Opposition to House Bill 5703 and Senate Bill 544, Removing slope from buildable lot calculations

The following Letter to the Editor was printed in local newspapers and is printed here with the permission of the author
Last year, both the Hopkinton and Charlestown Town Councils objected to the language in the “Dry Lands Bill.”  Similarly, the current legislation, if passed, would take away the ability of all municipalities to manage their own destiny through locally approved zoning laws. It would also unnecessarily increase density and place our aquifers and coastal ponds in additional jeopardy.

This year, the Charlestown Town Council has already sent its legislators a resolution unanimously objecting to the bill’s language, which states, “The slope of the land shall not be excluded from the calculation of the buildable lot area or the minimum lot size, or in the calculation of the number of buildable lots or units.”  This language appears on page 18 of both House Bill 5703 and Senate Bill 0544.

Write, call, or email your legislators to object to H5703 and S0544 and let them know it is wrong for the state to make this change in how land use is managed in Charlestown and other communities throughout the state. Representatives Gallison (Bristol and Portsmouth), Marcello (Cranston), Edwards (Portsmouth and Tiverton), San Bento (Pawtucket) and Blazejewski (Providence) sponsored H5703, and Senator McCaffrey (Warwick) sponsored S0544. Although the Senate Judiciary Committee held the bill for further study, the House Municipal Government Committee is scheduled to consider the bill and may move it out of committee. Now is the time to contact your legislator and make your opposition known.

Tom Gentz