Why would anyone give away their rights to use property they own?
Why would anyone give away their rights to use property they own? That very scenario could come to pass in
The March 12, 2012, Town Council meeting agenda, and two subsequent agendas, included three resolutions from Councilor Dan Slattery, each involving
. Councilor Slattery proposed that Ninigret Park Charlestown create agreements with various entities that would require the Town to get permission from non- owners. Ninigret Park
The premise behind these agreements is that somehow the Federal Government will take back
Ninigret Park from unless the town gives up its rights to the land. Land that Charlestown owns. Charlestown
Councilor Slattery’s first resolution calls for
Numerous committees, residents, and members of the Town staff worked diligently to create the Master Plan and then build town consensus supporting it. Why would anyone want to discard five years' worth of hard work to update a plan that’s good for another six years?
Councilor Slattery’s second resolution calls for
Charlestown to place all of , including 55 acres owned outright by the town, under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Specifically, Mr. Slattery wants to “require all town staff or commissions to coordinate any proposed changes to Ninigret Park with this stakeholder before the Town Council makes any votes on any Park related matter.” Ninigret Park
Councilor Slattery’s third resolution calls for another agreement that gives the Frosty Drew Observatory and the neighbors of
the right to determine what happens in the Park. He wants to “require all town staff or commissions to coordinate any proposed changes to Ninigret Park with these stakeholders.” Aren’t the real stakeholders all the citizens of Ninigret Park ? Charlestown
There are many problems with Councilor Slattery’s resolutions; chief among them is that they disregard the fact that the town owns two parcels of land at
. One parcel is 55 acres and the other is 172 acres. Ninigret Park
As noted in meeting minutes from 1994 with John Kelly from the National Park Service, “The Park was received as one contiguous property, but there is a differentiation in the restrictions on different parts of the property that arises from the difference in the deeds of the two parcels. The 55 acres is owned outright by the Town of
through purchase, this parcel is not within the jurisdiction of the National Park Service.” Charlestown
The 55 acres is owned outright by the town. The town entered into an agreement with Frosty Drew on March 14, 1983, allowing Frosty Drew to use the parcel of land. I have no issues with Frosty Drew, but why would the town grant such sweeping rights to a group that is using town land for free?
In 2002, the National Park Service again acknowledged that
is really two properties, and that they have no jurisdiction over the 55 acres. Ninigret Park
This came up when
Charlestown was considering withdrawing from the Chariho School District and was contemplating building two schools at on the town-owned 55 acres. Facilitation Committee meeting minutes from 2002 state, “Elyse LaForest of National Park Service stated National Parks would have nothing to say if the physical plant is located on the town owned 55 acres.” Ninigret Park
In 1994, John Kelly from the National Park Service stated the town-owned 55 acres is not within the jurisdiction of the National Park Service.
In 2002, Elyse LaForest from the National Park Service stated National Parks would have nothing to say if the physical plant is located on the town 55 acres. Over the past 2 decades, National Parks has been clear that the Town owns the 55 acres and they have no jurisdiction over the Town-owned land. National Parks has not threatened to take back the land. The Town owns the land.
The remaining 172-acre parcel was transferred to the Town of
by the National Park Service for parks and recreation use by the public. One of the requirements was a ten-year plan of utilization. That was done in 1994. The updated Master Plan was approved in 2008. Charlestown
It doesn’t make sense for the Charlestown Town Council to give away any of the Town’s rights to use
. The town owns 55 acres. The remaining 172-acre parcel is to be used for parks and recreation as is planned in the existing Master Plan. Ninigret Park
I hope that when the Town Council considers Councilor Slattery’s motions on April 23rd, the majority will see that those resolutions just don’t make sense.