Our preview of this meeting was published here.
The agenda packet for the 7 pm meeting is here. The video for the meeting can be viewed here.
The agenda item to consider a Resolution of support for ensuring public access to the west side of the Quonnie Breachway via the Sand Trail was the first major agenda item. Councilor Cooper questioned the firm statement about "town interest"; the Council agreed unanimously to remove the words "and that this designation is in the best interest of the citizens of the Town of Charlestown." The letter drew strenuous opposition from Michael Sands of the Nope's Island Conservation Association. He complained about motor vehicles illegally driving off of the trail and onto the beach and the lack of police or DEM enforcement. After discussion, the Council voted to amend the letter to remove the words "the pedestrian and vehicular" and the amended letter was approved 3-1 (Councilor Cooper opposed and Councilor Serra absent).
As was expected, there was a lot of discussion on the agenda item to consider requesting a Superior Court review of whether Charlestown's election, rather than appointment, of Planning Commission members is legal under State law. Most of the speakers clearly wanted to continue using elections for the Planning Commission and did not want to know whether State law allows that or not. There was some argument that this question was already decided in the past, but no evidence for that was obtained before the meeting. In the end, Council President Carney made a motion to not ask for a court review. That motion passed unanimously.
The discussion about Charlestown Beach Road resulted in scheduling a special meeting to have a discussion with town staff on August 21 at 6 pm.
Regarding revision of the Hazard Mitigation Plan, Charlestown EMA Director Kevin Gallup will work to produce a Request for Purchase for the revision work by September.
Regarding the red-light cameras, Councilor Stokes offered to work with the Police Chief and Acting Town Administrator to produce a report on the performance, effectiveness, and finances of the camera system. The current contract is set to expire in November 2024. Councilor Stokes stressed that this is not a drive to remove the cameras, just to produce an evaluation. The Council voted unanimously to authorize Councilor Stokes to work on the report.
Councilors Stokes and Cooper both volunteered to serve as liaison to the Commercial Design Subcommittee. The Council agreed unanimously to appoint both of them as liaisons.
The meeting adjourned at 9:46 pm.