Steve Stycos on Markets, Land Deals, and Happenings in Cranston

School Committee member Steve Stycos provided the following update through his e-newsletter:

MARKET GROWS

Alan and Bob Fratantuono of Moosup River Farm attended the market last week, selling asparagus and Ingrid Fratantuono’s preserves. Other vendors, including Warwick beekeeper Bernie Bieder, will join the market during the next month. Last week, Richard Duquette, who in past years sold “hens and chicks,” spiraea and other plants, stopped by the market to say he is recovering from major surgery, but may return in the fall.

If you would like to help promote the market, we need people to ask local businesses to display our attractive poster in their shop windows. The poster was designed by Juan Cano. If you want to help put up posters, please respond to this email.

The market accepts EBT cards for recipients of SNAP/food stamps and debit cards. All transactions start at the recycling table.

BIRD WALK

Saturday’s market (May 22) will feature a bird walk along the Pawtuxet River, guided by Mike Kieron, assistant curator of the Roger Williams Park Museum of Natural History. Please bring binoculars, but not dogs. Children are welcome, but should be at least seven years old. The walk begins at 8 AM in the lower Rhodes on the Pawtuxet parking lot.

HORSHOE CRAB WALK

Edgewood’s Wenley Ferguson, Save The Bay’s habitat restoration coordinator, will lead a salt marsh walk at Cranston’s Stillhouse Cove May 25. The short walk starts at 6:30 PM in hopes of viewing horseshoe crab mating during a spring moon tide. Wenley will also discuss the Stillhouse Cove restoration efforts. The walk will start at the cove’s southern end, at the junction of Ocean Avenue and Narragansett Boulevard. All welcome. Rain date is May 26.

ANOTHER CRANSTON LAND DEAL

A controversial proposal to change zoning to allow more development in western Cranston will be considered by the Cranston City Council Monday Mat 22. The amendment, which was approved by the Ordinance Committee May 13, would rezone 95 acres near the junction of Pippin Orchard Road and Laten Knight Road to allow quarter acre lots.

Mayor Fung and City Planner Peter Lapolla oppose the proposal which they estimate could cost the city $3.1 million more in school, road and public safety costs than it would raise in tax revenue. Potentially, Lapolla told the council, the change could allow 155 new housing lots. City Council President John Lanni, Ward 2 Councilman Emilio Navarro and Ward 4 Councilman Robert Pelletier defended the change as a way to promote economic growth and allow middle class people to purchase homes. The landowner, Albert Scaralia, is a major contributor to the Cranston Democratic Party and city officials, including Navarro and Fung.

Several speakers, including Rachel McNally of Save Cranston’s Open Space, Katie King and Steve Stycos of the West Bay Land Trust and residents Mary Genco and Dale Saccocio urged the council to reconsider the environmental and financial costs of the change to the proposed city comprehensive plan. The Ordinance Committee (with Ordinance Committee chair Anthony Lupino absent), however, voted unanimously to send the amended comprehensive plan to the full council.

Earlier this year the council approved a zone change, proposed by Ward 5 Councilman Richard Santamaria, to allow Stop & Shop to build a supermarket on Warwick Avenue. Since then Stop & Shop developer Richard Baccari has been implicated in a scheme to bribe four members of the North Providence City Council to receive a zone change for another Stop & Shop building.

If you are opposed to subsidizing development in western Cranston or support keeping part of our city rural, contact your city councilman. The meeting Monday May 24 begins at 7 PM at City Hall.

EVENTS AT HALL LIBRARY

May 24th, 6 PM: Sam Brusco on renovating a home without spending a fortune. Sam will share his knowledge about permits, architects and construction for homeowners who are considering a renovation project.

May 19th, 6:30 PM: Rhode Island Civil War Round Table.

May 19th, 6:30 PM: Reading in the Hall. The William Hall Library Book Group will discuss Sue Miller’s The Senator’s Wife. This is a searing novel of infidelity and politics at the highest level. Call or email to register.

May 26th, 6 PM: Cranston High School East Jazz Band and Jazz Combo will perform on the lawn. Directed by Mark Collozzi, the Jazz Band will perform standards as well as some contemporary pieces. Join us for the opening concert of the 2010 season. The rain date is May 27.

June 9th, 12:30 PM: This month’s Brown Bag Poetry will feature local author and poet John Long. John will be reading from “Seaward Edge” and his latest collection of poetry. Bring your lunch to this free program.

See you Saturday at the market.

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One thought on “Steve Stycos on Markets, Land Deals, and Happenings in Cranston

  1. Talking about the Cranston zoning–1/4 lots.

    OK, I get the whole open spaces thing.

    However, is that the issue here really between quarter acre lots and leaving it as open space? If that’s the deal, then I can see the point.

    However, if it’s a question of quarter-acre lots vs larger lots, then, by all means, go with the 1/4 acres.

    A lot of zoning laws are ways of restricting the number of people who can move into an area. By requiring larger lots, you are effectively cutting out anyone of middle income status.

    IOW, the “lower income” types (read: brown). Plus, low-density housing is the most expensive in terms of cost to the city. It’s cheaper to run a sewer line to serve 40 houses than it is to serve 10.

    Plus, 4 houses assessed at $200,000 brings in more tax revenue than one house assessed at $400,000.

    So, if the landowner is going to sell regardless, then we should choose the quarter-acre lots.

    So, let’s make sure we know what the choice really is. I don’t, but I get really suspicious when I hear anyone try to restrict building in W Crans.

    Does anyone know what the choice really is?

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