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VIDEO-Split Vote Upholds Town’s Impact Mitigation Showing

5-4 Vote Affirms South Kingstown’s Prior Plan to Include Sacrificial Sand Reservoir During Seawall Construction

The Town's plan includes a sacrificial sand reservoir and replenishment. (Photo Tracey C. O'Neill 2014)

The Town’s plan includes a sacrificial sand reservoir and annual replenishment. (Photo Tracey C. O’Neill 2014)

Providence –  The Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC), in a three- hour meeting on Tuesday evening affirmed the Town of South Kingstown’s environmental impact mitigation plan as incorporated in its previously approved seawall and infrastructure project.

“Throughout the Red Book, public – the use conflict thing is public use throughout and that’s what your charge is, protecting the public use,” said Andrew M. Teitz, counsel to the Town. “That’s even what the judge was talking about. Your prime charge was in protecting the environment. What talks of use conflicts is public use conflicts which we conceivably have a public use conflict.”

Teitz went on to say that the  council’s duty was to consider the public use conflict already addressed by the Town and not specific private use conflicts.

“We have a public use conflict between the people who use that road, Matunuck Beach Road, that couldn’t get through to their homes and the people who use the water line under Matunuck Beach Road. That’s a conflict on one point and the people using the beach on the other. And that’s why we are here today. To show you that we have done all that we can, all reasonable means to minimize the public use conflicts. “

Furthur testimony clarified the public use conflict in terms of public access to the beach.

Video Short:

Town Plan Allows for Beach Access from Tracey O’Neill on Vimeo.

“Because we believe with that annual replenishment of the beach and Mr. Alfred’s testimony about this being open to the public, that there effectively won’t be a use conflict.”

Predicated on litigation filed by Kevin Finnegan, President of Hang Ten, LLC aka The Ocean Mist, the hearing was held to address specific court-ordered clarification issues relating to adverse environmental impact mitigation efforts and use conflicts.

In April, the Court remanded the issue to CRMC, upholding the agencies finding that the Town had ” “no reasonable alternative means” in protecting the sole access road and critical infrastructure leading into the seaside village. The Honorable Justice Stephen P. Nugent ordered:

2. “The Court reverses the CRMC’s finding that the Town took all reasonable steps to minimize the environmental and use conflicts arising from the construction of the proposed wall because the court finds that the CRMC’s determination on this issue was arbitrary and capricious.

3. For the reasons set forth supra, this issue is remanded to the CRMC for the limited purpose of affording it an opportunity to clarify and complete its decision in accordance with the Court’s opinion. “

The Council’s split vote came after several hours of presentation, including testimony from engineers for both parties, Finnegan and Alfred, before a standing room only conference room.

More to come…

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