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NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. — The North Kingstown Town Council agreed to review a previously denied application for tax exempt status by the Rhode Island Farm Incubator at Shewatuck Farm on Exeter Road during its meeting on Monday Nov. 8.

The Farm Incubator is a non-profit farmer education facility founded in 2016. Rick Pace, the treasurer and ethicist of Incubator, and their administrator and farm manager, David DeFrancesco, requested a review of the council’s decision to deny their application that came before the council in May of this year.

Pace said that they had been unaware that it was going before the council at the time and requested that they be given a chance to prepare a new report.

“The incubator is a research and development venture incubator, it is not a commercial enterprise,” Pace explained. “What we do is support entrepreneurial partners in order to help them develop their own enterprises. At the current time we have 7 people.”

Pace requested that the council give the incubator a more specific criteria so that they could prepare a package to better explain their need. Responding to this the council requested that if the farm wanted to validate its request it would need to provide concrete evidence of its value to residents of the town to compensate for the tax exempt status it is applied for.

After hearing the council’s concerns, Pace thanked the council for their time and said the farm incubator would work with its attorney to provide whatever it was that the council would need. It was agreed that a new presentation would be prepared by the farm sometime in January for review.

Town Manager Ralph Mollis announced in his report that the LIbrary Board of Trustees has hired Ryan Brennan as the new director of the North Kingstown Library.  Brennan will begin his tenure on February 29 after leaving the Rogers Free Library in Bristol where he has held the same position since 2020.

Mollis also announced that the town is hosting the second annual holiday decorating grant program. The program provides funding for Post Road business owners and tenants to decorate their properties for the holiday season. Mollis said he encourages businesses, tenants, and property owners on Post Road to access the application on the town council’s website or to call Joe Donohoe in the planning department at 401-294-3331 ext.312, or to email him at jdonohoe@northkingstown.org with any questions.

“I want to encourage our business owners, property owners and tenants to take advantage of this program,” said Town Manager Ralph Mollis. “It really is a great program. It’s free money for them, and we’re really hoping it helps to decorate the corridor of Post Road.”

Speaking of Post Road, the RI Department of Transportation will be conducting a review on the Post Road diet. Mollis provided the DOT with traffic information, accident information, historical data and town council records and they will be having a safety team reviewing the information. When more information is available Mollis said he will present it to the council.

Mollis said that at Councilor McKay’s request his department will be working with URI Professor Dr. Thomas Mather to place informative signs about tick habitats throughout the many trails in town. He said that the signs would contain information such as prevention strategies to protect people venturing into tick habitats as well as what to do after visiting such an area.

“Hopefully this information will be useful to the many residents and visitors who walk and hike and bike in these areas,” Mollis said. “On the signs there is actually a barcode where you can use your phone to get all your information on the tick habitat and what to do, what to look for.”

The parades committee is having their annual Veteran’s Day Commemoration and wreath laying and parade Thursday November 11. The festivities will open with a wreath laying at 9 a.m. at Veteran’s Memorial Park followed by a parade kicking off from Wilson Park at 10 a.m. and will conclude with a ceremony at North Kingstown High School.

As part of their other business, the town council heard an application from the Coastal Resources Management Council regarding the running of underground lines around Quonset and Camp avenue. Council President Mancini made a point of voicing citizen’s concerns regarding light pollution caused by the removal of trees during the construction process.

Mancini said that he would like to approve the projects conditionally as long as there will be adequate replacement of the trees in the areas and attention to concerns of both noise resulting from the work and the quality of life concerns.

The committee approved the proposals under the condition that these concerns will be taken into account and new language will be drafted to reflect the concerns.

The council’s next meeting will be on November 22 at 7 p.m.

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