Zoning Board holds public hearing for Andy’s Way project

Thu, 02/04/2021 - 6:15pm

The application for a new public shoreline access walkway at Andy’s Way (Plat 3, Lot 155) was on the Zoning Board’s agenda on Wednesday, Jan. 27 for a public hearing. The ongoing application, submitted by the Town of New Shoreham, is seeking a special use permit, as is customary, and a variance for the construction. No final decision was made at the hearing.

Previously, the application was discussed at the Jan. 13 Planning Board meeting, and was granted the approval of a waiver from Development Plan Review. The application was also previously granted favorable advisories from the Conservation Commission and the Planning Board.

Town Manager Maryanne Crawford, presenting the application on behalf of the town, read the following narrative:

“The Town of New Shoreham is proposing to construct a new public shoreline access walkway at the western end of Andy’s Way for safe access to the Great Salt Pond. The wood walkway will be approximately 100 feet long with a width of 10 feet. A clear walking width between the supporting pilings will be seven feet, which will allow the public to safely bring small boats across the coastal feature and onto the beach. The seven-foot width will also allow our fire and rescue all-terrain vehicles access to the beach in an emergency situation.”

“In December of 2015, the Town Council-appointed Shoreline Access Working Group presented a report to the council on the 43 shoreline access points on the island. In the report the SAWG identified six high priority access points and Andy’s Way was one of the high priority points due to its popularity for recreational uses such as clamming and sailing.”

Crawford noted in that a similar public shoreline access walkway project was approved in the past for the public: the walkway at Mosquito Beach, constructed in 1994 with approval from the R.I. Coastal Resources Management Council. “The fixed timber walkway continues to be enjoyed by the public today,” she said.

“The comparison to Mosquito Beach is what I keep thinking about,” said Chair Kate Butcher before opening the virtual hearing up to the public.

Abutter Richard Hayes joined the call to address his thoughts.“My concern is, I want to make sure we are not expanding the parking area at all down there. Andy’s Way has evolved a lot over the years. Our only concern on the application is the increased traffic that may or may not come from this. However, at the same time that probably is equally as difficult of an intersection as any other one on Corn Neck Road. I support the project because of the access, and it is going to be a big improvement.”

“That is correct, we are not expanding the parking. It is strictly a walkway,” answered Crawford.

Representing the Committee for the Great Salt Pond, Sven Risom also commented in support of the project.“[We] really just want to support this project and support the SAWG to improve access to all the shorelines, specifically the Great Salt Pond. It is a very special and delicate area,” said Risom, who also served on the SAWG during its year-long mission to evaluate shoreline access.

The board took the matter under advisement and a motion to close the hearing was approved unanimously by the board with member Keith Stover recused.

Theve family application approved

Member Bob Lamoureux read a proposed decision on the Theve family’s application (Plat 15, Lot 108) for a variance to construct two decks on a single-family dwelling. The family’s house, located off Grace’s Cove Road, was destroyed by fire in June 2020.

The board unanimously approved the variance, with Butcher recusing.

Upcoming public hearings

The Zoning Board scheduled public hearings for March 3 for the following applications: Anna Pearce and Pamela Piper (Plat 11, Lot 43) for a variance for construction of a bathroom, a bay window, outdoor shower and a shed dormer; Carol Tuschick and Beth Simkins (Plat 5, Lot 14) for a variance, and for construction of an addition and front porch to a multi-family dwelling; Nina Stack and Naomi Lawrence (Plat 18, Lot 51) for a variance, and for construction of an addition to a single-family dwelling.

On March 24, the board will resume hearings that were continued from the Jan. 27 meeting for Overlook Realty, LLC (Plat 19, Lot 3); and Nick and Pam Gelsomini (Plat 4, Lot 63).

On April 28, the board will hear applications from Michelle Marino (Plat 8, Lot 42) for a special use permit and a variance to construct a staircase to allow for beach access; and an application from John and Blakely Stinebaugh (Plat 4, Lot 7-1) for a special use permit to demolish an existing single-family dwelling and construct a single-family dwelling and an accessory structure.