Comprehensive Plan Update
Comprehensive Plan Update (Current Status as of September 8, 2016)
The Town of Narragansett has completed revisions to “Draft 4” of the Comprehensive Plan and it is now available for public review and comment. The Town Council hearing opened on August 9, 2016 and is continued to September 19, 2016. There are three volumes that will become the Narragansett Comprehensive Plan. These draft volumes - the Baseline Report, the Roadmap and the Action Plan are now available to view in hard copy format in the Community Development Department, the Town Clerk’s Office, the Maurice Loontjens Public Library, or here:
- The Baseline Report - A report of the existing conditions in Narragansett;
- The Roadmap - The future vision of Narragansett, its challenges and opportunities, and the path to maintaining its uniqueness and sense of place; and
- The Action Plan - An implementation strategy detailing who is responsible for specific tasks and an anticipated schedule to get things done.
Additional information can be found on the Comprehensive Plan Update project website (www.horsleywitten.com/narragansett).
Planning Board and Town Council Reviewing Draft Comprehensive Plan
Over the past year, in a series of working sessions, the Planning Board reviewed individual draft chapters of The Roadmap as well as The Action Plan, which are part of the Narragansett Comprehensive Plan. Draft versions of these documents were discussed during joint workshops between the Town Council and Planning Board on:
August 25, 2014
September 22, 2014
March 23, 2015
April 7, 2015
May 11, 2015
June 8, 2015
This draft of the Plan responds to Town Council comments and suggested edits.The Planning Board met four more times to give the Plan a final review: November 11, 2015, December 14, 2015, February 24, 2016 and February 25, 2016. On February 25, 2016, the Planning Board voted 5-0 to approve the Narragansett Comprehensive Plan and recommend its adoption to the Town Council. The Town Council has scheduled a public hearing to review and adopt the Comprehensive Plan on May 9, 2016.
Plan Update History
The following is a summary of the Public Participation that has occurred so far:
Public Workshop #1 (September 13, 2012)
The first public workshop was held on September 13, 2012. Its purpose was to identify priority issues in specific geographic areas of town. It opened with an overview of the Comprehensive Plan and the update process. Examples of the types of issues and activities that are generally addressed in the comprehensive plan were discussed as a way to educate the group about the role of the comprehensive plan and why it is important to the community. The topic areas presented were:
For the purpose of the Narragansett Comprehensive Plan and the exercise that evening, the town was geographically presented in three planning districts:
North End: from the town line with North Kingstown to Sprague Bridge,
Central Area: from Sprague Bridge to approximately Long Cove Camp Road east to Windmere Road, and
South End: Long Cove Camp Road east to Windmere Road south, including the Salt Pond islands and Jerusalem.
Around the room were six tables. Each planning district was represented by two tables. Participants were asked to count off and were assigned a planning district. After 20 minutes, they moved to another district’s table. This repeated one more time to ensure that each participant visited a table for each planning district.
At each table, participants were asked to identify which comprehensive plan topic area was the first and second priorities for that planning district. A board listing each topic area was marked with a dot to tally the final results. Participants were then asked to explain why these were priority issues. Responses were recorded and reported back to the full group at the end of the evening.
The following summarizes the first and second priority issues. Further details of what was said and the issues raised are found in Appendix A.
North End: In the North End, the number one priority issues were related to land use followed by economic development and transportation/circulation. The top secondary issues were transportation/ circulation and natural resources.
Central Area: The top priority issues in the Central area were related to economic development followed by historic and cultural resources and natural features. The top secondary issues were land use and transportation/circulation.
South End: Economic development was the top priority issue for the South End, followed by housing. The top secondary issues were housing and natural resources.
Public Workshop #2 (January 24, 2013)
The second public workshop was held on January 24, 2013. Its purpose was to present the initial baseline data and findings and receive comments on it. It also allowed the public to talk about issues emerging for each topic area town-wide and prioritize them.
To help stimulate conversation, key pad polling was used for a “Did you know?” exercise, where participants were asked to answer questions about facts and figures presented in draft The Baseline Report. They were then showed a series of photographs that depicted different types of buildings and asked what parts of town this type of development might generally be most appropriate.
The participants then broke out into small groups and talked about topical issues. Each discussion was lead by a series of questions. Afterwards, each person listed what they thought was an issue for each topic. The group as a whole then chose the top two answers listed.
The following provides a summary of the priorities identified for each topic based on the questions presented. In some cases time did not permit prioritization of the issues. A full list of the issues raised and other details of the workshop are found in Appendix B.
Economic Development and Tourism: Existing commercial areas meet the economic development needs of the Town and should not be expanded. Most supported business that focused on healthcare services, and there was a strong voice for a local grocery store in the Pier. The group also suggested the development of a marketing package to attract new businesses and support existing establishments. It could include tax breaks, low interest loans and/or streamlining permitting. Ideas to expand the tourist season included coordination with the South County Tourism Council, local Chamber of Commerce and the Narragansett Historical Society.
Getting Around Town: Driving, Walking and Biking: The group talked about seasonal traffic, areas in need of crosswalks and sidewalks, and ways to improving biking. Some suggested more crosswalks on Ocean Road and sidewalks near Edgewater. More ways to improve bike safety were discussed, including “Bike Route” sides and bike lanes on roads with enough width. The group also talked about the challenges of parking in the Pier and if there were opportunities to have evening parking in the beach parking lot.
Energy: The group was in favor of the Town looking into ways town operations and facilities could be more energy efficient, starting with the energy audit done in 2012. Looking for funding from state and federal sources would be required for any implementation of actions.
Public Services and Facilities: The group focused on creating a town center with public open space. A multi-generational center with programming was also suggested. They also discussed ways to improve town services, such as expanding the library, increasing community and residential support to address student renter issues, and expanding (reinstating) shuttle service. It was suggested that improvements were needed to the condition of some town buildings, parks, roadways, and sidewalks.
Housing and Neighborhoods: The group saw the need to promote more owner-occupied units and increase year-round rentals.
Natural and Cultural Resources: The group identified other areas in town that had historical significance, including the Native American settlement north of Salt Pond Plaza. They felt that the Port of Galilee and the library were important cultural resources that needed support. In general, the group discussed the need to increase maintenance and protection of natural resources, including protection from pollutants, litter and trash, and dealing with erosion.
Other Public Outreach Activities
The Comprehensive Plan Update project website (www.horsleywitten.com/narragansett) is a tool used to help explain the update process and get information out to the public. The website contained resources such as the 2008 Comprehensive Plan, the 2005 Affordable Housing Plan and the 2011 Economic Development Plan. Contact phone numbers and emails were provided if someone was interested in receiving emails about the project or had specific questions. Meeting announcements were posted as well as meeting summaries, presentations and handout materials. Draft documents of the comprehensive plan were also posted for public viewing and comment. A Call for Photos encouraged residents to submit pictures of what they loved most about Narragansett. These photos were posted on the website and used in materials that came out of the project (full credit was given to the photographer).
A list of contact emails is used to send messages (e-blasts) about upcoming project events and updates on project progress. At each public event, names and emails were collected to build this contact list. People could also submit their email addresses via the project website.
Planning Board Working Sessions
A series of working sessions were held with the Narragansett Planning Board. These sessions reviewed overall goals and policies for each topic area of the comprehensive plan as well as draft sections of the plan itself. They were open to the public and the Planning Board took public comments and feedback on each discussion.
|February 27, 2013
||Goals and Policies: Housing and Economic Development
|March 26, 2013
||Goals and Policies: Natural Resources, Recreation and Open Space, and Historic, Cultural and Scenic Resources
|April 30, 2013
||Goals and Policies: Community Services and Facilities, Natural Hazards and Energy
|May 28, 2013
||Goals and Policies: Transportation and Circulation
|June 25, 2013
||Goals and Policies: Land Use
|November 13, 2013
||Draft Chapters: Housing and Economic Development
|February 26, 2014
||Draft Chapters: Transportation and Natural Resources
|March 26, 2016
||Draft Chapters: Community Services and Facilities and Recreation and
|April 23, 2014
||Draft Chapters: Land Use and Natural Hazards
|May 27, 2014
||Draft Future Land Use Plan
|June 25, 2014
||Draft Future Land Use Plan (continued)
|July 23, 2014
||Review of Complete Draft of The Roadmap
Planning Board Public Hearings
This Plan was the subject of public hearings in the next several weeks. The Planning Board held two public hearing on the evenings of September 10, 2015 and October 15, 2015. Both meetings were held at the North Beach Club House - 79 Boston Neck Road.
Interviews and Meetings
Interviews and meetings allowed individuals to focus on their areas of expertise. Town staff was interviewed to understand department operations and functions and how the comprehensive plan could help make their work more efficient and move important initiatives forward. Local boards and commissions were also involved in the update process, and similar discussions provided a wealth of information. Staff, boards, and commissions also provided feedback on draft materials.
- Town Manager
- Department of Community Development
- Public Works Department and Highway Division
- Town Engineer
- Library Director and Board of Trustees Chair
- School Superintendent
- Fire Department
- Police Department
- Parks and Recreation Department
Boards and Commissions:
- Zoning Board of Review
- Affordable Housing Board
- Conservation/Tree Commission
- Harbor Management Commission
- Historic District Commission
- Land Conservancy Trust
The Town Council was involved early in the update process. On May 20, 2013, a presentation was made before the Council as an update. Comments were received from the public at this time as well. The Town Council also provided input on draft materials through joint workshops with the Planning Board.
The Town accepted public comments throughout the update process. Most were received during public events, like workshops and Planning Board meetings as they review draft materials. Residents also sent emails and wrote letters expressing their concerns and offered ideas and examples of other communities with similar issues. All comments and material received were reviewed and considered in drafting the Comprehensive Plan.
Once adopted by the Town Council the Comprehensive Plan will be transmitted to the Statewide Planning Program. The SPP staff will oversee review of the Plan by several state departments and agencies. Their comments will be considered and shared with the Town for review and possible revisions.