Position Paper of concerned citizens about land use changes in Charlestown, specifically the Whalerock Development

As concerned citizens of Charlestown, Rhode Island, we support the land use goal of our town’s Comprehensive Plan to protect the natural and cultural resources and rural character of the Town while providing the housing, economic base, and services necessary for the broad range of residents to enjoy the high quality of life associated with the Town…and to encourage public participation throughout the process including the business community, interest groups and citizen groups. We value the culture, environment, and pace of living which our fore bearers and we have nurtured, and exhort our public servants and residents to maintain the highest quality living standards attainable.

We value the village structure of our town, our pristine beaches and ponds, the wildlife preserves, the many recreational opportunities, the farming character of our landscape, our historic areas, our scenic roads, and the green buffers between land use and roadways. Our town’s development has grown over many years in a slow and thoughtful manner with deference to our historical sites, resulting in low to medium density residential areas.

These values that we embrace provide all who visit our town with a visual statement of what Charlestown represents. We not only wish to preserve the best of what has defined our past, but also what we cherish today, and what we will hand down as a legacy to future generations. As John Fitzgerald Kennedy once stated, “It is our task in our time and in our generation to hand down undiminished to those who come after us, as was handed down to us by those who went before, the natural wealth and beauty which is ours.” We want all people, residents and visitors alike, to appreciate our town and to share in the pride we feel for our environment, its natural beauty, and its tranquility.

We are opposed to rampant, irresponsible development of our land for commercial and industrial gain. We value our town too much to be swayed by seductive promises of industrial growth and alleged benefits. We have opposed rapid commercial development of our land, the establishment of high volume road systems, and dense, unregulated housing developments. As a community, our needs are simple, and we provide the fiscal resources necessary to meet them. Should the time come when our vision of our quality of living needs to change, we will pursue this change in a thoughtful, transparent, and informed manner.

Our regard for our pastoral lifestyle cannot be bought by federal or state grant money designed to promote national and statewide agendas. As Charlestown citizens, we have the moral and civic responsibility to uphold the right to guide the overall development of our town in a manner beneficial to all.

Our resolve must spring from a conviction of what is ethically and aesthetically right, which is what Theodore Roosevelt believed when he said, “This is our town. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage for your children and your children’s children. Do not let selfish men or greedy interests skin our town of its beauty, its riches or its romance.”