Planning Board approves new zoning language

Acting on the recommendations of the town’s three leading conservation groups, and after receiving more than 50 emails and other forms of communication, the majority of which were in favor, the Planning Board approved zoning amendment language changes that will exclude conservation easements from a land parcel’s developable land calculation, with the stipulation that the grantor of the land can specifically reserve those developable rights if he or she so chooses.
This language change will now be forwarded to the Town Council.
Members of the Planning Board, and some attorneys present, recognized that issues regarding conservation easements and developable rights may have been messy in the past, but these amendments were meant to clarify the issue and minimize litigation moving forward, although at least one member of the Planning Board, Tony Pappas, quipped that perhaps litigation was inevitable anyway.
At the outset of the Planning Board meeting, which took place on Wednesday, Feb. 12, it was Pappas who started out by questioning a white paper issued by The Land Trust, the Block Island Conservancy, and The Nature Conservancy, which advocated for adopting the amendment that would exclude conservation easements from

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