HistWick Newsletter: We are Making a Difference.




Town Council Votes to Limit Wickford Sewers to Commercial Properties



In response to the overwhelming opposition from the owners of residential property in the area, the Town Council voted to limit the proposedWickfordVillagesewer project to commercial properties only.

The line will serviceBrown Street;Mainfrom #20 to the Wickford Package Store; and any commercial properties on Phillips along the way to a pump station at Wickford El. Most parcels would be served by a “low pressure” main that requires a holding tank and macerator pump be installed in each basement. Each lot of record would be assessed at least one Equivalent Dwelling Unit (EDU). Properties with high water usage would be assessed more than one. The base cost is estimated at $2.97 million or $57,100 per EDU. Connection and maintenance costs are the responsibility of the individual property owners.

The status and participation of Wickford El is unclear at this point. Including that project would add $1.9 million to the cost but lower slightly the assessment per EDU.

Residential properties abutting the line would not be subject to assessment UNLESS they choose to connect.

While the council has approved the project in principle many details need to be worked out and a special town-wide election will be required for a bond issue.

We want to thank everyone who helped with the survey and thank the town council for their response.

You may also want to view the Northeast Independent article.

 

Sewers: Town Council Discussions Continue



The Town Council continued it’s discussions about bringing sewers to Wickford and it appears that our feedback and that of others is being heard.  New options were presented.

The Northeast Independent article appeared this Thursday In summary

  • “The Town Council has unanimously approved the extension of sewers to the north end of Post Road– from Route 403 to School Street– and turned down plans to install sewer lines in the Shore Acres residential neighborhood. The question of whether to bring sewers to Wickford remains unresolved, and the council plans to continue that discussion at Monday night’s meeting.”

See the full article: Council approves sewers for north end of Post Road.

HistWck Board member Larry Ehrhardt has written the following report on the discussion on sewering Wickford at last night’s Town Council meeting including details on the new options.

Town Council meeting January 16, 2014

The NK Town Council took three important steps relating to sewer projects at their January 16 meeting.

  1. Voted to extend the sewer project north along thePost Roadfrom Quonset toSchool Street. The bond issue will require voter approval. It was not decided whether to hold a special election or wait until November.
  2. VOTED TO NOT PURSUE PLANS for extending sewers to Cedarhurst and Shore Acres. There was little discussion but the impression given was that the lack of resident support (53% opposed, only 47% for) was the deciding factor.
  3. Received, but did not act on, several new alternatives for the Wickford sewer project. The most important, Alternative F is discussed below.

 Alternative F recognizes the tremendous opposition by owners of residential property to earlier plans.

  • It focuses on providing service only to the Wickford business district on Brown Street; Main from #20 to the Wickford Package Store; the south side of Phillips to #145; and Wickford El. It would cover 102 Equivalent Dwelling Units of which 16 are residential and 86 are commercial. The average cost/EDU would be $65,000. The consultant raised the idea of charging residential properties a lower amount, $25,000., which would raise the commercial rate to $73,000. If the 16 residential properties were excluded, the commercial rate would rise to $77,000./EDU.
  • It was mentioned that the Wickford El project would be rated at 37 EDU which means it could be facing an assessment of well over $2 million.

Alternatives G and H built on F by extending service up Boone to Tower Hill and adding many more residential properties. If the added residential properties were assessed at the same $25,000 rate, the commercial rate would still remain fairly high. Based on our survey results and last night’s speakers, there should be no interest in pursuing either of those alternatives.

Next Steps

  • The Director of the Chamber of Commerce stated she would hold a meeting of their members to determine their level of interest a cost/EDU in the $70,000+ range.
  • The council will continue its deliberations at their next meeting (January 27?).
  • In the meantime we will try to survey the 16 affected homeowners on Brown and Phillips Street to ensure they are heard.
  • Owners of commercial property should consider their interest at these cost levels and make sure the council is aware of their conclusions.

HistWick Sewer Survey Results – UPDATED



Background

As a service to their members, the Board of Directors of HistWick  conducted a survey of the residential property owners within Wickford’s historic district. The owners were given a summary of the November 25 Town Council presentation and discussion of Wickford sewer alternatives as well as a link to the recording of the council meeting so they could be fully briefed on the subject.  (See earlier News post for summary)

Each property owner was asked whether they supported or opposed bringing the sewer line to their street at the relevant cost per Equivalent Dwelling Unit (EDU) shown in the presentation.

The survey results which were reported to the Town Council on January 10th show a clear majority opposed to the options under discussion.  Subsequently, a new Alternative (F) was proposed, one which focuses on the business district but includes some residential properties.   HistWick then made a second effort to reach residents impacted by Alternative F and sent a letter on January 25th with those results so the Town Council would have them before their next meeting on January 27th.

The letters, with the survey results, follow.

January 25th Letter – Alternative F

At your meeting on January 16 you received a new proposal, Alternate F, that focused on the Wickford business district. You were told that the plan encompassed 86 commercial Equivalent Dwelling Units (EDU) and 16 residential EDU’s. While the average cost/EDU would be $64,910. the consultant suggested that the 16 residential units might be assessed at a lower rate of $25,000. I told you that HistWick had not previously surveyed those residential units but that we would do so prior to your next meeting. As before, the survey consisted of asking owners of residential property whether they supported or opposed bringing the sewer line to their house at the costs per EDU shown in the council presentation.

It soon became apparent that there was a discrepancy regarding the residential count that only included 16 properties south of Phillips Street. It turns out that there are also three such properties on Brown Street and one, two-family house on West Main. While the status of some properties may require closer review by the town it appears there may be as many as 20 in all.

We were able to contact 15 residential property owners with the following results:

  • 12 opposed
  • 1 for
  • 2 no response

We hope the council will give these results serious consideration.

Sincerely,

Laurence W. Ehrhardt

on behalf of the

Board of Directors

 

January 10th Letter – Alternatives A-E

In our letter to you dated December 10, 2013 we reported on the results of a survey of the residential property owners within Wickford’s historic district as to whether they supported or opposed bringing the sewer line to their street at the relevant cost per Equivalent Dwelling Unit (EDU) shown in November’s council presentation.

The number of responses has increased from just over 100 in December to 138! An overwhelming majority of 115 or 83% are opposed to the proposals for residential service. Updated survey results are as follows:

MAIN STREET & EAST (all neighborhoods added in Alternative E)

There are approximately 150 properties in this area of which 140 are residential and the remainder owned by churches, marinas, a club and one retail business.

Responses were received for 86 of the 140 residential properties, a response rate of 61%. Opponents (67) outnumbered supporters (10) by a ratio of almost seven to one. There were 8 undecided and 1 abstention.

WEST MAIN STREET & NEWTOWN (neighborhoods added in Alternative D)

There are approximately 48 properties in this area of which 39 are residential. The remainder encompass 9 commercial properties and 1 church.

Responses were received for 19 of the 39 residential properties, a response rate of 49%. Owners of 16 of the properties opposed the plans, only 1 supported them, and 2 were undecided.

Newly tabulated results for additional affected neighborhoods are as follows:

ELAM STREET (Alternatives B through E)

There are approximately 15 residential properties in this neighborhood. Owners of 11 of those properties have responded with 10 opposed and 1 undecided.

BOONE STREET, WAITE COURT & CRANSTON CIRCLE (Alternatives A through E)

There are approximately 31 residential properties in this neighborhood. Owners of 22 of those properties have responded with all 22 opposed.

I believe the more than 100 responses to the survey represent a significant cross section of the residential property owners who would be required to pay for the alternatives, and a clear statement of opposition to residential service by an overwhelming majority.

Anecdotally, many respondents made remarks to the effect that they had only recently installed new Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems (OWTS) at the direction of the state and town, and/or that their present systems complied with RIDEM regulations and were functioning just fine. A few others recognized that they had yet to comply with the new regulations but they had indications the cost of doing so would be less than the assessment numbers in the town’s presentation.

We hope the council will give these results serious consideration.

This letter is intended solely to report to the council the results of our survey and does not represent an official position of Historic Wickford Inc.

Sincerely,

Laurence W. Ehrhardt

on behalf of the

Board of Directors

addendum:

Historic Wickford Inc. (HistWick) is a nonprofit organization established to preserve, protect and celebrate the cultural and historic features of Wickford and its environs. HistWick strives to enhance the beauty of our village, preserve its architectural integrity, protect its harbor and the surrounding bay and improve the quality of life for all who live in or visit the village.

Activities during the year include community pot-luck meals, garden and kitchen tours, walking tours with information on the many historic buildings and educational programs on the renovation and the history of Wickford. In addition, Historic Wickford collaborates with numerous community organizations to support activities and special events that celebrate and improve the quality of life in the Village.

 

 

Ongoing Discussions for Bringing Sewers to Wickford – Information from the Board of Directors of HistWick Inc.



The Town Council is planning a public hearing for December 16 before making a decision on bringing sewers to Wickford that could have a significant financial impact on many of our members. HistWick is providing this information as a service to our members.

There are 5 Alternatives under consideration, Alternative E encompasses pretty much all of Wickford Village.

Potential costs to each single-home property depend on the alternative selected and range from:

  • $32,949 – $67,738 assessment or annual loan payments of $2,193 – $4,508
  • Plus $2,000 – $5,000 for homeowner equipment & construction costs
  • Every abutting property owner subject to assessment regardless of the condition of their existing system (even if they have recently installed a new system)
  • Commercial properties could be several times higher based on usage
  • For more detail on the alternatives and a map of the areas potentially impacted contact us and we will send the information to you.

What can you do if you wish to be heard or have questions?

  • Write to your Town Council Members. If you go to the town website there is a button you can click on to email the entire town council.
  • Attend the public hearing which has tentatively been scheduled for December 16th. Check the town website for confirmation of the meeting time and place.

HistWick would like to know if you support spending between $32,949 and $67,738 plus connection costs to bring sewers to your property.  Please email us at histwick1@verizon.net or call Larry Ehrhardt at 295-4352.

 

 

 

 

Annual Potluck Supper held on Sunday, December 8th



Annual Holiday Potluck Dinner
Sunday, December 8th, 2013
5:30 – 8;30 pm
St. Paul’s Parish Hall
Bring your favorite dish for 8 people
A-L Salad or Side Dish
M-Z Main Dish
Coffee, Tea, and Cold Drinks provided

HistWick Celebrates Photo Display Unveiling at Wickford Junction Station



WEDNESDAY, November 6, 2013 at 6 PM
Wickford Junction Train Station–2nd floor lobby
A crowd attended the  unveiling of the Historic photo display, “Wickford’s Trains, Steamer and Village Life” last night.
The display commemorates the impact of Wickford Junction and its history of train service to the area.  By including sketches and early photos of colonial Wickford, the display captures the evolution of the village through Age of Locomotion and into the late Victorian period during which Wickford became the primary route to Newport.
Introductory remarks were given by Ted Walls, the HistWick Board member and Associate Professor at URI who coordinated the project.  Tim Cranston, our award winning historian, then gave a short presentation that was, as always, both interesting and enjoyable.

HistWick sponsored a tour of the Stained Glass Windows of St. Paul’s Church




At 2 PM on Sunday, September 15, 2013 Tim Cranston presented a talk on the historic nature of the stained glass windows at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on Main Street in Wickford. The event was sponsored by Historic Wickford Inc. and all were invited to attend.

Tim Cranston examined the extraordinary works of art that are the stained glass windows of St. Paul’s. These masterpieces made from glass, sunlight, and color are not only amazing in and of themselves, but they tell a story about Wickford and its residents in the late 19th century. These artistic triumphs were created by artisans in London and New York City, and also by a very special Wickfordite. Attendees learned the story behind those to whom these windows were dedicated and about the “new” St. Paul’s Church they decorate.

The talk was followed by a reception on St. Paul’s Greenway. Admission was free.

Tim Cranston awarded 2013 Rhody Award for Historic Preservation



Local historian and HistWick member Tim Cranston  was awarded the 2013 Antoinette F. Downing Volunteer Service Award from Preserve Rhode Island and the Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission. This is one of the prestigious Rhody Awards for Historic Preservation.  Congratulations, Tim!

Check out the Channel 10 article and don’t forget to watch the video (move your cursor over the picture at the top). You can also get to the video from Preserve Rhode Island’s facebook page.  

http://www.turnto10.com/story/23551219/north-kingstown-historian-gives-tour-of-olde-wickford

Remember, you can buy Tim’s books on Walking in Olde Wickford on Amazon:

  • Walking in Olde Wickford – The History of Old Wickford One House at a Time
  • Walking in Olde Wickford – The History of Old Wickford One House at a Time
  • Walking in Olde Wickford – The History of Elamsville & the Wickford Business District One Building at a Time
  • North Kingstown: 1880-1920

August Updates



Planning board firm on Stonecroft farmhouse deal” is the headline of the North east Independent story on the recent Planning Commission meeting regarding the Joseph Reynolds and Abigail Updike house at 173 Boston Neck Road.  The Patch also published an article about the meeting which provides additional information and a picture of the house in question.

Also of interest to our members may be another article about the potential restorations of The Old Theatre.   The new owners have expressed interest in turning the property into an artist enclave.

The article also provides an update on the rezoning of the Wickford Elementary School and the possible conversion of the two-story brick building into a hotel and conference center.

That headline reads “Final hearing on Wickford rezoning proposal set for Monday” and this is a reference to the public hearing that the Town Council will hold on Monday, September 23rd at 7 pm at Beechwood.  The article states that “At a June Planning Commission meeting, some residents voiced their concerns over the town’s oversight of the project, specifically over control and input into how the property is redeveloped and physical alternations to the building.”  (This article was not available online).

 

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