Town Council Meeting, January 9 2023
On January 9th the Town Council met and discussed a number of issues, including:
(1) Developing guidelines for short-term rental properties (ie, AirBnB or VRBO). Left unchecked, these properties could become a nuisance in their neighborhoods and/or their proliferation could negatively impact the availability of housing in our community. On the other hand, we are concerned about establishing new bureaucratic requirements. We asked the Town management to more fully research what neighboring communities are doing on the issue, how we could structure any monitoring or requirements so that they would be self-sustaining cost-wise and minimally intrusive, and how we would manage any resource implications for the town's staff.
(2) Recently our voters approved a referendum permitting businesses involved in marijuana sales and related activities. The state has allocated a maximum of four permits in our zone, which includes Warwick and Cranston (East Greenwich is also in the zone, but their voters banned recreational retailers). Based on the NK voters' approval of recreational marijuana, the need to establish appropriate regulations and zoning, and the possibility of a new revenue stream, we asked the Town management to move forward expeditiously in developing an implementation plan with the goal of obtaining one retail license for the town.
(3) The Town Manager reported that through the efforts of Senator Jack Reed we will receive federal money to help install sidewalks on Post Road and West Main Street. Senator Reed has obtained an earmark for funding that, along with the money allocated by the state, should be sufficient to carry out this project. The project was previously approved by the state, but in the intervening time the costs have risen to such an extent that the state funding is no longer enough for the project.
(4) The Town Manager reported that the Town's proposed purchase of some 350 acres of mostly wooded and wetland land known as the Cruickshank property has been approved by the NRCS and will now proceed to be purchased by the Town (with federal and DEM funding assistance) and maintained by the Land Conservancy of North Kingstown. This property will be used by the public for hiking and other light recreational use and will remain open, without development.