Block Island Times

Conservation groups weigh in on proposed zoning amendment

The following was issued by the Block Island Land Trust, Block Island Conservancy, and The Nature Conservancy and presented to the members of the Town Council and Planning Board:
At the Planning Board meeting on Jan. 8, 2020, the suggestion was made to create a “white paper” outlining the difference between the current treatment of conservation easements in the zoning ordinances versus the amendment we proposed on Dec. 30, 2019.
The methodology we used to determine the development impact is as follows:
We examined all easements held by the three conservation groups and eliminated from the analysis those easements that specifically restricted use of the conservation area for development calculations; easements where another conservation organization owned the fee interest in the property; and easements that are on properties that would not be able to be further developed due to lot size, proximity to wetlands, etc. We believe this is a conservative analysis of the potential for additional development. The result, as we have previously described, is the potential for at least 50 houses, which would be sited in areas that are considered important viewsheds or of ecological importance.

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