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Narragansett to seek survey to study five popular ocean roads

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A man enjoys surfcasting off Hazard Avenue in Narragansett Monday afternoon. The town of Narragansett recently voted to ask for quotes for a professional survey of five local roads, including Hazard Avenue, to ensure that the popular right-of-ways to the ocean remain viable.

NARRAGANSETT, R.I. — The town of Narragansett could take a closer look at waterfront public access points on five Narragansett roads in an effort to ensure that the popular right-of-ways to the ocean remain viable.

On a 4-1 vote, the Town Council directed Town Manager James Tierney to ask for quotes for a professional survey of the roads – Pilgrim Avenue, Conant Street, Hazard and Newton Avenues and Bass Rock Road.

Councilors Patrick Murray and Ewa Dzwierzynski introduced the measure.

“This issue has been out there for quite some time,” Murray said. Murray asked several months ago for surveys of Pilgrim and Conant. The new request includes the three additional streets.

Murray argues the access points are under-used, and that a professional survey would determine if abutting property owners have encroached on them.

The survey also would help the town provide safe and practical parking options for the areas and improve unrestricted access, Murray said.

The request for a survey originates from the town’s newly-formed Coastal Access Improvement Committee.

“As the town body that reviews the status of all coastal (right-of-ways) in Narragansett a majority of the CAIC has agreed that there is a critical need for current land surveys given the effects of climate change, sea level rise, and coastal development,” the group wrote in a report to the council.

The committee said a survey would help to establish property lines and allow for an evaluation of the parking schemes, position of signage, foot paths and potential effects on public safety.

The group’s observations of the right-of-ways note several parking schemes and narrow roadways that could lead to problems with public safety vehicles like rescue trucks getting through. Also, some pathways suffer from problems such as overgrowth, muddy foot paths and poor drainage.

“At all these points there have been parking issues,” Murray said. “This would hopefully ease some of the contention in those areas.”

Voting against was Council President Pro Tem Susan Cicilline Buonanno. She said she could not see the benefit to a survey of the areas.

“I think we’ve done a lot down there and I know this council has improved coastal access,” she said. “I just think it’s poking the bear; I’m just not sure why we’re going down there to do that.”

Murray characterized it as the town’s duty to manage the state access points.

“There hasn’t been a survey since I think 1980. They need to be updated. In some cases property owners have encroached 20 feet,” he said.  “We’re not managing it very well. When we leave I want my kid’s kid to be able to go there and go fishing, or surfing or scuba diving.”

Narragansett has been sued by residents on Pilgrim and Conant Avenues over the parking along those roads. The residents claim the town did not perform due diligence when it modified parking on the roads, Council President Jesse Pugh said.

Pugh said if the town is going to do a survey, it should include the entire roadway for all five.

“Let’s know whose property it is,” he said. “Let’s get the surveys done so we know where we stand. I don’t see how you can go wrong having updated records and knowing the lines.”

The town will ask for potential surveyors to submit separate quotes for surveys of just the right-of-ways and for the whole road. The council would need to vote again to approve any proposal, as well as a funding source for it.

(3) comments

Catherine

On the off chance the comment posted was not tongue-in-cheek cheek -

This from a nationally recognized artist :

narragansett

The ‘graffiti annihilator’ continues her quest to clean up Narragansett

By Brenton Bauerle Staff Writer Jul 30, 2016

After Holley Flagg and her friends have brought out the paint, tags of graffiti are no longer visible on the rocks at Newton Avenue.

Courtesy: Holley Flagg

When one thinks about the beautiful Narragansett landscape, graffiti is not the first aesthetic to come to mind. That may be because of the ongoing efforts of a dedicated band of Pier residents who take great pleasure, as local artist and self-proclaimed “graffiti annihilator” Holley Flagg put it, in “obliterating’ the marks that have been tagged on rocks around Newton and Hazard avenues and Black Point Fishing Area for years.

The cleanup started years ago, after the death of a student prompted youths to spray paint messages of support, condolence and grief on the rocks that line Hazard Avenue, an act that Flagg said she felt sympathetic to, but ultimately felt had gone too far.

“We had graffiti problems for years on Hazard Avenue before then, and we had done all kinds of things to try and combat it – calling contractors, trying to get sand blasters, all kinds of things. Eventually I just said, ‘Well, guess we have to do it ourselves,’ and we went to work,” Flagg said. “Obviously I felt for [the students] but it’s not the message of the words that mattered to myself and other residents, it was their mere presence. No one ever really retaliated, so I think people generally understood why we did what we did.”

Flagg, who is a fine art artist with work on display in public and private collections, decided to take matters into her own hands.

Flagg and her sister (and neighbor), Camilla Lee, began the process by purchasing rock-toned house paint from Jerry’s Paint & Hardware in Narragansett (which now supplies the paint for free), and painstakingly covering any signs of tagging with a painting style that makes the rock appear to be in its natural state. They did this to preserve the natural beauty of the rocks on Hazard and Newton avenues and at Black Point, which the pair began cleaning up in 2010. After the initial cleanup efforts, they were joined by Marianne Chronley, who has been an active participant in the endeavor ever since, and Michael Pellini, who was active in the effort for some time before scaling back his efforts.

“My sister and I, we walk up and down these streets because it’s a lovely area and I think people appreciate the beauty of it, especially people who live in the area,” Flagg said. “Any time people see us doing a cleanup, they come up and thank us for it, which I think shows that it’s something the community wants.”

The cleanup projects weren’t always so rosy, however. When Flagg and Lee started their efforts, they were often concerned that Narragansett Police or the Department of Environmental Management might stop them. In an ironic twist, Flagg said, they were worried they might be cited for defacing the rocks – when they were attempting to clean them up.

“That was a concern at first, but we’ve never heard anything from anyone about having to stop what we’re doing,” she said.

Beyond those worries, the paint jobs are sometimes fraught with peril, as the tagging can be on tall rocks or on cliff faces. Flagg said with a little ingenuity (including a rope system that allowed Pellini to repaint a marked up cliff face) they have covered nearly every tag of graffiti they have found over the years.

narragansett@independentri.com

thinkProgress

George W,

What you see as "graffiti" and "trash" others see as artwork and contributions to nature. When a bee leaves behind a hive do you get as offended? What about a bird who leaves their nest? This is a part of nature that should be embraced. I keep hearing about condoms and needles being referred "trash" or "garbage" but most don't see it this way. Fellow humans were enjoying and embracing nature in the same way you see the birds and squirrels and rabbits. This community needs to focus on less finger pointing, less policing, more access to public land and a higher minimum wage. Together we can achieve great things. Get woke, don't be a joke.

Gorgeous_George_W

This is important. If you don't properly mark the property lines and establish where the public has the right of way .. then the greedy landowners nearby will keep encroaching. Though, I will say, one thing I find extremely disappointing when visiting these public areas, not just in Narragansett, is the amount of graffiti and trash left behind. Why? Why do these people have to mar the scenic beauty of these areas and why do they just choose to leave their garbage everywhere. If I lived by, I point this out a strong case for no letting the public use these right of ways!

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