Mayor Michael Napolitano will be holding a press conference today at 11:45 am at Cranston City Hall to announce a proposed settlement to end the Cullion concrete plant controversy that has been going on in Cranston for over a year. Cranston Citizens for Responsible Zoning and Development (CCRZD) is asking its members to attend the press conference and bring their “Stop the Concrete Plant” signs. They stated in an email that they are not for or against the proposed settlement, since they were not included in the discussions.
We will provide an update after the press conference with more information about the proposed settlement.
UPDATE: The projo article provided the following details:
In October, The Providence Journal reported that the Pawtuxet River Authority & Watershed Council, a state-chartered agency that serves as steward of the river, has targeted the land as the centerpiece for a sprawling waterside park.
The concept has won broad support from the mayor, City Council and the cityâ€™s delegation to the General Assembly.
With that in mind, Napolitano said yesterday that he would press the state and federal governments for funding to cover at least a portion of the $1.9-million settlement.
Failing that, the mayor said he will seek approval from the Democratic-dominated City Council for a city bond to be paid off by the taxpayers.
Council President Aram G. Garabedian, a Democrat and staunch opponent of the plant, has voiced deep reservations in recent months about paying Cullion anything for the land.
But he declined to comment last night, saying he wanted to review the details of the agreement first.
Sounds like there will be due diligence on this from the city council. Congratulations to the residents of Eden Park who fought to protect their neighborhood. Your work and perseverence paid off.
UPDATE #2: CCRZD has provided this statement from spokesman Howie Barte:
CCRZD Expresses Initial Unease To Mayor Napolitano’s Proposed “Settlement” With Cullion Over Cranston Concrete Plant
Cranston Mayor Michael Napolitano today informed the Cranston Citizens for Responsible Zoning & Development (CCRZD) regarding the disputed concrete plant in Cranston, â€œI settled the dealâ€?.
CCRZD’s initial reaction is that $1.9 million offer by the Mayor to buy out Cullion is probably too high. It must be noted that this Mayor has cost the taxpayers a tremendous amount of taxpayer dollars because he refused to investigate and pull the permit from the beginning when it would have most likely been much cheaper to do so. Itâ€™s a known fact that a municipality under Rhode Island Law is only liable up to a $100,000 cap.
CCRZD continues to watch closely as developments occur. A continued area of concern not yet addressed is that assurance have yet to be issued guaranteeing that this land will be maintained in accordance the 1992 Comprehensive Plan which was has been in affect, but ignored, for fifteen years. And, of course, CCRZD has yet to see the detailed of the purported deal. So far, it seems more questions have been raised than answers provided.
UPDATE #3: Activist and resident Suzanne Arena sent a letter to the Cranston City Council expressing concern about the size of the settlement for Cullion. A part of her letter reads as follows:
I am appealing to you because $1.9 million is on the high side. We have determined the cost of land to be $240,000 with an assessed value of approximately $310,000 and an estimated fair market value of $700,000 in the extreme. Adding a conservative $100,000 for legal fee concessions leaves $1.1 million. What does number this entail? We fully expected that Cullion would take back the equipment so that this would not become part of the settlement.
Further, I expect that there would be an Environmental Site Assessment as part of the agreement and in the eventuality that hazardous waste is discovered, I would expect that the cost of removal would be borne by the owner, Cullion / Karleetor. In order to establish due diligence, another appraisal by City Council should be obtained.
If the fair market value of the property is determined to be substantially higher than the assessed value of the property, there should be a determination with respect to the Cityâ€™s Right of Recourse against the seller for back taxes based on the current $300,000 assessment.
Ms. Arena received a response from Council member Jeff Barone, which is as follows:
First, I must say, we finally agree on something. The only difference is that the “deal” is about $1.8m too high. The city should just give Cullion $100,000.00 that was expended prior to our stop order. What ever monies they have expended after that point should not be the responsibility of the city.
You and you association feel that you should have been part of the negotiation of this “deal”. The City Council was not even part of it, what makes you think you should be?
By the way, your Mayor told the press before the Council of this deal, why do you think he’ll tell you first.
This is maybe the worst “deal” he has ever come up with. More than the Valley settlement or the Providence Water settlement. I’ll bet you didn’t know about those.
Where does he think he is going to get the money to pay for this. I know where, you the taxpayer. Don’t forget, we have a $2.5m settlement with Valley, a $1.5m settlement with Providence, a possible $4m Carullo action and now this. That will all come out of the Rainy day fund. He said he will get state aid, they are not going to give Cranston $1.9 million for 20.2 acres of flood land. He will tell you that but let’s get real.
When he goes to knock on doors to get re-elected, his new “promise ” will be that he will continue to support the people. Wait for next year’s tax increase.
All the other costs you mentioned earlier will be absorbed by the city. I hope you and your association let him know how you feel.