June 24, 2008

Town Council Clarifies Marina Park Usage

By Katie Mulvaney

SOUTH KINGSTOWN -- Billing it as largely a housekeeping matter, the Town Council last night created a marina special management district that would allow Java Madness and other leaseholders in the Marina Park area to operate their businesses with set standards in place.

The council unanimously agreed to Comprehensive Plan and zoning ordinance amendments that would change the zoning designation of 7.5 acres of town-owned waterfront from government/institution to Public Marina Special Management District.

The town leases on a long-term basis to the Point Judith Yacht Club, the Stone Cove and Ram Point marinas and the University of Rhode Island. J.G. Goff's restaurant and Java Madness also hold leases in the area, which features a comfort station, boat ramps and parking just off Route 1.

While marinas are allowed in the government zone, there were no set standards for leaseholders to follow, Planning Director L. Vincent Murray told the council at its meeting in Town Hall. Java Madness, for example, technically was not allowed, he said. Similarly, boat storage was not permitted.

The zoning changes permit boat storage, and restaurants with and without alcohol, in the district. A business could also seek a special-use permit to offer accessory entertainment.

Java Madness now has an application to provide entertainment before the zoning board, Town Manager Stephen Alfred said.

It makes the town's third special management district. The others are on Kingstown Road and off Route 1 at the Village at South County Commons. The state will review the Comprehensive Plan changes, Murray said.

IN OTHER MATTERS, the council approved changes to the zoning map that cleared the way for the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of South County to buy the Lily Pads Professional Center, in Peace Dale.

After years of holding services in living rooms, libraries and American Legion halls, the135-member church plans to offer services and Sunday school classes there.

The changes in use codes approved last night provide for religious services and a daycare center. But a daycare center would need development-plan review by the Planning Board.

In addition, the council rejected John H. Davis's proposal to build a three-bedroom home at Springdale Drive and Ledgewood Road, saying the town has a zero-tolerance policy toward disturbing freshwater wetlands and has denied similar requests in the vicinity.

The lot had been assessed as unbuildable since 1990. Davis, of Evergreen, Colo., purchased the nearly half-acre site for $15,900 in 1991.

The project came before the council as part of the state Department of Environmental Management's review process for wetlands alterations. About .03 acres of wetlands would have been disturbed.

The Conservation Commission also opposed the project because of environmental concerns.

While marinas are allowed in the government zone, there were no set standards for leaseholders to follow.


Kingstown [email protected] / (401) 277-7417

Originally published by Katie Mulvaney, Journal Staff Writer.

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