Corrective Resolution Relative to the Regulation of Earth Removal, Gravel Extraction and Blasting
At their December 14 meeting, the Charlestown Town Council unanimously passed a resolution requesting the General Assembly to create enabling legislation that would allow the town to enact ordinances to regulate extraction operations. Currently graveling and other extraction activities are a prohibited use in Charlestown, but some gravel operations existed before zoning and are therefore “grand fathered”. State enabling regulation would make it easier to regulate these pre-existing gravel pits. The resolution was introduced by Town Councilors George Tremblay and Tom Gentz.
WHEREAS, the Town Council of the Town of Charlestown (the “Town”) has been besieged with complaints from Bradford area and Charlestown residents concerning commercial quarrying, extraction and earth and gravel removal operations (“Extraction”) on property located in the Town of Westerly; and
WHEREAS, at several Town Council meetings these residents explained the undesirable externalities of dust, noise, vibration, truck traffic and other such impacts on their several properties by Extraction operations; and
WHEREAS, during their consideration of the Bradford residents’ complaints concerning the
quarrying, extraction and earth removal operation, the Town Council was made aware that the Town’s Code of Ordinances lacked any meaningful regulation of Extraction operations located in Charlestown; and
WHEREAS, the Town Council directed the administrative staff to draft an ordinance amendment to regulate Extraction operations located in the Town; and
WHEREAS, on March 10, 2014, a public hearing was held on the proposed ordinance amendment; and
WHEREAS, at the public hearing on the proposed ordinance amendment many comments were received, but several objectors asserted that the Town did not have the legal authority to further regulate Extraction operations located in Town under their police power authority, so-called; and
WHEREAS, the Town’s administrative staff made revisions to the draft Extraction ordinance amendment and suggested that an amendment to the R.I. General Laws also be pursued to eliminate any questions regarding whether the Town has the legal authority to regulate Extraction operations located in Town; and
WHEREAS, the Town Council, by Resolution, requested the Town Legislative Delegation to the R.I. General Assembly seek legislative authorization to enable the Town to further regulate Extraction operations located in Town under their police power authority; and
WHEREAS, the legislative bill submitted to the General Assembly for consideration was not voted upon in the 2014 legislative session; and
WHEREAS, the Town Council remains desirous that the General Assembly consider a new legislative bill to authorize the Town to further regulate Extraction operations located in Town; and
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that we, the Town Council of the Town of Charlestown, Rhode Island, respectfully request that the General Assembly specifically authorize the Town Council of the Town of Charlestown to further regulate Extraction operations located in the Town; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Town Clerk is hereby instructed to submit a copy of this resolution to the Town of Charlestown’s State Senators and State Representative in the Rhode Island General Assembly in consideration of their support to submit and act to pass this amendment to the General Laws.