Land Trust approves concession stand requestFinal approval rests with Town Council
The main topic of conversation at the Feb. 10 Land Trust meeting was a request, and subsequent approval, to sell “concessions” on the Trust’s K & H property in New Harbor, across from Legion Park. The request came from island resident Cindy Kelly, who was one of the recipients of the new Hawker’s and Peddler’s Licenses recently granted by the Town Council.
Kelly, whose business is to be called “Pots ‘n Kettles,” had initially proposed to locate her newly acquired food truck at the Ball O’Brien Park, but easements on that property prohibit any commercial uses, forcing her to seek alternative locations. The K & H property is not the only location she is pursuing, trustee Barbara MacMullan reported.
From the audience, First Warden Kim Gaffett said that whatever locations the licensees selected would be subject to final approval from the Town Council.
MacMullan went on to provide details of Kelly’s proposal. She would back the truck into the property through an opening in the stone wall, and park in such a way as to block other vehicles from entering the site. Customers would be able to park along West Side Road. The license restricts the hours of operation for licensees to between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Kelly also volunteered, in her request that she and her husband, Gene Hall, would provide maintenance to the property in the form of brush-cutting, mowing and ensuring that the truck did not cause damage to the surface. (The Land Trust is currently in the process of applying to the Coastal Resources Management Council for permission to mow a 10-foot path along an existing wall.)
The trustees agreed that the K&H property would be a good location in the summer, noting that the business would operate seven days per week in the summer and five days per week in the shoulder seasons. However, they acknowledged that during the winter months, a location elsewhere might be more suitable.
In terms of an actual agreement, trustees felt that they should adopt a fee structure for the use of the property similar to the town’s which is $300 per year. Attorney Joseph Priestley, who advises the Land Trust, noted that the language of an agreement should include some conditions, such as a “no interference” clause that would protect the trust’s mission; that no permanent structures be erected; that any clearing would need to be approved in advance; and that proper insurances indemnifying the trust would be secured.
MacMullan expressed that she thought this was “a pretty low impact use and request” and on a motion by trustee Denny Heinz, the trust approved Kelly’s request.
During the stewardship portion of the meeting, MacMullan reported that she had met with Bill Comings and Derek van Lent of the Block Island Conservancy as well as Sven Risom and Kevin Hoyt from the Committee for the Great Salt Pond (CGSP) to discuss an educational station for the Solviken property on Corn Neck Road.
The CGSP wants to build a platform with rails and educational signage just north of the existing foundation on the property, and having the available funds to do so, would like to move forward with the plan.
Heinz questioned why the rails would be necessary, and MacMullan responded that the platform would be slightly “cantilevered” and also that the rails would provide for the attached educational signage which could periodically be swapped out with new signage.
As with the request from Kelly, the devil is in the details, and trustees spoke of the need to come to some sort of agreement with the CGSP. Besides the need for approvals from the CRMC, and concerns about insurance during and after construction, trustees pondered whether it was necessary to draw up a lease between the parties, (a five-year lease at the cost of $1 per year was proposed) or whether a simpler “memo of understanding” would suffice. Priestley noted that either would work and that he would draft a proposal for the next meeting.
Meanwhile, MacMullan noted that van Lent was working on additional drawings for the proposed parking area, so that work too could begin this spring.
The trustees also pored over materials about the Eleventh Annual Land and Water Conservation Summit to be held on March 8 at the University of Rhode Island’s Kingston campus. The summit is organized by the Rhode Island Land Trust Council, the Rhode Island Blueways Alliance and the Rhode Island Association of Conservation Commissions.
All three of the trustees present expressed interest in attending the summit, which offers several workshops throughout the day-long event.
Finally, although there was no Treasurer’s report, due to the absence of Treasurer Barby Michel, MacMullan noted that the trust took in $165,142.50 in transfer fees during the month of January.