Tiverton talks solar, imposes Fogland parking fines

Councilors also approve summer concert series at the Bulgarmarsh Park Pavilion

By Ruth Rasmussen
Posted 6/24/22

Notes and points from the Tiverton Town Council's most recent meeting, held last Monday:

Solar energy

A council-appointed group revising an ordinance to regulate the installation of solar …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Not a subscriber?


Start a Subscription

Sign up to start a subscription today! Click here to see your options.

Purchase a day pass

Purchase 24 hours of website access for $2. Click here to continue

Day pass subscribers

Are you a day pass subscriber who needs to log in? Click here to continue.


Tiverton talks solar, imposes Fogland parking fines

Councilors also approve summer concert series at the Bulgarmarsh Park Pavilion

Posted

Notes and points from the Tiverton Town Council's most recent meeting, held last Monday:

Solar energy

A council-appointed group revising an ordinance to regulate the installation of solar energy arrays in Tiverton expects to complete its task by August 1.

The Solar Ordinance Advisory Committee has worked for several months on the project, which represents the town’s third attempt to create an ordinance. The new draft will ultimately require review by the planning board and community input before final adoption.

The 10-person committee includes councilors Jay Edwards and Bill Vieira, as well as planning board representatives and community members. Council vice president Mike Burk and town solicitor Michael Marcello serve as non-voting members.

At last week’s town council meeting, Vieira described the committee’s draft as “very comprehensive.” He said about four or five major topics still need to be discussed.

“I think we are getting there,” he said. “It’s much different than what was proposed previously. I think it’s something the whole town will be proud of.”

The current version, if approved, would replace an ordinance passed in March 2018 but repealed later that year due in part to what critics said was erroneous information in some sections and a lack of sufficient detail in others.

In late 2022, the council presented a revised draft ordinance to the planning board, which found it was not sufficiently aligned with the town’s comprehensive plan. When the draft was later presented to the community during a special town council meeting, audience members seemed equally unenthusiastic. As a result of that meeting, the idea of creating an advisory committee for an in-depth review and update emerged. The council is expected to review the revised draft at its Aug. 9 meeting.

State solar legislation

Tax Assessor David Robert gave the council his perspective on the differences between General House bills 6676 and 8220, each of which are related to potential tax breaks to solar developers and, if approved, are predicted to create a corresponding loss in future tax revenue to towns and cities. Robert said HB 6676 is unlikely to move forward; however, its replacement, HB 8220, if approved in the current legislative session, will be effective Dec. 31 of this year.

“There is definitely a tax impact if this bill passes,” said Robert. As it is currently drafted, he said the bill would cause Tiverton to lose roughly $7,000 or $8,000 a year in tax revenue.

Councilor Donna Cook said she questioned the motivation for the proposed legislation, approval of which, she said, would mean developers would save money while taxpayers would have to “reach into their pockets.”

In response, Councilor Mike Burk noted that Rep. Arthur Handy (D-District 18) is the sponsor of HB 8220.

“He is a long-time environmental activist and a long-time supporter of solar. I do not think – and I can’t speak for him – that his motivation was at all to take taxes away from cities and towns. Certainly that’s an unintended consequence. He is a big supporter of … efforts to reduce climate change. I imagine that’s a big part of his motivation for this.”

Following discussion, the council voted unanimously to direct the town solicitor to prepare a resolution opposing HB 6676 or any comparable legislation, such as HB 8220, that comes before the House and Senate this year.

Fogland Beach

The council approved the Recreation Commission’s request to purchase a replacement gatehouse at a cost of $12,685. Funding sources are a $6,000 CRMC grant awarded the town’s Open Space Commission and $6,685 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) monies. The purchase price includes the cost of the 8’ x 8’ movable metal gatehouse, security grates over each window, and delivery to the site.

The council also approved an amended ordinance allowing the town to impose a $20 fine for drivers who violate a parking ban between 10 p.m. and sunrise from the intersection of 3 Rod Way and Fogland Road to the intersection of 3 Rod Way and Wilcox Street. The parking restriction and fine may be waived at the council’s discretion for occasional special events at the beach.

Summer Concert Series

Councilors approved the Recreation’s Commission’s request to hold a series of free, family-friendly evening concerts at Bulgarmarsh Park Pavilion on six evenings in July and August. The town's "Concerts in the Park' will run from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, July 14, 21 and 28, and Friday, August 5, 12 and 19.

 

2022 by East Bay Newspapers

Barrington · Bristol · East Providence · Little Compton · Portsmouth · Tiverton · Warren · Westport
Meet our staff
Mike Rego

Mike Rego has worked at East Bay Newspapers since 2001, helping the company launch The Westport Shorelines. He soon after became a Sports Editor, spending the next 10-plus years in that role before taking over as editor of The East Providence Post in February of 2012. To contact Mike about The Post or to submit information, suggest story ideas or photo opportunities, etc. in East Providence, email mrego@eastbaymediagroup.com.