Housing, Rescue Squad wrap up on council agenda

For Sept. 19 meeting
Fri, 09/14/2018 - 8:00am
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Ed. Note: This is a preview of the Sept. 19 Town Council meeting. The Block Island Times will be featuring previews of upcoming meetings.

The Town Housing Initiative and the island’s Emergency Management will be two of 10 items on the agenda for the Town Council’s meeting on Sept. 19 at 7 p.m. at Town Hall.

Town Manager Ed Roberge told The Times the discussion about housing will emphasize the need for “flexibility,” as the town moves forward to create town employee housing at the Thomas Property. The Town Council previously approved exploring construction of a single-family dwelling for a senior town employee and multiple efficiency apartments on the Thomas Property.

“The Town Housing project update that I expect to give the Town Council will include critical review of the project’s scope of work, budget, and schedule with interested contractors, as well as noting that the Request for Proposal documents have been released for advertisement to the public,” said Roberge. “Documents were issued (on Wednesday) with a Sept. 26 due date.”

The Council has $1.5 million in bonding at its disposal for addressing the project, which was approved at the May 7 Financial Town Meeting.

The Town of New Shoreham was awarded a $50,000 Emergency Management Performance Grant on Sept. 6 from Rhode Island’s Emergency Management Agency. Bill McCombe, co-director of the town’s Emergency Management program, said Gov. Gina Raimondo and RIEMA Director Peter Gaynor were instrumental in facilitating the grant, which would be used for upgrading the Public Safety Building’s generator.

“The current generator needs to be replaced in order to adequately service that building,” said McCombe. “That building serves as the Emergency Management headquarters during an emergency situation. The generator services the Police Station, but the update will tie the Rescue Squad building into the system.”

As for Hurricane Florence, and hurricane season, McCombe said he is ever vigilant tracking and monitoring storms. “We’ve been monitoring the hurricane and its potential impact,” he said. “We are expecting some swells in the area, and riptides, and high surf. We’ll continue to monitor the storm, and if there are changes we’ll adjust accordingly.”

McCombe recommended that property owners on Block Island run through a checklist in preparation for hurricane season. He said that it’s a good idea to store away outdoor furniture, check propane tanks, and have batteries and flashlights at the ready in case of a power outage.

Six other items on the Council’s agenda include the Block Island Rescue Squad’s summer wrap-up report; proposed amendments to the zoning ordinance involving accessory apartments and standards for town employee accessory apartments; a report from Building Official Marc Tillson regarding inspections of accessory apartments; and a discussion about what items should be placed on the Town Council’s agenda.

Litigation involving Rhode Island Fast Ferry, and Sarah McGinnes versus the Town of New Shoreham regarding the town’s purchase of two-third shares of the Block Island Power Company, are two items that the Town Council might discuss in closed session.