warwick Ponds"

How could any member of FWP even originally favor this industrial add-on to a pristine pond? Never mind. In 14 Days 5 Hours and 1 Minute from now, it wont matter.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018
CrickeeRaven

WwkVoter, it is certainly no coincidence that the make-believe mayor is admitting to his poor judgment just two weeks before the primary -- as you and I have discussed, he is clearly seeing the end of another futile campaign and doing anything he can to get votes.

As he admits, the make-believe mayor favored business expansion over preserving the pond until he actually spoke with people who live near it.

And as we know, this one admission pales in comparison to the many, many lies he has repeated on this site, making his "sincere apology" far less credible.

You rightly point out that, in two weeks' time, these pathetic self-reflections by a candidate who has so often humiliated himself with his use of this website for free political advertising will simply no longer matter.

His campaign will fail yet again, and his empty slogans will be forgotten.

I look forward to joining you and thousands of honest, open-space preserving, taxpaying voters in overwhelmingly rejecting his candidacy again on Sept. 12.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018
richardcorrente

Dear WwkVoter,

Good question. Here is your answer. Because I didn't just follow the crowd. I did "due diligence" about this project, met with the developer, asked several hard questions, attended and spoke at the City Council meeting, expressed my concerns and finally decided, at that time that it was a safe project. As time went on I learned more information about how toxic waste could soak into the ground even with the strictest prevention measures and I changed my opinion.

How's that?

You were wrong about me except that comment about "Corrente the taxpayer panderer". I am the only candidate that is. That's why I call myself "The Taxpayers Mayor". Thanks for noticing.

Happy August everyone.

Rick Corrente

The Taxpayers Mayor

Thursday, August 30, 2018
CrickeeRaven

WwkVoter, once again we witness the make-believe mayor's inability to keep from humiliating himself even further.

"I did 'due diligence' about this project," he writes, before admitting that he only spoke to the business interests looking to build the storage facility in making his initial decision to support it.

That's not due diligence. His belated discussions with people who actually live near the pond -- only after they held a public event to raise awareness of the pending decision about the proposal -- could have been considered due diligence if he'd had them in the beginning.

Luckily, we have less than two weeks of his pandering statements and fake title to endure before thousands of honest, taxpaying voters reject his candidacy again on Sept. 12.

Thursday, August 30, 2018