Tiverton Town Council needs to intervene in town administrator power grab

Posted 5/6/22

To the editor:

The Tiverton Town Council needs to step up to the plate on this one and rein in the town administrator in his current attempts to control the planning board and its decision-making. …

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Tiverton Town Council needs to intervene in town administrator power grab

Posted

To the editor:

The Tiverton Town Council needs to step up to the plate on this one and rein in the town administrator in his current attempts to control the planning board and its decision-making. By various moves, the town administrator is trying to create a new, greatly expanded role for himself in the planning process. The danger to the town is quite plain. If decisions can be made behind closed doors by the town administrator alone, major development can proceed free of public oversight and be subject to only limited review by the planning board.

The latest example of the town administrator’s overreach is his recent memo stating that any decision to retain independent review by consultants to the town on applications submitted on major developments will now be made by the planner and no longer by the planning board. Sounds fine until you are aware that the town administrator has previously stated the planner reports to him, not the planning board. Bear in mind the developments that need independent review are the major ones that change traffic patterns, create stormwater issues, raise costs for public safety, and impact water and sewer capacity. By law, those are the issues that the planning board must decide – not the planner. And, those are the issues that the planning board needs expert advice on.

If you are a developer, the path to acceptance of your application is clear. Deal with the town administrator and his proxy, the planner — neither of whom is a Tiverton resident who will be negatively impacted by uncontrolled growth — to make sure the planning board’s role is reduced. The planning board, on the other hand, represents Tiverton residents by making sure new development aligns with our priorities, as expressed in Tiverton’s Comprehensive Community Plan.

The town council needs to exert leadership and return the planning process to the planning board, in accordance with the State of Rhode Island.

Marc C. Pfeiffer

Tiverton

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