Residents Opposed to Avondale Heights Development
The undersigned residents of East Avenue and its environs respectfully request support from the Planning Board (and if it comes to it, consideration by the Zoning Board), to require at least the following items be entered into the evidentiary record concerning the proposal at 165 East Avenue:
- An inventory of multi-family homes on East Avenue: It is our understanding that there may be as few as two and that they are located in close proximity to the commercial intersection of East Avenue and Franklin Street.
- A clear statement from the project proponent as to what the market price for the proposed “affordable units” will be: It is important to consider this because the concept that this project will significantly help with any affordability issues is unclear and it is likely that the proposed “affordable units” will in actuality be relatively high.
- A clear statement as to which provisions of the Draft Comprehensive Plan 2021-2041, or even the expired Comprehensive Plan, endorses the alteration of neighborhood character: The current Draft prioritizes neighborhoods and calls for each one to develop its own “neighborhood plan,” (which we will do but have not had time to do yet). Please see Part I, section 2.7 @ page 15 of the Draft, “Community Character.” Please also refer to the map delineating neighborhoods, wherein East Avenue is specifically deemed its own neighborhood, @ NBH-MI, page MF39.
- A full build out/yield analysis by the Zoning Official as vetted by the Town’s Zoning Attorney and the Town’s Planning Attorney: As the Town faces build out, we are told that we are at about 85% at this time, density will be an increasingly important issue as small neighborhoods across Town face similar development issues.
- A statement from the project proponent as to exactly what hardship this project faces in terms of a zoning change: We duly note that an applicant cannot create it’s own hardship. Before this project proceeds to the Zoning Board it is of interest as to exactly what the hardship at hand could possibly be.
- An independent review of topographical issues, including but not necessarily limited to, sloping, drainage, soil erosion and the likelihood for blasting due to granite & ledge: By “independent” we do not mean Town Staff, we mean a certified, independent expert in this field.
- An independent traffic study conducted during the summer months of July and August: To the extent that a traffic study is conducted during any other time of the year it is irrelevant. Moreover, to the extent that East Avenue is a State Road, the Town can ask for “more” if it is fundamental to the project, public safety and is well within the power of the Planning Board and/or the Town overall.
- Written analysis of safety concerns from the Westerly Chief of Police: East Avenue is a main artery to the Westerly Hospital and already faces safety concerns from the existing traffic and site lines.
- Written confirmation from the Westerly Fire Chief that emergency vehicles, including fire trucks/police vehicles/ambulances, could access and address a worst-case scenario, including one wherein mutual aid from other fire departments would be required: This should be self-evident.
- Written confirmation from all emergency services that naming a development “Avondale Heights” would not in any way compromise a 911 or other emergency response: Again, Avondale is its own, recognized neighborhood. Please see the Draft Comprehensive Plan @ NBH-MI, referenced above.
- Investigation and written analysis by an expert of the Board’s choice concerning the displacement of wildlife and habitat at this site: This is a site utilized as a “cross-over” habitat to Moore Woods, a preserve across the street. While it is empirical to the residents of East Avenue, this kind of development, as versus say single unit homes in a cluster, would displace (habituated) coyotes and numerous other species indicative to the site and the neighborhood.
- Written confirmation from State Historic that the stone wall in front of 165 East Avenue is appropriately subject to significant alteration/replacement/removal: This masonry is neigh on iconic for the character of this Neighborhood and represents the classic New England Town which we still consider Westerly to be.