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RI Coastal Resources Management Council

...to preserve, protect, develop, and restore coastal resources for all Rhode Islanders

In accordance with notice to members of the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council’s Planning and Procedures subcommittee, a meeting of the subcommittee was held on Tuesday, March 21, 2006 at 5 p.m. at the office of Piccerelli Gilstein & Co., 144 Westminster St., Providence, RI.

MEMBERS PRESENT

STAFF PRESENT

Michael M. Tikoian, Chairman

Grover Fugate, Executive Director

Paul Lemont, Vice Chair

Jeff Willis, Deputy Director

Russ Chateauneuf, DEM

James Boyd, Coastal Policy Analyst

 

Laura Ricketson, Public Outreach & Education Coordinator

 

Brian Goldman, Legal Counsel

Call to order.  Mr. Tikoian called the meeting to order at 5:10 p.m.

Mr. Tikoian opened the meeting with a brief statement of the subcommittee’s function and purpose.  The Planning and Procedures subcommittee meeting is an open public meeting; it is not a public hearing.  Therefore, discussion is available to the Council members themselves, and to all else at the allowance of the Chairman.  Mr. Tikoian further explained that the subcommittee is the program and policy development arm of the Council, and that any programmatic decisions made by this group must ultimately be approved by the full Council in accordance with all proper procedures.

Mr. Tikoian made a statement as to why the subcommittee meetings are held at his offices, Piccerilli Gilstein & Company.  Mr. Tikoian stated that the meetings are held at Piccerilli Gilstein & Company to facilitate a number of issues: ease of transition from the previous location (CRMC’s Providence office at 40 Fountain Street) which had to be changed because the Council’s downtown office was closed due to budget cuts; accommodation of subcommittee members whose work locations and/or residences are in or near to Providence; and, it’s cost to the agency: free.  Mr. Lemont reiterated the fact that the accommodation of members is a key issue for participation in any work of the Council; and, the wear and tear on personal vehicles is high enough and that by holding the meetings in Providence, costs can be kept to a minimum.  Also, Mr. Lemont wanted the record to reflect that the Chairman should be congratulated for letting the subcommittee use his company’s office space for these meetings because it addresses the many concerns raised above.

Mr. Tikoian asked for a motion to approve the subcommittee’s meeting minutes of February 22, 2006.

Mr. Lemont, seconded by Mr. Tikoian, moved to approved the February 22, 2006 meeting minutes.   All voted in favor of the motion.

Mr. Tikoian welcomed Betsy Nicholson, NOAA/OCRM, who met with staff during the day, and is the federal coastal program specialist assigned to Rhode Island.  Mr. Tikoian thanked Ms. Nicholson for her continued assistance in coordinating Council-issues and requests within OCRM.

Item 4.A.  Narrow River and Salt Pond Region SAMPs – Open Space Lots and Land Use Classifications.  G. Fugate explained the issue of open space lots proposed in subdivisions in the Narrow River and Salt Pond Region SAMPs.  In speaking with local planners, developers are being asked to create open space lots in their subdivision proposals, yet that is being interpreted by developers that such lots do not count as a lot for CRMC jurisdictional purposes, and subsequently, some subdivision proposals are for developments of five (5) lots or less, exclusive of the open space lot(s).  In this example, however, developers make the argument that they are only creating a five lot subdivision, as there are only five lots intended for development. With the open space lot(s), the subdivision now contains six (6) or more lots. G. Fugate explained that when a subdivision project contains six or more lots, it meets the threshold established under the CRMP and Rhode Island General Laws as a major subdivision (See R.I.G.L. § 45-23-32(22)). Once a subdivision project meets the regulatory threshold (i.e., 6 lots), it must adhere to the applicable density requirements of the SAMP in which the project is located.

G. Fugate and J. Boyd explained that arguments center around the fact that development projects are being penalized for creating open space, especially when the open space lot(s) cause a jurisdictional threshold to be met (ie: the Council’s density requirements).  This leads to conventional subdivision projects as opposed to proposals that seek to minimize impacts such as cluster developments (more open space, less road development, less utility corridors, etc…).  G. Fugate and J. Boyd also explained that the current SAMP requirements encourage cluster developments, but don’t necessarily provide incentives to reach that objective.

J. Boyd passed out a brief issue-position memo to the subcommittee, that should they agree, staff would pursue to develop a potential program revision to address this issue.  J. Boyd explained that he will work with local planners to further flesh-out the issues.  G. Fugate explained the benefits of partnering with the municipal planners.

After consideration of the memo, the subcommittee directed staff to develop language for a program revision that addresses the issues discussed and presented for the subcommittee’s consideration at its next meeting.

Item 4.B.  Metro Bay SAMP – Urban Coastal Greenways.  G. Fugate gave a presentation to the subcommittee on the direction and status of the development of the Metro Bay SAMP’s Urban Coastal Greenways regulations, in development with the four Metro Bay cities and numerous community and civic groups with an interest in this area.

To date, the staff has worked with the Metro Bay SAMP’s Partnership group (similar to a CAC) to develop these regulations.  Staff has also worked closely with the public, through workshops primarily, but also with one-on-one meetings with numerous community groups, to explain and incorporate their comments as applicable.  G. Fugate also explained how the Metro Bay SAMP development is generally being revised first with the UCG component, to be followed by the more traditional planning approach where updated issue chapters will be developed for discussion and hopeful incorporation. 

The subcommittee asked several questions of G. Fugate.  Mr. Tikoian thought that given the scope of many  potential development projects in the Metro Bay SAMP area, that a public notice period be a prerequisite of the SAMP.  Discussion ensued that also acknowledged that the UCG policies reduce and many times eliminate the need for variances, so that applications should be able to receive administrative review.  The subcommittee felt that public notice could be provided and approval could be granted administratively when no substantive objections were received.  A discussion on the length of the notice ensued, where B. Goldman noted that any change from a 30-day notice period (as set in the Council’s Management Procedures) would also need to be revised as a program change.  Mr. Lemont asked about the Habitat Fund proposed in the UCG and if it would be a restricted account.  G. Fugate explained that legislation is proposed that would create the ability of the Council to receive funds from development projects subject to UCG requirements and have such funds deposited into the state’s OSPAR account.  The funds derived would have to be used for restoration projects (as allowed under OSPAR) in the Metro Bay SAMP area.

Mr. Tikoian congratulated G. Fugate and his staff for their work in developing the UCG and coordinating its development with the municipalities, and with the many and varied local interests and community groups that have been involved in the development of the UCG over the past year. 

Mr. Tikoian asked G. Fugate when the UCG would be ready for the subcommittee to consider it for potential rule-making.  G. Fugate explained that staff is making some necessary formatting changes to the UCG, and the first workshop could be held as early as the end of this month.  G. Fugate also suggested that a subcommittee meeting could be held that would also act as a workshop on the UCG.  If the subcommittee approved the UCG for rule-making at that point, staff would begin the rule-making process and seek public comment.  A second workshop would be held if necessary. 

Item 5.A and 5.B.  Narragansett and Middletown HMPs.  J. Willis explained that both HMPs have been reviewed by staff, with generally favorable reviews as being consistent with the Council’s HMP Guidelines. 

The Narragansett HMP has been approved by its town council, and has not yet received a DEM water quality permit.  Staff has found that while the HMP addresses and is consistent with the Council’s HMP Guidelines overall, the section that addresses outhauls – and which gives the town direct authority to regulate these tidal water structures – is not.  Since outhauls are structures in tidal waters, the jurisdiction lies with the Council.  Additionally, J. Willis noted that the subcommittee recently approved rule-making to begin for RICRMP regulations that address outhauls.  The subcommittee discussed and felt that the Narragansett HMP should be made aware of the Council’s rule-making for outhauls and subsequently have the town address the issue in their HMP prior to sending it for CRMC approval.  Staff was directed to generate a letter to the municipality explaining how the HMP needs to address the outhaul issue relative to the Council’s rule-making on the same.  The letter will come from the Executive Director.

Staff also found that the Middletown HMP addresses and is consistent with the Council’s HMP Guidelines and has asked the town to address minor issues for better consistency.  The Middletown HMP has not received town approval but that is expected soon.  Mr. Chateauneuf asked if the town addressed issues relative to pumpouts and SAV.  According to the staff reviewer, both issues have been addressed.

J. Willis concluded that both plans will soon be seeking Council approval, and as many as three others are being finalized at the municipal level – with staff technical assistance.

ADJOURN.  Mr. Lemont seconded by Mr. Chateauneuf moved to adjourn at 6:42 p.m.  All voted in favor of the motion.

 

Respectfully submitted March 22, 2006 by

Jeffrey M. Willis

Deputy Director

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