NARRAGANSETT, R.I. — The Narragansett Town Council on Monday formally voted to end a 2019 purchase agreement that Narragansett had entered into with the business that operates Pier Liquors.
The unanimous vote reverses the August 2019 move to sell a part of the Belmont Building — the proposed site of a new town library — to DSM Pier Realty LLC.
With a change in town councils and Pier Liquors coming to a lease agreement last year, there was little if any momentum remaining for a sale of the property.
“This (agreement) remains out there,” Town Solicitor Mark Davis told the council before the vote Monday. “In speaking to Pier Realty’s legal counsel, there is a willingness and desire to put this behind both parties once and for all.”
In a contentious 3-2 vote in August 2019, the previous council decided to sell part of the Belmont/IGA building that includes Pier Liquors to the local liquor retailer for $735,000, a move supporters of putting a new library in the building called irresponsible. At that time, councilors Jesse Pugh and Patrick Murray wanted to offer the store a long-term lease of 20 years, in five-year blocks.
In August of 2020, grassroots groups Love Your Library and the Friends of the Narragansett Library, along with Pier Marketplace owner Gilbane, Inc. and Pier Liquors reached a lease agreement.
The sides agreed in principle to a long-term lease that would allow the library and liquor store to both operate in the Pier Marketplace for at least the next five years, with an option for a five-year renewal.
Monday’s decision also releases to DSM Pier Realty a $50,000 escrow deposit the town had received at the time the purchase and sales agreement was inked.
The town also will reimburse DSM Pier $4,412 the business paid in early 2020 to conduct a survey that would have converted the space into condominiums.
Also Monday, the council voted unanimously to approve a slate of changes to parking along Conant, Louise and Pilgrim avenues in Point Judith.
The changes were approved as a first reading again Monday because a previous approval at the last council meeting didn’t include amendments to set times that the restrictions are in effect. The reintroduced resolution also consolidated all three subject streets into one resolution.
The changes the council passed permit parking between 5:01 a.m. and 8:59 p.m. on the south side of Conant Avenue, from Ocean Road to the end of the access point, on the north side of Pilgrim Avenue from Ocean Road to the end of the access point and the south side of Louise Avenue, from Ocean Road to Calef Avenue.
Several people spoke out again both for and against the changes. Residents complained that allowing the parking affects quality of life, while surfers and others who use the water pointed to the need to have access to the shore.
“We have to do what is best for all residents of the town,” Council President Pugh said. “We’ve been working on this for a year and a half, and also have tried to compromise. This proposal does nothing structurally to that neighborhood. It takes the penalty away for people that are parking on that road.”
At the start of Monday’s meeting, members of the Southgansett Girl Scouts and other Scouts from Troop 31 led the council in the Pledge of Allegiance to celebrate National Girl Scout Week, March 7-13. The council also received Girl Scout cookies and presented the Scouts with a Girl Scout Week proclamation.
“This is one of our favorite parts of being on the council,” Pugh said.