Board Stalls Rhode Island Park Model Proposal
The planning board will wait until at least next month before it considers revised plans for the proposed Ocean State RV Resort in Bradford, R.I.
Board members had intended to conduct an informational public hearing and consider an amended master plan for the project on Tuesday (July 17) but decided by consensus to postpone both orders of business until their next regularly scheduled meeting on Aug. 21. Members expressed concerns about the outcome of a court case involving the project, the Westerly Sun reported.
Brian LaPlante, the lawyer representing neighbors opposed to the proposed development, recently filed an appeal of the Zoning Board’s May 3 decision to overturn a ruling by Zoning Officer Elizabeth Burdick, who had found that the proposed development would be a “mobile home park.” A mobile home park would not be allowed in Westerly, but the developers maintain they are proposing a campground with “park trailers” and are seeking a special use permit.
Charlestown developer Larry LeBlanc originally applied to develop a 225-unit facility on 59 acres at McGowan’s Corners in Bradford, adjacent to the intersection of Westerly Bradford, Bradford and Dunn’s Corners Bradford roads. The newly amended plans call for a 175-unit facility with a 75-foot buffer between the property boundary and the proposed units.
The developers have also committed in the new plans to improving the intersection at the proposed entrance to the facility and to providing a secondary means of emergency access. The overall density of the project has been reduced to three units per suitable acre from the previous four units per suitable acre. All of the proposed amendments were made in response to criticisms of the original plan made by Bradford residents and some planning board members.
The original proposal galvanized the neighbors, who formed McGowan’s Corners Neighborhood Association to fight the project. The association hired LaPlante.
The board’s decision to postpone action came over the objections of Vincent Naccarato, LeBlanc’s lawyer, who said the court case could take months to resolve.
“We’re going forward no matter what the court does,” Naccarato said, adding later that LeBlanc plans a recreational vehicle park, “whatever that is,” a reference to the debate over the definition of a recreational vehicle. Naccarato argues that park trailers are considered recreational vehicles under state law and town regulations, while Burdick has said the park trailers described by Naccarato are mobile homes of the type found in mobile home or trailer parks.
In urging the board to proceed, Naccarato also argued that his client had not yet been served with the appeal filed by LaPlante. But Jack Payne, the Planning Board solicitor, said the town had been served with the appeal.
About 30 residents were on hand for the Ocean State RV Resort portion of the meeting.