1. General 11

2. Land Use Types 11

a. The Village 11

b. The Jamestown Shores 12

c. Rural Residential Areas 13

d. Conservation Areas 13

3. Current Land Use 17

4. Land Use and Zoning 19

5. Future Land Use 25

6. Future Land Use Achievements Based Upon the 1991 Goals, Policies, Recommendations and Implementation Methods 28



1. Physical Geography 41

a. Soils 41

b. Prime Farmland Soils & Farmland Soils of Statewide
Significance 45

c. Slope 47

d. Topography and Geology 47

e. Hydrology 48

f. Flood Hazard Areas 48

2. Water Resources 53

a. Coastal Resources 53

1) Public shoreline access 54

b. Freshwater and Estuarine Resources 56

1) Wetlands 59

2) Center Island watershed and the public reservoirs 60

3) Streams and Ponds 61

c. Surface Water Quality 61

d. Groundwater Resources 64

e. Ground Water Quality 68

f. Water quality protection methods 70

3. Wildlife/Vegetation 79

a. Great Creek/Round Swamp 80

b. Gould Island 80

c. Beavertail Park 80

d. Jamestown Brook and Wetlands 81

4. Natural Resources Achievements Based Upon the 1991 Goals, Policies,
Recommendations and Implementation Methods 83

5. Cultural and Historical Resources 89

a. National Historic Register 90

1) Great Creek Archeological District 90

2) Windmill Hill Historic District 90

3) Beavertail Light 91

4) Conanicut Battery 91

5) Joyner Archeological Site 92

6) Keeler Archeological Site 92

7) Fort Dumpling Site 92

8) Artillery Park and Town Cemetery 92

9) Jamestown Windmill 93

10) Friends Meeting House 93

11) Dutch Island Lighthouse 93

12) Conanicut Island Lighthouse 93

b. Sites Eligible for National Register 93

c. State Identified Districts and Structures 94

d. Cultural Resources 94

1) Archeological Resources 94

2) Native American Burial Grounds 95

3) Town Historic Records/Archives 96

4) Ferry Landing 96

5) Historic Cemeteries 96

6) Stone Walls 97

7) Scenic Sites and Landscapes 97

8) Other Cultural Resources 98

e. Threats to Historic and Cultural Resources 98

f. Past Preservation Activity 101

g. Cultural and Historical Achievements Based Upon the 1991 Goals
Policies, Recommendations and Implementation Methods 101


1. Conservation and Open Space 105

a. Functions of Conservation Land and Open Space 110

b. Inventory of Conservation and Open Space Land 111

1) Gould Island/Bay Island Park System 111

2) Sunset Farm Conservation Easement 111

3) Hammond Pond 112

4) North Reservoir 112

5) Cedar Hill Farm Conservation Easement 112

6) Watson Farm 112

7) South Pond Reservoir 112

8) Hodgkiss Farm 113

9) Jamestown Windmill 113

10) Friends Meeting House 113

11) Great Creek 113

12) Conanicut Island Sanctuary 114

13) Jamestown Estates II Conservation Easement 114

14) Taylor Point Park 114

15) Artillery Garden Cemetery 114

16) Shoreby Hill Green 114

17) Shoreby Hill Field 114

18) Emmons Property 115

19) Racquet Road Audubon Thicket Site 115

20) Sheffield Cove Audubon Site 115

21) Fort Wetherill State Park 115

22) Fox Hill Farm Area 115

23) Fox Hill Audubon Site 115

24) Dutch Island Bay Island Park 116

25) Fort Getty Park 116

26) Conanicut Battery 116

27) Lipincott Easement 116

28) Beavertail Farm Conservation Easement 116

29) Beavertail State Park 116

30) Jamestown Shores Heads Beach 117

31) Commerce Oil Wetlands 117

32) Godena Farm 117

33) 138 (The John Eldred Parkway) Wetlands 117

34) Mackerel Cove Beach 118

35) Hull Cove/Franklin Hollow 118

36) Viera Farm 118

37) Ryng Property 118

38) Capozzi 118

c. Conservation and Open Space Achievements Based Upon
the 1991 Goals, Policies, Recommendations and
Implementation Methods 118

2. Agriculture 120

a. History of Agriculture 120

b. Current Agriculture 120

c. Agriculture Achievements Based Upon the 1991 Goals, Policies
Recommendations and Implementation Methods 121

3. Recreation 122

a. Trends in Recreation 122

b. Goals of the Recreation Department 123

c. Recreation Facility Improvement, Development, and
Acquisition Methods 123

d. Classification of Recreational Facilities 124

e. Standards for Recreational Facilities 125

f. Recreational Facilities and Programs 127

g. Inventory of Recreation Facilities and Programs 127

1) Pemberton Mini Park 127

2) East Ferry Mini Park and Beach 127

3) Jamestown Shores Beach 127

4) Jamestown School Multi-Purpose Recreation
Area – Playfield 127

5) John Eldred Recreation Area 128

6) Jamestown Community Playground 129

7) Jamestown Golf Course and Country Club 129

8) Taylor Point Park 129

9) Fort Getty Recreation Area 129

10) Mackerel Cove 130

h. Water Related Recreational Activities and Facilities 133

i. Recreational Achievements Based Upon the 1991 Goals,
Policies, Recommendations and Implementation Methods 134


1. Jamestown’s Economy Since the 1970s 137

2. Jamestown’s Economy Today 137

3. Commercial Development and Zoning 143

4. Summer Tourism and The Waterfront 153

5. Economic Development Achievements Based Upon the 1991 Goals,
Policies, Recommendations and Implementation Methods 155


1. History 159

2. Vehicular Transportation Patterns 160

a. The Effects of the Route 138 Upgrade, John Eldred Parkway 160

3. Road Classification Systems 161

a. Local Classification System 161

b. Major Roads 162

c. State Classification System 162

4. Road Maintenance and Improvements 167

a. State Roads 167

b. Local Roads 167

c. Private Roads 169

5. Traffic Signals 169

6. Street Lighting 169

7. Parking 169

8. Public Transportation 176

9. Traffic Volume and Accidents 177

10. Alternate Modes of Transportation 177

a. Bicycling 177

b. Walking 178

c. Marine Transportation 178

11. Circulation Achievements Based Upon the 1991 Goals,
Policies, Recommendations and Implementation Methods 179


1. Introduction 183

2. Housing Stock Characteristics 183

3. Housing Costs 188

4. Affordable Housing 188

5. Housing Costs Comparison 190

6. The Gap 190

7. Housing Assistance 193

a. Jamestown Housing Authority 193

b. Church Community Housing Corporation 193

c. Jamestown Affordable Housing Committee 193

d. Jamestown Planning Department 194

e. Welfare Officer 194

f. Bridges, Incorporated 194

g. New Visions of Newport County 194

h. Rhode Island Housing 194

8. Housing Programs 194

a. Home Repair Program 194

b. Revolving Loan Program 195

c. Housing Trust Fund 195

d. Home Ownership Program 195

e. Jamestown Village 195

f. Council Action 195

9. Future Housing Needs 196

10. Housing Achievements Based Upon the 1991 Goals, Policies,
Recommendations and Implementation Methods 197


1. Introduction 201

2. Fiscal Analysis 201

3. Town Government 203

4. Community Services and Facilities 203

a. Administrative/Departmental Services 203

1) Town Hall 204

2) Town Offices Building 205

3) Town Planning and Recreation 205

4) Animal Control 205

5) Harbormaster’s Office/Recreation Center 206

b. Educational Services and Facilities 207

c. Library 210

d. Public Works Services and Facilities 211

1) Administration and Engineering 211

2) Highway Department 211

3) Trash Removal 212

e. Public Water Supply and Treatment 213

1) Water/Sewer Regulations 214

2) Active land acquisition program 217

3) Zoning Ordinance 217

4) Land Management 217

5) Water/Sewer Regulations 217

f. Wastewater Treatment Plant 218

g. Municipal Golf Course 219

h. Senior Services 220

i. Public Safety 220

1) Police Station 220

2) Fire and Rescue 221

3) Ambulance Services 222

4) Emergency Management 223

j. Social Services 223

1) New Visions of Newport County 224

2) Church Community Housing Corporation (CCHC) 224

3) Visiting Nurse Services of Washington County and
Jamestown 224

4) Bridges, Incorporated 224

k. Public Services and Facilities Achievements Based Upon the
1991 Goals, Policies, Recommendations and Implementation
Methods 224



1. Survey Profile 227

2. Data Summary 228

3. Conclusion 230


1. Assumptions and Considerations 231

2. Definitions 231

3. Findings of Buildout Analysis 240


Natural and Cultural Resources 243

Open Space, Agriculture and Recreation 253

Economic Development 263

Circulation 269

Housing 273

Public Services and Facilities 276





























"PROTECT JAMESTOWN'S RURAL CHARACTER" is the driving theme in Conanicut Island’s 2000 Comprehensive Plan. This clear vision emerged from the 1998 Citizen Survey, numerous public meetings, and public workshops dedicated toward the

production of this document.

The Planning Commission, understanding the vagueness and vastness of the term, has defined rural character to mean that which is unique to the Island of Jamestown and is infused with a rural feeling, an island spirit and a village identity.

The 1998 Citizen Survey, distributed to 3,675 registered voters and taxpayers, received an overwhelming 31 percent return rate. This survey affirmed the overall goal of protecting the community’s rural character. To maintain Jamestown’s rural character is to preserve our island community’s values, aesthetics and functions. Growth must be managed within the capability of the Island’s natural resources and the Town’s ability to support it.

We must strive for development that respects the identity of our community.

Values - What values are we speaking of?

Common values relate to a shared feeling of community and personal identification with the people and physical presence of the Island. The values are a sense of cooperation, caring human contact, volunteerism, involvement, and interest in the future of the community. These values should be reflected by a diversity of citizenry in terms of income, education, occupation, economic activity and lifestyle. Values create a place where respect and consideration for each other, as well as a personal affinity with both the natural and man made physical environment, flourish.

Aesthetics - - What are the aesthetic qualities that should be emphasized in Jamestown?

Active farmland, woodland, coastal, and historic features characterize the small Island community of Jamestown. Historic values apply as much to the context in which landmarks occur as to the landmarks themselves. Other special and unique environments also characterize the Island, including such coastal features as Great Creek, Sheffield Cove, the Dumplings, Clingstone, Beavertail, and others. Also unique to Jamestown are country roads with over-arching trees, summer homes, modest cottages, stone walls, scenic vistas over stretches of farmland, and a low traffic volume.

All of these special qualities can be lost with the application of inappropriate code requirements, development pressures, inappropriate building types, high intensity nighttime illumination, inappropriate traffic solutions and thoughtless development. As we develop land use controls, we must strive to ensure that the unique and special qualities of the Island are considered.


Functions – What functions are appropriate to the community we wish to promote and what are their characteristics?

The village center needs to be pedestrian friendly, low key and provide a sense of place. Commerce needs to be varied to meet local needs, inclusive of the essentials of Island life.

Government should be small, responsive and largely dependent on volunteers.

Sailing, boating and marine related activities are an important aspect of Jamestown's rural character. The features that make boating attractive on Jamestown could attract use beyond our capabilities for accommodation.

Recreation is a major attraction of Jamestown and it requires both physical and visual space and access. Physical access should be focused on areas capable of handling the number of users.

Residential use should continue to be village-like in character. Residential use should also strive to be available to all income levels. Jamestown has been a summer community as well as a farming and fishing village. All of these need to be represented. Housing should not preempt all of the existing open areas; it should be developed within the natural landscape, not apart from it.

Agriculture uses should continue to be encouraged. Agriculture should not be swallowed up by housing, or destroyed by taxation.

The Center Island Watershed should continue to be protected. Development should not exceed on-island natural supplies of water. Conservation of existing water supplies should continue to be emphasized, as well as finding new methods to supplement the existing yield.

Tourism should be compatible with our community. The anticipated revenues should not work to the detriment of the other values set forth in the Comprehensive Community Plan.

Both new and existing roads should remain rural in character and should not be made over to conform to urban norms implemented elsewhere. Old roads should be retrofitted when possible and new roads should be made to accommodate vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians.

How do we measure success of this Comprehensive Community Plan?

In accordance with community vision, the Comprehensive Community Plan states a clear set of goals forming the basis for the measurement of value and quality of the future development of Jamestown. The implementation of these goals will gauge success of the 2001 Comprehensive Community Plan. They emulate those adopted in the 1991 Comprehensive Plan and have since been confirmed by the 1998 Community Survey. The goals of the citizens of Jamestown are as follows:

1. First and foremost, to maintain the Island's rural character.

2. Have clean Marine, Freshwater and Groundwater Resources.

3. Preserve and Protect unique, fragile, and scenic coastal areas.

4. Protect public accessibility to the shoreline.

5. Protect natural vegetation and wildlife habitat wherever possible throughout Town.

6. To protect and preserve all significant historical and cultural resources.

7. To protect the rural and historical village character of Jamestown.

8. Preserve significant conservation and open space on the Island.

9. Develop a comprehensive Land Acquisition Action Plan to raise funds through bonding and grants to acquire and/ or protect a substantial portion of the remaining undeveloped land in Jamestown for the preservation of water and coastal resources, access to the shore, scenic vistas and open space.

10. Increase public awareness on the importance of conservation of open space.

11. To protect and where possible increase the current acreage of working farmland.

12. Provide all residents with safe and accessible passive and active recreational opportunities.

13. To achieve a diverse local economy which provides job opportunities as well as basic goods and services for residents and maintains an affordable tax base.

14. To provide safe and efficient local circulation patterns that accommodate existing and future population growth.

15. Maintain Jamestown as a diversified community that provides housing opportunities for all people regardless of age, income, ethnic origin, or ability.

16. Recognize the delicate balance between maintaining the communities island character and the responsibility of providing housing opportunities for all income groups.

17. Provide a high quality of public services to the community that protect the health, safety, and welfare of all residents.

18. Provide orderly and efficient arrangement of public services and facilities that support the existing and future needs of the community.

We hope that this Plan serves the residents of Jamestown to achieve the vision of our future.




Jamestown is located on Conanicut Island in lower Narragansett Bay, 26 miles south of Providence and two miles west of Newport. Jamestown is bounded on the south by the Atlantic Ocean and is bounded on the north, east and west by Narragansett Bay. Recognized by Aquidneck settlers in 1639 for its good grazing grass, the Island was purchased from Native Americans in 1657. Jamestown was incorporated as an independent Town in 1678. Within Jamestown’s jurisdiction are the smaller islands of Dutch, Gould and the dumplings.

Historically, the development patterns of Jamestown are closely related to the Island’s undulating topography. Geologically, the Island was separated from the mainland during the carboniferous period. Glaciers cut the East and West Passages into the once fresh water lake of Narragansett Bay, and then receding and melting, left deposits of soil and rock carried from northern New England. The Dumplings are the oldest geological outcrop, connected prior to the Ice Age with Brenton Point across the East Passage in Newport.

Conanicut Island, approximately 8.7 miles long in its entirety and varying from 1 to 1.6 miles in width, is itself virtually divided into three separate landmasses. The largest, occupying the northern half of Conanicut, rises to an elevation of 140 feet in its center, commanding impressive views of the mid-Bay region. The site of Jamestown's most arable land, it was the location of the first intensive farming development on the Island, taking as its own cross axis the North Main Road and old North Ferry Road (today Eldred Avenue and the John Eldred Parkway). Aquipimokuk (today Gould Island) itself a landed farm, lay off shore to the east of this agricultural community.

Separated from the northern section by extensive salt marshes and a tidal creek, the center landmass supports the village center of Jamestown located along Narragansett Avenue. Legendarily an old Native American trail, Narragansett Avenue later became part of the Newport to New York Post Road, traversing the Island between the Newport Ferry and the Saunderstown Ferry, and for years was known simply as Ferry Road. Ferry Meadow was the name given to the tract of land, overlooking the Bay eastward to Newport and Fort Adams, on which much of the village was built. The nonarable rock outcropping of the Dumplings areas, south of the village, remained in an essentially natural state until developed as a summer resort area. Capitalizing on its extraordinary vistas, it was popularly known as the Ocean Highlands. It is here, too, that Fort Wetherill, the most extensive military fortification on the Island proper, was located.

To the southwest lies the third major section of Conanicut, Beaver Neck, extending into the Atlantic Ocean and connected to the main body of Conanicut by the sand spit of Mackerel Cove beach. Northwest of Beaver Neck lies Aquidnesset (today Dutch Island), enclosing the body of water immediately west of the Old Ferry Wharf, known as Dutch Harbor.

Europeans first settled the Island of Conanicut in 1657, purchasing it from the Narragansett Tribe of Native Americans. Around 1678, a town plan was drawn up for the Island: 6,000 acres were to be divided such that for every 20 acres of farmland, a one-acre town house lot was allotted and 260 acres total were allocated for the town center. 20-acres were set aside in addition for public use as an Artillery Lot and Cemetery. Choice of property was granted by the amount of investment involved and, accordingly, William Coddington and Benedict Arnold were given first choice, the former settling on the north of the Island, the latter on the south end to which he gave the name of Beaver Neck. The town plot was along the old Native American trail between the two ferry landings of Jamestown and Dutch Island Harbors. The plan, however, remained largely unfulfilled, and, ten years later, all land was simply divided among the original purchasers, with each of the 22 properties given a one-acre lot on Ferry Road.

The first real development of Conanicut Island hinged upon the establishment of a ferry to Newport and its market exchange. By at least 1675, a successful ferry ran to the northern community of the Island. In 1678, upon petition of Caleb Carr and Francis Brinley, Conanicut was incorporated as a Town "with the like privileges and liberties granted to New Shoreham" and named in honor of Prince James, later King James II. The Island retained the Native American name of Conanicut.

For the ensuing century, Jamestown would see steady and orderly development of political, religious, and institutional means, chiefly by the Quaker sect that settled in Newport. Highways soon became an issue on the Island. In 1703, action was taken in the general assembly relative to the highway "...which want to be laid forth according to the plat of the Island." By the end of the decade, these roads included North Main Road, North Ferry Road (Eldred Avenue and the John Eldred Parkway), Ferry Road (Narragansett Avenue) and a road southwest to the beach (Southwest Avenue). The first Town Hall was located on the North Main Road just south of North Ferry Road. In 1728, the Town ordered a windmill for grinding grain built near the northern crossroads, situated so as to utilize the prevalent ocean sea breeze. Two years later, in 1741, a schoolhouse was built, also in the northern district.

The first Quaker Meeting House was built in 1709 on the North Ferry Road grounds of the Old Friends Burial Ground. The Meeting House was relocated somewhat south to the present location in 1734, reflecting the eventual population trend southward. The British destroyed the Meeting House, and probably the windmill, during the Revolution; both were subsequently rebuilt on Windmill Hill in 1787 and remain preserved today. The Meeting House and the Windmill were the Town’s earliest public buildings and are both listed on the National Register of Historic Places. No other religious organizations erected churches on the Island until the mid 19th century, and only the Artillery Lot (also listed on the National Register) was located early on the original town plot 4 miles south.

The Beavertail Light, established in 1749, replaced an earlier 1705 watchhouse and 1712 beacon, and was the third lighthouse built on the Atlantic Coast. Destroyed and rebuilt in 1754, Beavertail Light was burned by the British in 1779; rebuilt soon thereafter, it was replaced by the present granite structure in 1856.

Military action had an impact on the history and development of Conanicut and the adjacent islands. In 1775, British and Hessian soldiers seized the Island and subsequently occupied it for almost three years. During this time they maintained the Conanicut Battery located on Prospect Hill on Beaver Neck Road. Fort Dumpling, located on a promontory along the southern Dumplings, was constructed in 1880-1881 on the site of an earlier British battery. Fort Dumpling was demolished in 1898 to make way for the construction of Fort Wetherill, and is now a state park. Jamestown remained primarily a quiet agricultural town until Newport's own revival as an exclusive Victorian resort overflowed to include Conanicut Island.

As the initial development of Jamestown had depended upon the establishment of adequate ferry service, the emergence of Jamestown as a summer resort area late in the 19th century depended upon the creation of a modern transportation system. In 1875, the Jamestown and Newport Ferry Company was formed, and the new steamer "Jamestown" was put into service, landing at the foot of Narragansett Avenue. In the same year, the Ocean Highlands Company was organized to improve the rugged lands in the southern part of the Island for summer estates. Settled largely by wealthy Philadelphia Quaker families and maintaining a safe distance from the flamboyance of Newport society, the area soon became one of the finest residential neighborhoods along the eastern seaboard. Built entirely of "indigenous" Shingle Style and Colonial Revival motifs, with several designs from the firm of McKim, Mead and White, the Ocean Highlands retains its integrity to date. Outstanding among these estates are Horsehead, Highland, and the Round House. The Shoreby Hill area in Town was similarly developed a decade later, with an orderly grouping of fine Shingle Style and Colonial Revival houses overlooking Jamestown Harbor, located along drives named for American authors.

Four Corners, at the intersection of the old Ferry Road (Narragansett Avenue), North Main Road and Southwest Avenue, continued its modest development as a center of civic activity. Already the site of the Artillery Lot, upon which had been built a small schoolhouse, both the Central Baptist and Protestant Episcopal Churches were located here in 1879. A new, simple Town Hall was also erected here in 1884. The earliest Jamestown Post Office was in a residence on the north side of Narragansett Avenue, just west of North Road.

By the turn of the century, Portuguese immigrants began settling in Jamestown. Many of these settlers worked as fishermen, farmers, and gardeners for the Island's large estates. Crushed stone, used in the construction of Narragansett Avenue and North Main Road, came from a local Portuguese business. In 1927, the Portuguese community organized the Holy Ghost Society of Jamestown, which remains an active civic and social organization today.

The Spanish-American War and World War I saw the extensive fortification of Jamestown property – Fort Wetherill along Highland Drive in the Dumplings, Fort Getty at Beaver Head, and Fort Greble on Dutch Island. During World War II, the Harbor Control Station known as "Mickey" – a reinforced concrete observation post disguised as a summer house – was located on Beavertail in conjunction with Fort Burnside. Meanwhile, a torpedo repair facility and testing station was erected on Gould Island and together with the operations on Goat Island in Newport Harbor, produced 80 percent of the torpedoes used during World War II.

Access to Jamestown, long by ferry, is now almost exclusively by highway bridges. The Jamestown Bridge, opened in 1940, by orienting Jamestown to South County and the Quonset Naval Air Station, significantly altered the social ecology of the Island. In particular, Jamestown Shores, a post-war cottage development at the bridge landing, had introduced the first alteration of the residential pattern of Jamestown since the turn of the century. With the abandonment of Naval owned properties in the 1970s, the Island's population changed again.

The Newport Bridge, completed in 1969, attached Jamestown more securely with Newport, placing it on what eventually became a major regional highway route. The four-lane Jamestown Verrazzano Bridge replaced the two-lane Jamestown Bridge in 1992. In 1994, the upgraded highway connector, named the John Eldred Parkway, was completed between the Jamestown and Newport bridges.

Jamestown has, in the past two decades, faced assimilation into the burgeoning suburban spread moving down along the coast from Providence. Construction of new and improved roads has made Jamestown a more desirable place to live for those employed elsewhere in the State. Subdivisions and in-fill housing development have further changed Jamestown into a more suburban town, although the Town still has many village characteristics. There are still several properties actively farmed on the Island. Historic properties including lighthouses, windmills and military fortifications remain unchanged and old neighborhoods are still intact and thriving.

While land uses and populations have changed over time, Jamestowners have maintained their traditional spirit of community involvement and volunteerism. This community spirit is a quality that has protected hundreds of acres of farmland and open space, improved recreation programs and facilities, and provided public safety with an all-volunteer fire department and ambulance association. The dedication of the people of Jamestown to maintaining the Island's quality of life has been demonstrated many times over; the future of Jamestown depends on our ability to face many more challenges with this same determination and commitment.



1. General

In the spring of 2000, the Planning Commission conducted a detailed land use inventory of Jamestown. Land use in Jamestown varies considerably, with a significant amount of land undeveloped. This abundance of undeveloped land helps to preserve Jamestown's character as a small rural island community, protect natural resources, and provide numerous recreational opportunities for residents. This undeveloped land consists of permanently protected land, temporarily protected land as well as land that has the potential for future development.

The largest developed land use is single family residential. Commercial land uses are located in the downtown area with a small minority of grandfathered commercial uses located outside the commercial district. While new residential development has slowed somewhat in comparison with the past decade (see HOUSING STARTS Chart), home expansions have increased significantly.

The Town and private organizations have made great strides in protecting additional open space in recent years. The amount of land being temporarily protected under the State’s Farm, Forest and Open Space Program has increased by two-and-a-half times in the last decade. This program allows a reduction on property tax if the land meets certain criteria as farmland, open space or forestland

The Land Use section will discuss both current and future land use in Jamestown.

2. Land Use Types

Jamestown can be divided into four types of land areas, the village area, Jamestown Shores area, rural residential areas, and conservation and recreation areas.

a. The Village

The village is defined as the area between Great Creek and Hamilton Avenue that extends between the east and west shorelines of the Island, excluding Beavertail. The highest density development is located primarily in the village area. This density is supported by the presence of Town sewer and water services. The majority of structures in the village area are residential single family homes, although a small number of multi-family apartments and condominiums are also present. In the last ten years, some multi-family homes have been converted to single family use.

Within the village are the Town’s downtown and limited commercial zones where the majority of commercially used property is located. Adding to the diversity of the village area is the presence of commercial and residential mixed-use structures. Town facilities located within the village area include: Melrose and Lawn Avenue schools, the Philomenian Library, Town Hall and Offices, Recreation Center, the Police Station, and the Fire and Ambulance buildings. The north side of the village area has several large open space areas, including the golf course, the sanctuary, Taylor Point, and Great Creek Marsh.

The village area has historically been the focal point for commercial, business and civic activity in Jamestown. The village area is the center for the service business and retail industry in Town. Over 80 businesses are located in the two largest commercial zones, Commercial Downtown (CD) and Commercial Limited (CL), with CD having three times more businesses than CL.

The East Harbor section of the village has the greatest concentration of the Town’s recreational boating activity, public waterfront access for boat launching and fishing, and commercial businesses.

The village area between Hamilton Avenue and Mount Hope Avenue comprises the urban service district. Under existing Rules and Regulations of the Board of Water and Sewer Commissioners, only those households with frontage along existing sewer and water lines are allowed to connect to the system. All other connections are allowed at the discretion of the Board (see Public Services and Facilities Section for a more detailed discussion of this issue).

b. The Jamestown Shores

The Jamestown Shores area is located both north (to Capstan Street) and south (to Watson Farm) of John Eldred Parkway (Rt. 138) and west of North Road and the Cedar Hill Development. It was subdivided in the early 1940s and developed slowly, mostly as a summer colony. In more recent years, summer cottages have been converted to year-round use and many new houses built on the substandard lots, with infill development continuing.

Jamestown Shores is exclusively a single-family residential neighborhood. Although the Shores area is currently zoned as R-40, which requires 40,000 square feet as the minimum building lot size, many lots are non-conforming substandard lots of 7,200 square feet as originally platted. The Shores currently has an average density of 2.8 dwelling units per acre and average lot sizes are less than 16,000 square feet. The combination of high-density development and potential groundwater pollution due to close proximity between drinking water wells and Individual Sewage Disposal Systems (ISDS) led to the enactment of a merger provision. In 1967, a provision was created, requiring substandard adjacent lots with the same ownership be combined to form one lot.

In addition, the Shores neighborhood has poor soils for septic absorption and has a limited groundwater resource. The Town wells, which draw groundwater near the Town reservoir and pump it to the reservoir, may possibly affect the wells in the Shores area. Problems are encountered with the high rate of run-off from impervious surfaces associated with development and a high water table. Pollutants that seep to the groundwater from faulty ISDS into nearby wells pose potential health risks. To partially solve this problem and/ or alleviate future problems, the 2001 On-Site Wastewater Management Ordinance mandates inspection of ISDS.

No public water or sewer service extends to the Shores area. Because approximately 85 percent of all water withdrawn from the ground is eventually returned through ISDS, the continued use of ISDS is necessary to maintain acceptable levels of groundwater. Currently, the Town does not intend to extend sewer services to this area in the future, in the chance that private wells would go dry or saltwater intrusion would occur. According to the Ann Veeger Study from URI, the limited capacity of the Town’s reservoirs would not sustain the extension of these services.

Wetlands in the Jamestown Shores area restrict development to some extent. The Town and the Conanicut Island Land Trust acquire vacant lots occasionally to prevent over- development. This acquisition of small parcels for open space may increase with the recent establishment of the Water Resources Protection Committee and the funds committed by the Town for water resource protection.

A number of rights-of-way to the water along Seaside Drive provide access for local residents. The largest right-of-way is the Town-owned Heads Beach. Heads Beach is an unguarded bathing beach with an unimproved launching ramp and boat moorings.

c. Rural Residential Areas

Rural residential areas are located north and south of the village area, including: Beavertail, the Dumplings, East Passage and West Reach subdivisions, and areas along North Road and East Shore Road. These areas are scattered with older homes along main roads adjacent to farmlands and larger summer estate properties. The existing zoning requires 80,000 square feet minimum lot size. Because of the large lot sizes and low-density development, these areas rely on ISDS and wells, where most of the soils are poorly suited for ISDS and the groundwater resource has low yields.

The Conanicut Park area is an exception, containing many smaller lots. Full development of these lots could cause a groundwater quality problem, although many are restricted by wetlands from development.

d. Conservation Areas

The Town’s primary conservation area is located in the "Center Island" district and consists of the Jamestown Brook watershed, wetlands, farmland, salt marsh, Great Creek, recreation areas, and an abundance of the cultural and historical resources of the Island. There exists a very small amount of residential development in this area, including farmhouses and outbuildings.

Other conservation areas include Dutch and Gould Islands, Ft. Getty, the Town Beach, Sheffield Cove, Ft. Wetherill and Beavertail Point.

State, local, and private efforts have served to permanently protect approximately 25 percent of the Island, including Dutch and Gould Islands, for recreation and conservation purposes, as well as properties partially protected by conservation easements. Although the priority area for preservation has been the Town’s Jamestown Brook watershed, scattered recreational, historic, farmland, coastal, and wetland areas have also been protected. Methods of protection have included outright purchase of property, purchase and donation of development rights, and the donation of conservation easements. Several large parcels within the Center Island District remain unprotected and available for subdivision and residential construction. These include Dutra, Neale and Watson Farms. Although owned by a private foundation, Watson Farm is not considered permanently protected because the foundation’s main goal is not the preservation of land for conservation purposes.

The area in the north and south pond watersheds is zoned RR-200, requiring 200,000 square feet, nearly five acres, for a single-family house.

There are few public services in this area, and it is anticipated that no other public services will be needed in the future.

3. Current Land Use










Perm. Protected














Institutional, Religious



Permanently Protected









Vacant Residential and Commercial



Total Residential



Total Farm Forest and Open Space Acres = 821


6034 ACRES









Perm. Protected











Institutional, Religious



Permanently Protected






Vacant Residential and Commercial



Total Residential



Total Farm Forest and Open Space Acres = 327


6380 ACRES

Roads - There are 72.3 miles of roadway with an average 50-foot right-of-way width and 24 acres of toll and bridge ramps.

Agriculture - Jamestown contains five farms -- Dutra, Neale, Hodgkiss, Watson, and Godena. The Dutra and Neale farms are under the Farm, Forest, and Open Space Program. Watson farm is currently owned by the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities (SPNEA). Although Watson farm property is currently protected from development, the SPNEA is not an organization whose main goal is land preservation; therefore, it is not considered permanently protected. Godena and Hodgkiss farms are permanently protected from development. (See the Agricultural section within RECREATION and OPEN SPACE for further information)

Commercial - All commercial property and property which is partly commercial and partly residential.

Municipal - The Town transfer station and former landfill, sewer and water treatment plants, highway garage, Jamestown School, Philomenian Library, Town Hall, and Town Offices, recreation building, police and fire stations and Planning Office.

Institutional / Religious - All Churches and Cemeteries.

Conservation and Recreation - Includes permanently protected public and privately owned lands, such as: the golf course, Fort Wetherill State Park, Beavertail State Park, Fort Getty Town Park and Campground, Taylor Point, all Audubon land, Gould Island, Dutch Island, Shoreby Green, local parks, Marsh Meadows & Great Creek Marsh, Mackerel Cove Beach, Conanicut Battery, and others.

Vacant - Privately owned vacant land and undeveloped Farm, Forest and Open Space land which is not included in the Agricultural Land Use category.

Residential - Single family homes, multi-family and residential condominiums. This category includes oversized subdividable lots that currently have residential use.


4. Land Use and Zoning

Jamestown’s first Zoning Ordinance was enacted in 1935. The existing Zoning Ordinance was adopted in 1995 and is consistent with the current Comprehensive Community Plan and the State Enabling legislation with respect to Zoning. It has been amended several times since 1995. Jamestown’s Zoning fairly closely emulates the land use with some exceptions.

The Town’s Zoning Ordinance divides the community into twelve Zoning Districts as follows:

Open Space OS - This district now consists of only four parcels which were largely municipal uses and does not fit closely into the OSI or OSII categories below. This district is under study for rezoning.

Open Space I - This was added by amendment on March 22, 1999 and is the Conservation Preserve District, intended to preserve, protect and enhance where appropriate environmentally sensitive and natural resource areas such as conservation areas, watersheds, reservoirs, wildlife refuges and wetlands.

Open Space II - This was also added by amendment on March 22, 1999 and is the park and recreation district, intended to allow agriculture and recreation activities that will not substantially impact the historic, scenic and/or environmental character of the zoning district, nor compromise natural resources.

Rural Residential District RR-200 - This district is intended to protect the Town water supply reservoir while permitting residential dwelling at low density.

This Zoning District encompasses the approximate 1000-acre Jamestown Brook center Island watershed area excluding some areas of publicly owned land which is zoned Open Space. A minimum lot size of 200,000 square feet is required for residential construction in this district. The land use emphasis is on farming and large lot residential. Development plan review is required for some new development in this zoning district.

Rural Residential District RR-80 - This zone is designated to allow land uses that will not substantially impact the rural character of the zoning district, nor compromise natural resources.

Approximately 50 percent of the entire land area of Jamestown is zoned RR-80. Areas zoned RR-80 includes most of the northern end of the Island, the Dumplings neighborhood, and most of the Beavertail peninsula.

This zoning district requires a minimum of 80,000 square feet for residential construction. Permitted land uses of the RR-80 zoning district include residential construction, farming, and different types of recreational development. A special exception from the zoning ordinance and additional acreage are required for the construction of multi-family dwelling projects. Commercial development is limited to customary home occupations and home offices as permitted uses and marina and/or ship and boat storage and repair by special exception. The Town transfer station is located here.

Residential District R-40 - This zone is intended to limit the growth of densely settled neighborhoods, which rely on ISDS and private wells. The small-lot subdivisions, which would be illegal under current regulations, present potential groundwater contamination problems if not adequately restricted. In some instances, this zone also serves as a transition between R-20 and RR-80.

The R-40 Zoning District includes the Jamestown Shores neighborhoods, areas along East Shore Road (south of Eldred Avenue), property along the southern border of the Jamestown Creek, property east of Bay View Drive and south of Hamilton Avenue, and the Clark's Village and Bonnet View neighborhoods on Beavertail.

The primary land use of the R-40 districts is single family housing although multi-family is allowed by Special Use Permit and some farming and recreational development is permitted. Commercial development is limited to customary home occupation and home offices as permitted uses and marina, associated commercial parking and/or ship and boat storage and repair by special use permit.

Residential District R-20 - This zone is intended to maintain the neighborhood integrity of the area directly adjacent to traditionally densely developed sections of the village area. This district is designated to allow controlled growth in areas immediately outside the village which are served by municipal water or sewer.

This district encompasses areas along Conanicus Avenue including Shoreby Hill, the West Ferry neighborhood, and property along the north and south sides of Hamilton Avenue. A minimum lot size of 20,000 square feet is required for residential development. All of these areas have public water and sewer services available.

The Zoning Ordinance allows for residential development as a permitted use and duplex and multifamily by special exception. Some farming and recreational development is permitted. R-20 zoning allows customary home occupation and home offices as permitted uses and marina and/or ship and boat storage and repair by Special Use Permit.

R-8 Residential District - This zone is intended to maintain the neighborhood integrity of traditionally densely developed sections of the village. Most of this area is developed, and infill housing should generally conform to the character of the neighborhoods.

Land in this zoning district is about 106 acres or almost two percent of the total land area of Jamestown. The R-8 district is located both north and south adjacent to the commercial downtown area of Narragansett Avenue. Primarily, these areas consist of residential development with some scattered multi-family housing. With a minimum lot size requirement of 8,000 square feet, the high density of the R-8 district is supported by public water and sewer services.

Permitted uses in this district include residential development and duplexes. Limited farming and at home office or customary home occupation are allowed by right. The development of recreational facilities, commercial parking areas and multi-family dwelling structures are also allowed by Special Use Permit.

Commercial Limited (CL) - The purpose of this zone is to be a transitional area between strictly residential and commercial uses. Many of the uses, which are permitted in the commercial district, can not be located in this district except by Special Use Permit.

The CL Zone contains approximately 40 acres along North Road and Southwest Avenue. The minimum lot size requirements range from 8,000 square feet to 20 acres depending upon land use. Most types of residential construction are allowed in this district and various commercial activities are permitted uses. Some industrial non-manufacturing activities and other retail trade are allowed by Special Use Permit. This district contains 42 percent single family residential use and 19 percent duplex or multi-family use. The CL district contains 11 acres of commercial use (28 percent); mixed-use buildings incorporating both residential and commercial uses are included. Only two-percent of the land within this district remains vacant. Other land uses include six-percent municipal use, and three- percent recreation.

This district has available public water and sewer to support residential and commercial development. Current land use in the CL zone includes single family residential housing units, multi-family housing units, senior housing complex, the Town Offices, the Philomenian Library, Jamestown Playground, various automobile service and repair businesses, office condominiums etc. This zoning district contains the most diverse land use in the community.

Commercial Downtown (CD) - Jamestown’s central business district. This district should encourage business that enables pedestrian use. Zoning requirements should encourage construction to the curb, and feature retail at the street level.

The Commercial Downtown area is about 23 acres total land area located along Narragansett Avenue. Approximately 96 percent of the 23 acres is currently developed. Forty-eight percent of land in the CD district is in commercial use, while 23 percent is in residential use. Permitted commercial uses (excluding hotels/motels) do not require a minimum lot size although parking requirements may limit use. Required setbacks are minimal in this area. Allowable uses include most types of residential and commercial development. Special use permits are required for other commercial activities, industrial non-manufacturing, and recreational activities. The various residential and commercial activities are supported by Town water and sewer services.

The Town owns approximately 15 percent of the land in the CD district including the Town Hall, Planning Office, Fire Station, Ambulance Barn, waterfront and public parking areas. Religious institutions occupy approximately 10 percent of the land.

Commercial uses dominate the eastern CD district although many structures accommodate mixed uses of both commercial and residential. Single family dwellings, along with churches and Town buildings, predominate at the western end of this zone.

Commercial Waterfront (CW) - This district is intended to encourage water-dependant land uses.

Located at the east and west termini of Narragansett Avenue, the CW district encompasses only about two and one-half acres of land. The Zoning Ordinance allows the development of single family homes and duplexes in this district although a special use permit is required for multi-family structures. Most industrial non-manufacturing is prohibited, but fishing industry is allowed in the CW zone. Very limited commercial and recreational development is permitted in this zone, although yacht and beach clubs with no alcoholic beverages and ship and boat building businesses are permitted.

The majority of land at both East and West Ferry is used for waterfront related boating activity. There are two lots zoned CW at East Ferry. One lot is a small beach area that is owned by the Town and provides public waterfront access and a public boat ramp. The other lot at East Ferry is privately owned and is currently used for small boat and dinghy storage with a commercial marina utilizing the riparian area. At the West Ferry the wharf forming the end of Narragansett Avenue is owned by the Town and leased to a commercial marina operator. Private land zoned CW to the north is used for commercial parking, marina and boatyard activities while the lot to the south is used for a single family home.

Downtown Condominiuim (DC) - A single lot. One structure containing no more than thirty-six (36) residential condominium units of not more than two (2) bedrooms each, and accessory parking for residents, their guests and municipal parking purposes. Intended to allow residential uses compatible wit the compressed location at the corner of the Commercial Downtown district.

5. Future Land Use

Jamestown's largest land use issue is potable water. The Island has experienced consistent seasonal droughts for decades. Although this issue has threatened to become a growth and development issue, it has not significantly deterred either to date. The Town Council and the Board of Water and Sewer Commissioners, with the assistance of the Water Study Committee should continue to search for alternative means of expanding the Town’s water system capacity to meet current needs. Jamestown's growth rate should be managed to insure that the Town’s water capacity is able to adequately supply future population growth. Although the zoning is Rural Large Lot Residential, the land use within the Town’s drinking water watershed should continue to remain largely open space.

One growth control currently being used by some property owners on a volunteer basis is the State's Farm, Forest, and Open Space Act Program. This Program allows property owners to be taxed on the use value of their property if it meets certain criteria as farmland, open space, or forest land as defined by the State of Rhode Island’s Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM). The use-based tax evaluation is less than the tax based upon the traditional "highest and best" use methodology used by tax assessors. A fifteen-year commitment is required for participation in the program, although an applicant can withdraw at any time subject to a penalty. The State has recently standardized the value of different land uses in this program, which is anticipated to be more of a tax incentive for participants. The "stalling" of development by such tax incentive programs provides the Town, in conjunction with other land preservation sources, a greater chance of permanently protecting valuable properties by phasing the opportunities for preservation over time. In essence, the longer that property can be kept from development, the greater the chance of finding funding to purchase important property.

Of the currently farmed areas of Jamestown, approximately one percent is permanently protected. There is a significant potential for development of the unprotected farmland areas, and the permanent protection of these areas as active farmland is vital for several reasons. The largest contiguous landmass of farmland includes both the Dutra and Neale farms, which have the potential for adding fifty new homes. Half of the Dutra farm is within the Town's drinking water watershed. In addition, both farms are highly visible from the major north/south and east/west circulation routes and contribute significantly to the bucolic atmosphere of the center island.

Given the overwhelming sentiment of the residents, who responded to the 1998 Community Survey, it seems apparent that maintaining the rural character is the primary goal of the Town. In addition, the Island’s natural environment and its small Town character are the most desirable qualities of Jamestown. The 1998 Community Survey confirmed the importance of maintaining the Island's rural character, natural environment and small Town character.

In addition to farmland, other areas of Jamestown need to be protected to safeguard the Island’s natural environment and finite resources. Areas worthy of preservation and protection from development include: the public drinking water supply watershed; wetlands, both coastal and freshwater areas; scenic views; historic resources; unique and rare habitats; large acres of habitats; linkages connecting significant open spaces; properties that will help to protect the Jamestown Shores water quantity and quality, and any properties whose preservation and protection will protect the water resources of Jamestown. Other areas may be preserved to reduce the full buildout and subsequent stress on our finite resources. The Planning Commission should explore, whether additional growth controls are needed or feasible with the assistance of professional consultants. Potable water is a public service that is currently experiencing the most stress and would be a good starting point for exploration.

The Community Survey identified scenic views to be very important to residents. Scenic views should be protected from rampant vegetation growth by allowing vegetation management. The newly adopted Tree Preservation and Protection Ordinance should work towards protecting our historic and scenic views on Jamestown.

Jamestown’s village should continue to be pedestrian friendly. The Downtown Improvement Project funded through the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) Transportation Improvement Program and under design in 2000-2001 should foster this walkable village atmosphere. The historical development pattern of the downtown village provides for minimal off-street parking. Although many existing businesses do not meet the parking requirements required in the Zoning Ordinance, development or conversion of future commercial buildings should meet the required standards.

The Town should look at the Zoning Ordinance parking requirements as well as other requirements to insure that they are still accurate and feasible for Jamestown and insure that the regulations are not putting undue burden to development of healthy businesses. An example is whether the definition of "change of use" puts unnecessary and undue requirements on potential businesses. Although there are few vacancies in commercial buildings in the village, the empty storefronts in the 1970s and 1980s should serve as a reminder as to why we need a healthy business community.

There should be no expansion of the existing commercially zoned districts. Site Plan Review should continue to work to provide visually and physically compatible buildings in the downtown. New businesses should focus on the needs of residents and their buildings fit the scale of existing development. Consideration should be given to extending Development Plan Review to commercial development allowed by special use permit in non-commercial zones.

The Town should continue to look for additional recreation space in the north end of Jamestown. The development of the soccer facility on Eldred Avenue in 1995 was a step forward in meeting the Town’s recreation needs. But there is still an unmet need for additional active and passive recreation facilities in the northern Jamestown area as well as additional indoor facilities throughout the Island. The current Town recreation facilities (recreation center and school facilities) are reaching capacity with their use being almost constant. Our recreation center also meets the cultural needs of the Town by providing space for activities such as the community theatre and various arts and crafts shows. If new property is acquired for recreation, it should be zoned accordingly to allow recreation activities.

The Town should implement the public facility projects that are currently under study (Highway Barn, consolidated Town Offices, and Recreation Center rehabilitation) for the next decade. Minimizing costs of such projects should be a high priority without compromising the integrity of any project. Jamestown has a relatively small tax base. For this reason, the cost of public facility projects is crucial to maintaining affordable taxes for Island residents. In the same vein, although unrelated to land use, Jamestown should encourage and promote its traditional volunteerism, which staffs the Fire Department, Ambulance Corps, and it’s many boards, commissions, committees and civic organizations. This is crucial to our historically low tax rate and the cornerstone of our community spirit.

Town facilities should be located in the most appropriate areas of Town. Maximizing facilities while minimizing costs is priority. The Town's Five-Year Capital Budget Program should continue to identify priority projects. Determining locations and development of new projects should be a community process. The Highway Garage and the Town Hall Complex are the two biggest projects that have been discussed in the last two years. When deliberating the Highway Garage project, the Town Council should consider the recommendation of the Highway Garage Committee. The Town should also proceed with the environmental program underway at the Transfer Station Site. The Town Hall consolidation report should be reviewed in detail to determine if the recommendations and design meet the needs of the community.

Greenways and linkages should be developed throughout the Island to encourage safe alternative modes of transportation and to alleviate our dependence on the automobile. This will reduce pressure on our downtown parking issues as well as promote a healthy environment and population as well as help maintain our Island character.

Land as well as home prices are at an historical high point. The Town, and the Affordable Housing Committee and Church Community Housing Corporation should actively pursue affordable housing to add to its "permanently affordable" housing stock. Another potential source of affordable housing is accessory apartments. Although rejected in the past as an overall permitted use, there is a strong sentiment that they should be investigated once more, this time as a means of meeting the needs of family members only.

Specific goals, policies and implementation strategies related to land use are included in all of the following plan elements: Natural and Cultural Resources, Conservation and Open Space, Recreation, Economic Development, Circulation, Housing and Public Services and Facilities. The corresponding FUTURE LAND USE Map reflects the above stated land use recommendations and will be used in the formulation of a new zoning map for the Town of Jamestown.

6. Future Land Use Achievements Based Upon the 1991 Goals, Policies, Recommendations and Implementation Methods

This section lists the Future Land Use Goals as stated in the 1991 Comprehensive Community Plan. The community achievements since 1991 follow the listing of each goal and describe what results or actions have occurred on each particular goal, and why it has or has not been implemented/successful.

a. Active agricultural land should be rezoned as AGRICULTURAL DISTRICTS. This district may include the Hodgkiss Farm, Dutra Farm, Neale Farm, Fox Hill Farm, Godena Farm and Watson Farm. Agricultural Zone would encourage the continued use of property as agriculture and may allow limited density residential development.

The Planning Commission attempted to create Agriculture District zoning, and met with severe opposition from farmers due to the threat of lowering the value of the land. Most remaining farms are zoned RR80 or RR200. As stated in the Town of Jamestown’s 1998 Community Survey, 92.6 percent agree that it is important to protect and enhance the Island’s rural character and agricultural resources; and 76.3 percent of the residents agree that it is important to maintain and increase the current acreage of working farmland. It is anticipated that the new tax structure of the Farm Forest and Open Space Program will temporarily preserve significant portions of our existing farmed lands.

b. Municipally owned conservation areas and active and passive recreational areas should be zoned as OPEN SPACE DISTRICTS. This would include rezoning the Jamestown Country Club (excluding building and surrounding five acres), and the Great Creek area including the Conanicut Island Sanctuary.

Municipally owned conservation areas and active and passive recreational areas are zoned as Open Space Districts. With the adoption of the Zoning Ordinance amendment, an OSI- Conservation Preserve and OSII- Park and Recreation were created. The existing Open Space zone was split into three zones to provide a better fit for open space, recreation and certain governmentally used properties.

c. Privately owned areas with permanent conservation easements or those areas without future development rights should be zoned as OPEN SPACE DISTRICTS.

Privately owned areas with permanent conservation easements or those areas without future development rights are not zoned as Open Space districts, to ensure this type of property would not be viewed as public. There was sentiment that zoning private property as Open Space would lead the public to believe that this type of property is public. The Planning Commission should look into a separate zone for permanently protected private lands.

d. Large undeveloped wetland areas in residential zones should be protected from development by the use of an overlay district for natural resource protection.

e. Residential zoning district designations (except for those areas noted above) should not be changed. Additional regulations for the protection of natural resources are proposed which may result in a decrease in the density of development of these areas.

Large undeveloped wetland areas in residential zones should be protected from development by the use of an overlay district for natural resource protection. Residential zoning district designations (except for those noted above) should not be changed. Additional regulations for the protection of natural resources are proposed which may result in a decrease in the density of development of these areas. While neither of the above recommendations were enacted, the feasibility of such an overlay district should be investigated in terms of legality and necessity.

f. There should be no expansion of the existing commercially zoned districts. Additional regulations are proposed that will require a site plan review process for commercial development to ensure it is in keeping with the village character.

There should be no expansion of the existing commercially zoned districts. In 1995 the Zoning Ordinance was amended to provide for Development Plan Review for all new or expanded use within a certain threshold within the Commercial districts. The development plan review process has been very effective in protecting downtown village character. An ordinance has been proposed to the Town Council by the Planning Commission that eliminates commercial parking outside the commercial district.

g. Future municipal administration buildings should be developed in the village area and designed to be compatible with existing development.

All Town offices are presently occupied to their maximum capacity. The preferred site identified by the Town's consultant, William Burgin Architects, in their Space Needs Feasibility Study for the new offices was the Town Hall location, and the second best site selected was that of the Town Offices. The Town has not yet discussed the results of this study or committed funds to the construction of this consolidated facility.

h. An additional community recreation area should be developed on the Island, preferably in the northern area.

A single use soccer facility has been added in the central island area. The area contains four acres of soccer fields and an additional four acres of wooded trails are in the process of construction. A new mini-park has been developed at Hammond Pond. This project was administered through an Eagle Scout project and the Boy Scouts of Jamestown. Improvements include fencing, a park bench and gravel parking. The need for future recreation facilities is discussed in the Recreation Section and the Future Land Use Section.

i. Bicycle paths and hiking paths should be developed throughout the Island to connect recreational areas, open spaces and historic and cultural resources.

The Conanicut Island Land Trust and the Conservation Commission have proposed the Center Island Greenway which would start on North Road, continue south of the reservoir through Town property to the ball fields, continue under the John Eldred Parkway via the wildlife tunnels and terminate at the Conanicut Island Sanctuary. This would provide a safe north-south route for non-motorists as well as add to the Town’s community character. Funding for this project is currently being pursued. Other bikeways and greenways have been discussed in the past decade.


The U.S. Census Bureau's 2000 population-count for Jamestown is 5,622 persons. This reflects an increase of 623 persons and 12.5 percent in the last decade. The POPULATION GROWTH AND PROJECTIONS Table shows the population since 1900.


1900 - 2020

Year Population %Change in Decade

1900 1,091

1910 1,175 7.1

1920 1,633 28.0

1930 1,599 - 2.0

1940 1,744 9.1

1950 2,068 18.6

1960 2,267 9.6

1970 2,911 28.4

1980 4,040 38.8

1990 4,999 23.7

2000 5,622 12.5

*2010 6,083 8.2

*2020 6,945 14.2


Source: U.S. Census Bureau

*2010-2020 figures are Population Projections from the RI Dept of Administration, Division of Planning, 1995.

The population of Jamestown has continued to grow at an increasing rate over the last 50 years. Population growth is generally attributed to in-migration with a minor increase due to a greater number of births than deaths (natural increase). An analysis of the most recent mortality and birth data for Jamestown shows an average natural increase of 239 between 1980 and 1997. This data shows that 74 percent of Jamestown's population growth is attributed to in-migration and 26 percent from natural increase.

Improvements in transportation infrastructure have played an important role in this increase as the growth in population is largely attributed to migration to the Island. The ability to commute to Providence in under an hour and Boston in an hour and a half make Jamestown a desirable location for people who would prefer to work in an urban area and live in a rural setting. The 1998 Community Survey indicates that over 14 percent of wage earners that responded to the survey work in metropolitan Providence and over six percent work in Boston or southeastern Massachusetts.

The 2000 US Census for Jamestown shows a 1.2- percent increase in the gap between the male and female population; currently 51.4 percent female and 48.6 percent female. The median age of Jamestowners has increased 6.4 years from 37.8 to 44.2. The average household size has continued its decrease over the last several decades, from 2.41 persons per household to 2.38 persons per household.

The current population estimate does not include the Island’s seasonal population, which is difficult to estimate. Although the local Tax Assessor’s records show that there are presently 147 seasonal units in Jamestown, many of these units have been upgraded and are now occupied year-round. Other existing seasonal housing are not listed on the tax records because of their year round capability. There are also approximately 300 or more persons who reside at Fort Getty Campground from late May through early October adding an additional 5-6 percent to the total seasonal population.





1. Physical Geography

To effectively plan for current and future land use, the physical land characteristics of Jamestown must be examined. The natural setting provides the framework upon which decisions must be made. Natural factors that determine or influence land use include soils, slope, topography and geology, hydrology, flood hazard potential, wetlands, and vegetation. These factors also affect the impact of development on the community's resources.

a. Soils

Soil characteristics strongly influence our use of land. The different soil types and their accompanying limitations influence development site selection, population density, construction methods and overall design. More importantly, soils are an overriding factor in the determination of suitability for on-site sewage disposal systems. As such, they may determine the difficulty and expense with which development may take place in unsewered areas.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and Soil Conservation Service conducted a Soil Survey for the State of RI. in 1981. Jamestown also had a detailed soil survey conducted in 1976 by the same agency. From this survey, it was determined that most of the soils on Conanicut Island have limitations that affect development in one way or another.

An analysis conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service in 1990 divided soils into five types. These are described below (refer to SOILS ANALYSIS Map).

    1. Soils with moderate constraints to development
    2. These soils are generally suited for residential development although some soils in this group have moderate constraints for development. A case-by-case evaluation should be conducted. The constraints consist of very permeable soils which have a higher potential for groundwater contamination, slowly permeable soils which tend to have a greater septic system failure rate and extremely stony soils which are expensive to excavate and grade for residential development. Also included are disturbed areas which are often suitable for residential development but which need site specific evaluation. Examples are gravel pits, cut and fill areas and paved areas.

      Soils in Jamestown that are included in this category are Agawam fine

      sandy loam ( 0 to 3 percent slopes), Newport silt loam ( 0 to 3 percent slopes), Poquonock loamy fine sand (0 to 3 percent slopes), Newport silt loam ( 3 percent to 8 percent slopes), Newport silt loam ( 8 percent to 15 percent slopes), Newport Urban land complex, Poquonock loamy fine sand ( 3 percent to 8 percent slopes ), Udorthents -Urban land complex, Urban land, Windsor loamy sand ( 0 to 3 percent slopes), and Windsor loamy sand ( 3 percent to 8 percent slopes). Total acreage in this category is 3,380 acres or approximately 54 percent of the total land.

    3. Soils with seasonal high water table
    4. (19" to 42" depth to water table)

      Soils in this group have a seasonal high water table at a depth of 1.5 to 3.5 feet from the surface for significant periods during the year. Many of these soils have additional constraints such as slow permeability or very rapid permeability.

      Included in this category are the following Jamestown soils: Birchwood sandy loam, Pittstown silt loam (0 percent to 3 percent slopes), Pittstown silt loam (3 percent to 8 percent), Rainbow silt loam (3 percent to 8 percent slopes). Total acreage of Jamestown soils in this group is 1,445 or 23 percent of total land.

    5. Bedrock and soils with slope constraints
      (slope greater than 15 percent)
    6. Soils in this group have slopes in excess of 15 percent and/or have significant shallow to bedrock areas. The steep slopes increase the potential for soil erosion during construction and make construction of on-site septic systems difficult. Shallow soils and rock outcrops impair the construction of roads, the installation of buried utilities and on-site septic systems.

      Soils included in this category in Jamestown are Canton and Charleston fine sandy loams, very rocky, (3 percent to 15 percent slopes), which comprise 110 acres or 2 percent of the total land in Jamestown.

    7. Hydric soils - Severe constraints to development
      (0" to 18" depth to water table)
    8. Soils in this group have water at or near the surface for significant periods of the year. These soils are generally classified as hydric soils.

      The following Jamestown soils are included in this category: Adrian muck, Mansfield mucky silt loam, Matunuck mucky peat, Ridgebury fine sandy loam, Ridgebury, Whitman, Leicester extremely stony fine sandy loams, Scarboro mucky sandy loam, Stissing silt loam, and Stissing very stony silt loam. Total acreage of soils in this group is 995 acres and or 16 percent of total land.

    9. All others - Severe constraints to development (rock, sand)

Soils in this group consist of miscellaneous soil types that have significant constraints for residential development.

Jamestown soils included in this group are beaches, dumps, and rock outcrop - Canton Complex. Total acreage of soils in this group is 230 acres or 4 percent of soils in Jamestown. The remaining 1 percent of area in Jamestown is waterbodies.

Generally speaking, Jamestown soils do not provide good opportunities for development. Outside of the central area of Town that has both public water and sewer service, virtually all development will encounter soil limitations and constraints in the form of rocks, ledge, wet soils, poor drainage characteristics, or a combination thereof, many of which may be overcome by proper engineering.

b. Prime Farmland Soils & Farmland Soils of Statewide Significance

Jamestown's soils show good potential for agricultural use (refer to SOILS ANALYSIS Map). The Soil Conservation Service identified Prime Farmland Soils, which have significant potential for future agricultural use if other factors such as economics and geographical location warrant. Fully 72 percent of Jamestown's land area is in Prime Farmland Soils, and another 13 percent are in Additional Farmland of Statewide Importance. Farmland soils may also have development constraints and are designated as an overlay on the SOILS ANALYSIS Map. A more detailed discussion of farmland can be found in the Conservation and Open Space Element.


Soil Acreage

Aa -- Adrian muck 10

Afa -- Agawan fine sandy loam 10

0 to 3 percent slopes

Ba -- Beaches 85

Bc -- Birchwood, sandy loam 680

CeC -- Canton and Charleston fine sandy loams, 110

Very rocky, 3 to 15 percent slopes

Du -- Dumps 15

Ma -- Mansfield mucky silt loam 120

Mk -- Matunuck mucky peat 120

NeA -- Newport silt loam, 250

0 to 3 percent slopes

NeB -- Newport silt loam, 1,265

3 to 8 percent slopes

NeC -- Newport silt loam, 250

8 to 15 percent slopes

NP -- Newport - Urban land complex 200

PmA -- Pittstown silt loam, 225

0 to 3 percent slopes

PmB -- Pittstown silt loam, 525

3 to 8 percent slopes

PsA -- Poquonock loamy fine sand, 440

0 to 3 percent slopes

PsB -- Poquonock loamy fine sand, 700

3 to 8 percent slopes

RaB -- Rainbow silt loam, 15

3 to 8 percent slopes

Re -- Ridgebury fine sandy loam 240

Rf -- Ridgebury, Whitman, Leicester extremely 15

stony fine sandy loams

Rk -- Rock outcrops 15

Rp -- Rock outcrop - Canton complex 115

Sb -- Scarboro mucky sandy loam 265

Se -- Stissing silt loam 205

Sf -- Stissing very stony silt loam 105

UD -- Udorthents - Urban land complex 125

Ur -- Urban land 10

WgA -- Windsor loamy sand, 0 to 3 percent slopes 60

WgB -- Windsor loamy sand, 3 to 8 percent slopes 70

-- Water bodies 25

Total 6,270

Source: Soil Survey of RI, USDA, Soil Conservation Service, July 1981.


c. Slope

Another factor to which development is sensitive is slope. Slope is the measure of the degree of change in the land's elevation. Slope is expressed as a percentage: the rise of the land (change in elevation between two points) divided by the run (change in distance between two points). Land is considered nearly level if it has a slope between 0 percent– 3 percent, gentle slopes range from 3 percent - 8 percent, moderate slopes range from 8 percent - 15 percent, and steep slopes are 15 percent or greater.

In areas of steep slope it is difficult to construct roadways and foundations and to provide sewer or water services. Development on steep slopes also causes problems such as soil erosion, surface water run off, and pollution from individual sewage disposal system (ISDS) lateral seepage. Areas of moderate slope produce moderate difficulties. Land with a slope of less than 8 percent has the greatest development potential except in some cases where very flat land may present drainage problems.

Most of Jamestown is gently sloping. Most areas of moderate and steep slope are found along the coast of the Dumplings, Beavertail and the ridges in the North end. There are also some moderate and steeply sloped areas in the Jamestown Brook Watershed.

d. Topography and Geology

Conanicut Island lies on a series of whaleback ridges that extend along the floor of Narragansett Bay. The Island was separated from the mainland during the Carboniferous period, when glaciers cut the East and West Passages.

The Island is essentially divided into three landmasses. The largest is the northern half of the Island. It rises to an elevation of about 140 feet above sea level and is characterized by parallel ridges running north south which create the Jamestown Brook Watershed. To the south, separated by Great Creek and extensive wetlands, is the Central Town area. During storms and extreme high tides, floodwaters may divide the north portion of the Island from the Central Island. The area is comprised of gently rolling hills with rugged rock outcrops in the Dumplings and Fort Wetherill area. The highest elevation is about 100 feet. To the southwest is the Beavertail peninsula. Located on another ridge, it is connected to the rest of the Island is by a sandy isthmus, Mackerel Cove Beach. Two hills comprise most of the peninsula with one rising to an elevation of 125 feet.

The undulating topography of Jamestown is caused by the very irregular surface of the underlying bedrock. The rocks are over 200 million years old and classified as pre-Pennsylvania and Pennsylvanian Age. These consolidated rocks are evident at the cliffs and outcrops of Beavertail, the Dumplings and Fort Wetherill. Unconsolidated deposits cover the bedrock of most of the Island. This is soil and rock carried from Northern New England by the glaciers and deposited when they melted and receded. The glacial deposits range in depth from under one foot to over forty feet. Almost all of these deposits are unstratified drift called till.

e. Hydrology

The glacial till that composes the surface geology of Conanicut Island is composed of uneven sized materials with various pore spaces and sizes that create an irregular flow of water. This composition makes it a poor source of groundwater. Most rural residences in Jamestown use wells drilled down to the rock beneath the till which has higher yields of water.

The urban area of Jamestown relies on surface water reservoirs for its public water supply. Uneven topography divides the Island into twenty small watersheds. Precipitation into these watersheds is absorbed into the ground, or drains into wetlands, ponds, streams or Narragansett Bay. The central watershed is one square mile, of which approximately one-third drains into North Pond, the primary public water supply. The rest of the watershed drains into Jamestown Brook and South Pond, a secondary public water supply.

It is extremely important to have an understanding of surface and ground water patterns as they aid in establishing appropriate land uses that will not degrade the purity of surface water or groundwater supplies. Potential sources of both point and non-point pollution threats to these water supplies include pesticides and herbicides used in agriculture, road runoff from automobiles and de-icing, chemicals used in commercial and manufacturing operations, and septic systems.

A further discussion of the Town's water resources is included in the Natural Resources Element, Water Resources Section.

f. Flood Hazard Areas

Jamestown's entire coastline is subject to high tides and wave action during intense Atlantic storms. However, because the shoreline in most areas rises steeply from the Bay and is generally rocky, flood hazard zones do not extend very far inland (refer to HYDROGRAPHICALLY SENSITIVE AREAS Map).

Flooding is generally limited to the coastal lowlands along Narragansett Bay as the high rocky cliffs along the southern end of the Island offer natural protection. As part of the Town's Hurricane Evacuation Study, an inventory of all local streets and structures that have been constructed within the flood zone areas in Jamestown was conducted. This area is referred to as a SLOSH Zone (Sea, Lake, and Overland Surge from Hurricanes) and corresponds to the V Zones (areas of 100 year coastal flood with velocity) identified by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, February 1986. Results of this study showed that there are presently over 800 persons residing in 350 houses located in the SLOSH Zone. A small percentage of these residences are occupied seasonally.

In certain low-lying coastal areas, floodwaters may extend inland for some distance. At Round Swamp, the flood zone divides the Island in half, and at Jamestown Brook, flood waters may reach as far as the North Reservoir. Other major flood hazard areas abut Fox Hill Pond, Sheffield Cove, Potter Cove, Hull Cove and Mackerel Cove. During high tides and storms, development in these areas is subject to damage or complete destruction. Development in these flood areas may also reduce water storage capacity and enlarge the extent of flood-prone areas.

The Town's present Building Code regulations allow building in flood hazard areas (where permitted by zoning) provided the building is structurally flood-proofed and the first floor elevation is above the base flood elevation. Special flood hazard insurance is available through the Federal Government to property owners who build in flood hazard areas if the builder takes these structural measures.

2. Water Resources

a. Coastal Resources

The coast is one of Jamestown’s most valuable resources. The value of the coast is economic, recreational and aesthetic. The shore offers opportunities for a multitude of active and passive recreational pursuits as well as commercial and residential development. Jamestown residents and visitors as well as boaters on Narragansett Bay enjoy the Island’s scenery and water related activities. The coast is also important as wildlife habitat and serves as a buffer to prevent property damage from flooding and erosion.

The Narragansett Bay surrounds Conanicut Island on all sides. The Island separates the Bay into the East and West Passages. As the desire to live and recreate at the shoreline has increased over time, Jamestown's location has significantly contributed to the community's growth and development.

In Jamestown, all residents live less than half of a mile from the shoreline. Waterfront access is available through Town and State beaches, parks, and piers. Neighborhood waterfront access is provided by undeveloped public and private rights-of-way.

Jamestown's waterfront is an asset to the economy as it relates to both tourism, fishing and recreational boating. To protect this asset, it is vitally important that the quality of the Narragansett Bay is maintained and improved. Water quality is discussed in further detail later in this section.


1) Public Shoreline Access

There are twenty-three miles of shoreline around Conanicut Island not including Dutch and Gould Islands. The majority of the coastline is in private ownership and not publicly accessible. There are over five miles of publicly owned shore, not including Dutch and Gould Islands. The Town of Jamestown owns about one and three-quarter miles of coastline, the State of Rhode Island owns about three and one-quarter miles and the Federal Government own approximately three-quarters of a mile on Beavertail Point. There are over 430 residential lots along the Island's coastline. Over 330 of these lots (over 75 percent) are currently developed. The following places are special public waterfront areas in Jamestown.

a) Beavertail State Park is recognized statewide as scenic rocky shore. Its cliffs offer an excellent vista over the lower bay. Beavertail is also the site of such geological phenomena as crystalline formations, metamorphic, quartz and basaltic intrusions. The Beavertail Lighthouse, on the National Register of Historic Places, is located at the southern end of the park and currently houses a lighthouse museum operated by the Beavertail Lighthouse Association. The RI Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) also operates a naturalist program and aquarium in the Foghorn Building.

b) Fort Wetherill State Park is located amongst the Dumplings and Ocean Highlands neighborhoods. This park is one of the most spectacular natural settings in RI. The area is composed of headlands, inlets, rugged cliffs and rock outcrops. The old concrete fortifications provide a fine maritime overlook. The coastline of the park is recognized nationally as a significant scuba and skin diving area. The high scenic value and the low intensity recreational use at the park make it a popular tourist attraction.

c) Mackerel Cove, Jamestown Shores, Potter's Cove, Fort Getty, and East and West Ferry beaches are all permanently protected for public use. The beaches are mostly used by local residents and have minimal facilities. A private beach is operated by the Greens Pier Association is located in the Dumplings area.

d) Fox Hill Marsh, Sheffield Cove Marsh, Hull Cove Swamp, Racquet Road Thicket and Great Creek Marsh, owned by the Rhode Island Audubon Society and the Town of Jamestown, are maintained as conservation areas. These areas are among the most ecologically sensitive areas and provide unique habitats and nursery areas for diverse wildlife.

The Town of Jamestown and the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) have designated numerous public rights-of-way on the Island. Public access to the water at these rights-of-way is usually through undeveloped roads. These areas are small in size and are typically utilized by neighborhood residents. At some rights-of-way adjacent private property owners have encroached upon the easement, making access difficult. Other amenities such as parking are limited or non-existent in many of these areas.

Although many additional public rights-of-way to the water are located in Jamestown, the Town has no official process for public designation of rights-of-way. Town, State or Federal ownership is paramount to the designation of "public" rights-of-way. The Town parking committee has prepared a report that lists all existing and potential rights-of-way in Jamestown. Of the 39 rights-of-way (see EXISTING AND POTENTIAL RIGHTS-OF-WAY Map) listed thirteen are officially designated by the RI Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC). Rights-of-way that have been officially designated by CRMC are shown on the map. In addition, the report designates the 39 potential rights-of-way into three separate categories that are called "priority" ratings. This priority rating serves to place each right-of-way into a category based on the functionality of the right-of-way to serve the public. For example, is there ample parking, access, and public facilities. The priority ratings as listed on the map have the following meanings:

Number 1 sites should be fully supported and maintained with existing parking and facilities.

Number 1 indicates that the site is of greatest importance and priority for public access to the Town. These sites can support the most people, have facilities already in place, need little if any improvement, and should be fully maintained. It is interesting to note that the Number 1 sites in Jamestown alone constitute roughly 15 percent of Jamestown’s total shore. The Town should give these primary sites the highest priority for full maintenance. These should be posted as public rights-of-way.

Number 2 sites. If all number 1 sites are fully functioning and there is further need to provide shoreline public access, these sites could be improved to provide (more) parking and access. Funds for construction, possibly CRMC or the RIDEM approvals and maintenance would need to be committed to improve these sites.

Number 2 were given to sites that could also support larger numbers of people with parking but do not currently have the necessary facilities. Of second priority to the Town should be the development of these sites for additional publicized shoreline access areas. The Town should give these sites high priority for maintenance. Any additional parking or facilities should be considered only if the primary sites do not adequately fill the community need and budget allows. These should be posted as public rights-of-way.

Number 3 sites should be maintained as pedestrian access only sites.

Number 3 sites are largely neighborhood rights-of-way that in most cases were first established for neighborhood, pedestrian access. Most are in dense neighborhoods and are currently maintained by abutting neighbors for neighborhood access. These sites are of the lowest priority because they would require planning, public workshops, clearing, stair construction, boundary markers, posting and possible parking arrangements in order for them to be safe and fully accessible. This would be at a considerable cost to the Town and would not provide access for a substantial number of people. Unless the Town is able to make the commitment to do the above and continue to monitor, clean and maintain these rights-of-way there is increased liability to the Town by posting them as public rights-of-way. Where there are or have been encroachments, it is advised that the Town mark the boundaries. The Town should not provide services, facilities or parking at these sites. Maintenance (mowing and clearing) may be provided if not done by the neighborhoods.

In addition to Conanicut Island, Dutch Island and Gould Island are part of the Town of Jamestown. Both are owned by the State and are managed as Wildlife Management Areas by the RIDEM's Division of Fish & Wildlife. These Islands provide open space and a relatively unspoiled shoreline. Public access to Dutch Island, which is located on the western side of Conanicut Island, is allowed, but there are no public facilities. Camping and hunting is allowed on the Island with a State permit.

Gould Island is located on the eastern side of Jamestown. Its ownership is divided between the State of RI, which owns 16.9 acres on the south portion of Gould Island, and Federal Government, which owns 24.1 acres on the north end of the Island. The State portion of the Island is a Wildlife Management Area maintained for nesting wading birds by RIDEM’s Division of Fish &Wildlife. Access is prohibited during the nesting season. There are no public facilities available on Gould Island, and trespassing is prohibited in the federally owned area.

b. Freshwater and Estuarine Resources

Conanicut Island's water resources are particularly important because of the Town's exclusive reliance on surface and ground water for drinking water. No reasonable alternatives currently exist for permanent connections to other water supply systems. Local water resources must, therefore, be protected to ensure a continued source of drinking water. Our water resources are also important for their significant economic and recreational functions.

Jamestown's water resources include the Jamestown Brook watershed and reservoirs (North and South Ponds), freshwater and coastal wetlands, ground water, streams, and ponds. The public water supply system, including the watershed and the reservoirs will also be discussed in the Public Services and Facilities Element.


1) Wetlands

Wetlands are an important natural feature of Conanicut Island (refer to HYDROLOGICALLY SENSITIVE AREAS Map). Wetlands can be defined as transitional areas between terrestrial and aquatic systems where the water table is usually at or near the surface or the land is covered by shallow water. They may be identified by any of the following characteristics: vegetation, hydric soils, seasonal high water table or a saturated water regime. Wetlands are classified by location and characteristics and include salt marsh, tidal freshwater marsh, mudflat, wet meadow, bogs, cedar swamp and hardwood swamp. In addition, wetlands are defined by State law and in the Town's Zoning Ordinance.

Wetlands are among the most biologically diverse and productive ecological systems. They are valuable wildlife habitat because they provide significant feeding, nesting, breeding, resting, and nursery areas. Estuarine wetlands provide spawning and nursery habitat for fin fish, shellfish, and other invertebrates. Over one-half of the State's plant species that are rare, threatened, endangered, or of special interest or concern are wetland plants.

Water quality and quantity are also affected by wetlands. Wetlands are helpful in maintaining or improving water quality by removing and retaining nutrients, processing chemical and organic wastes, and reducing the sediment load of water. The efficiency of a wetland as a filtration and storage system depends on its size and quality. Wetlands affect water quantity by acting as a surface reservoir to store potential floodwaters and reduce peak flows downstream during periods of high rainfall. They also act to recharge the groundwater reservoirs serving wells. In addition, coastal wetlands are an effective buffer to flooding from storm waves and tides.

There are slightly over 1000 acres of wetlands on Conanicut Island. This accounts for over 16 percent of the Island's area. There are 420 acres of freshwater wetlands and 585 acres of coastal wetland (including the entire intertidal zone around the Island). Students at the University of Rhode Island conducted a preliminary classification of all of the Island's wetlands in 1986. The most significant wetlands on the Island and their acreage are:

Jamestown Brook & reservoirs 176 acres

Hull Cove Swamp 104 acres

Round Swamp & Great Creek Marsh 94 acres

Fox Hill Marsh 58 acres

Carr Creek 32 acres

Sheffield Cove Marsh 22 acres



2) Center Island Watershed and the Public Reservoirs

The wetlands associated with Jamestown Brook are of great importance because they comprise part of the center island watershed. The watershed is about one square mile; approximately one-third is the North Reservoir watershed from which the Town currently draws its water. The remainder is the Jamestown Brook and South Reservoir watershed that is now used as a back up source of potable drinking water. The South Reservoir watershed has increased in importance as the demand for public water has frequently outstripped supply.

Presently the watershed is only 17 percent developed. The area is established as a Watershed Conservation District and is protected by both the RR-200 Zoning District (1985) and the Open Space I District (1999). The RR-200 Zoning District requires a 200,000 square foot minimum lot size. The OS-I District is for publicly owned properties that need preservation and allows no development. Development within the Watershed Conservation District is limited to residential and agricultural. All new development in the RR-200 Zoning District requires a development plan review by the Planning Commission if the lot is less than the required 200,000 square feet in size.

A number of creative methods have been used for land protection in the public watershed. Combined Federal, State, local, non-profit and private initiatives have resulted in permanent protection of approximately 73 percent of the land in the watershed. These initiatives include purchase of development rights by the State Farmland Commission and The Nature Conservancy, financial contributions from the State's Departments of Transportation and Environmental Management for outright land purchase, and the donation of conservation easements to the Conanicut Island Land Trust by private developers as part of subdivisions.

Because of the area’s historical significance, both the local Jamestown Historical Society and the regional Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities also own property in the watershed that temporarily protected from development.

The use of the State's Farm, Forest, and Open Space Act Program has been successful in protecting large agricultural parcels in the watershed from further development. This program, however, is voluntary and property owners are allowed to withdraw from participation at any time subject to a penalty.

At the present time, over 80 percent of the watershed area is either wetlands or publicly owned. Wetlands, however, may be subject to development dependent upon regulations and their enforcement. In total, over 100 acres of open land in the watershed have the potential to be developed.

3) Streams and Ponds

Other than the Jamestown Brook and reservoirs, Jamestown has a number of perennial and intermittent streams and ponds located throughout the Island.

Ponds include Hammond Pond, Crusher Pond, Rosamund Pond, Tefft Pond, and Rainbow Pond. Hammond pond is a natural pond that acts as a holding area for runoff. Rosamund, Tefft, and Rainbow ponds were constructed for drainage purposes as part of the development of the West Reach and East Passage subdivision projects. All of these ponds have wildlife, aesthetic and recreational value. The water quality of these ponds is believed to be good. The Jamestown Conservation Commission has worked with the homeowner associations from both subdivisions in developing a management plan for all three ponds.

Perennial and intermittent streams are part of the Town's natural drainage system into the Narragansett Bay and the Town's reservoirs. Streams are connected to wetland areas that serve as holding basins and drainage areas for runoff. These streams are identified and classified on the HYDROLOGICALLY SENSITIVE AREAS Map.

c. Surface Water Quality

All surface waters of the State have been categorized according to the water use classifications defined within the Rhode Island Water Quality Regulations. These classifications are defined by the designated uses, goal issues, for the waterbody and the water quality criteria necessary to protect those uses. The water quality classifications, including the partial use classifications, can be seen in the WATER QUALITY STANDARDS Table and Map.

The water quality uses criteria, or standards, are the water quality goals for the waterbodies. The existing water quality conditions of a particular waterbody may not always meet the waterbodies standards. Even if the present condition of the waterbody does not support the water quality goal, all activities requiring environmental regulatory permits must conform to the water quality criteria for the goal designated for that waterbody. This is to help achieve and maintain that designated use goal in the future. Waters with higher water quality than the water quality criteria are also protected to maintain their high quality under the State’s Antidegradation Policy.

The majority of marine waters around Conanicut Island are classified as SA. A small area on the West Passage side of the Island, known as West Ferry, is classified as SA {b} to denote the marina and mooring fields which preclude shellfishing in that area during the summer. On the East Passage side of the Island, the area around the Wastewater Treatment Facilities discharge is classified as SB1 and SB. The area around east Ferry is classified as SB and SA {b}. The area north of Gould Island is classified as SB.

The SA and SA {b} portions of the Bay along Conanicut Island on the East Passage side of the Bay are also fully supporting the shellfishing and swimming and aquatic life uses. The SB and SB 1 areas are not designated for shellfishing use. The data indicate the area as fully supporting swimming and aquatic life uses.

The Island’s major fresh waterbodies are the Jamestown Public Water Supply, which consists of North (Carr) Pond, South (Watson) Pond and Jamestown Brook. The State Department of Health monitors the North Pond for several parameters including turbidity, color, total suspended soils, sodium, pH, chloride, nitrate and total coliform. North Pond is in full compliance with the Class A drinking water standards. South Pond and Jamestown Brook are assessed as impaired for Class A drinking water due to high color and pathogens, respectively.

In 1978, the Town began construction of a municipal Sewage Treatment Plant to treat sewage that was being discharged directly into the Narragansett Bay. This facility is located at Taylor Point. This facility provides secondary treatment and is adequately handling the current level of sewage. The plant's outfall is pumped into the East Passage waters off Taylor Point and also used to irrigate the Jamestown Golf Course during their times of usage. There is currently a major rehabilitation underway on the facility to ensure that it can meet the demands of the Town until 2020. This upgrade will be funded through a bond approved by the voters in November 2000.


Table D-2


  1. Freshwater
  2. Class A@ These waters are designated as a source of public drinking water supply, for primary and secondary contact recreational activities and for fish and wildlife habitat. They shall be suitable for compatible industrial processes and cooling, hydropower, aquacultural uses, navigation, and irrigation and other agricultural uses. These waters shall have good aesthetic value.

    Class B These waters are designated for fish and wildlife habitat and primary and secondary contact recreational activities. They shall be suitable for compatible industrial processes and cooling, hydropower, aquacultural uses, navigation, and irrigation and other agricultural uses. These waters shall have good aesthetic value.

    Class B1 These waters are designated for primary and secondary contact recreational activities and fish and wildlife habitat. They shall be suitable for compatible industrial processes and cooling, hydropower, aquacultural uses, navigation, and irrigation and other agricultural uses. These waters shall have good aesthetic value. Primary contact recreational activities may be impacted due to pathogens from approved wastewater discharges. However all Class B criteria must be met.

    Class C These waters are designated for secondary contact recreational activities and fish and wildlife habitat. They shall be suitable for compatible industrial processes and cooling, hydropower, aquacultural uses, navigation, and irrigation and other agricultural uses. These waters shall have good aesthetic value.

    @ Class A waters used for public drinking water supply may be subjected to restricted

    recreational use by State and local authorities.

  3. Saltwater
  4. Class SA* Those waters are designated for shellfish harvesting for direct human consumption, primary and secondary contact recreational activities, and fish and wildlife habitat. They shall be suitable for aquacultural uses, navigation and industrial cooling. These waters shall have good aesthetic value.

    Class SB* These waters are designed for primary and secondary contact recreational activities; shellfish harvesting for controlled relay and depuration; and fish and wildlife habitat. They shall be suitable for aquacultural uses, navigation, and industrial cooling. These waters shall have good aesthetic value.

    Class SB1* These waters are designed for primary and secondary contact recreational activities and fish and wildlife habitat. They shall be suitable for aquacultural uses, navigation, and industrial cooling. These waters shall have good aesthetic value. Primary contact recreational activities may be impacted due to pathogens from approved wastewater discharges. However all Class SB criteria must be met.

    Class SC These waters are designated for secondary recreational activities, and fish and wildlife habitat. They shall be suitable for aquacultural uses, navigation, and industrial cooling. These waters shall have good aesthetic value.

    * Certain class SA, SB, and SB1 waterbody segments may have partial use designations assigned to them as follows and more clearly noted in rules 8.B(3) of the RIDEM Water Quality Classification Descriptions and Regulations.

  5. Partial Uses

In accordance with rule 19 of the RIDEM Water Quality Classification Descriptions and Regulations, the DEM may designate a partial use for the above listed water classifications. Partial use denotes specific restrictions of use assigned to a waterbody or waterbody segment that may affect the application of criteria. For example, a partial use designation may be appropriate where activities such as combined sewer overflows and concentrations of vessels impact the waters. Additional partial uses may be so designated by the Director if provided in accordance with rule 19.

{a} CSO These waters will likely be impacted by combined sewer overflows in accordance with approved CSO Facilities Plans and in compliance with rule 19.E.1 of the RIDEM Water Quality Classification Descriptions and Regulations and the Rhode Island CSO Policy. Therefore, primary contact recreational activities, shellfishing uses, and fish and wildlife habitat will likely be restricted.

{b} Concentration of Vessels These waters are in the vicinity of marinas and/or mooring fields and therefore seasonal shellfishing closures will likely be required as listed in most recent (revised annually) RIDEM document entitled Shellfish Closure Areas. For Class SA waters, all Class SA criteria must be attained at all times.

d. Groundwater Resources

The geology of Conanicut Island is largely responsible for determining the amount of groundwater available to the Town. The Island is underlain by very irregular consolidated rocks, over two hundred million years old, which are classified as Pre-Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania in age. In most places, unconsolidated deposits left behind by glacial ice that covered the area during the ice age overlie this rock. The unconsolidated earth deposits are mostly till, which ranges in thickness from less than one foot near the surface to over forty feet.

In general, Jamestown's geology yields the lowest quantity of groundwater in the State of Rhode Island. Jamestown’s groundwater is contained in fractures of consolidated bedrock. A limited quantity of water is stored in the saturated zones of the glacial deposits overlying bedrock. In efforts to meet the Town’s needs, wells were installed in the north end to supplement the north reservoir’s water supply.

All Island water, both surface and groundwater, is derived from precipitation. There is a hydrologic connection between the saturated glacial till and the bedrock levels of groundwater. Island wells are located in both water reserves. Excessive, constant pumping will drop both levels. However, about 85 percent of groundwater is returned through septic system infiltration and precipitation. Only a small amount of water, approximately 15 percent, is lost through consumption and evapotranspiration, especially in the summer. It is important to recognize the need for the return of groundwater to the system. If groundwater were not returned via ISDS, the groundwater supply would quickly diminish.

To calculate the average annual total recharge for Jamestown, rainfall, runoff, and soils type must be considered. The average annual statewide rainfall in RI is 42 inches. The Island's till runoff factor is approximately 9.8 inches of average annual recharge. This results in an average total groundwater recharge of 467,000 gallons per day per square mile. This is equivalent to 730 gallons per day per acre of groundwater available. Therefore, a 1-acre lot would receive approximately 730 gallons of groundwater per day in precipitation, an average two-acre lot would receive over 1,400 gallons per day, etc. This is not including the amount of groundwater present prior to precipitation.

The national average of single family use is estimated at 75 gallons per day per person. Based upon an average of 2.41 persons per household, the average household uses 199 gallons per day. If houses were developed on a minimum of one-acre lots, groundwater supply in Jamestown would be more than adequate and a buffer of over 500 gallons of groundwater would be available per acre.

The primary problem with the water quantity in Jamestown is in areas of high density. Density in the Jamestown Shores area is between 2 to 4 homes per acre. Development of this density would utilize between 800 to 1,200 gallons of water per day per acre. This usage is more than the total available groundwater supply and does not include a buffer. Development density of this magnitude will result in overdrafts to the groundwater supply, especially during droughts or times of heavy seasonal water usage.

By contrast groundwater withdrawals from areas with large lot zoning (two to five acres) should not significantly impact groundwater levels, especially if developed as single family homes with ISDS. With prudent use, drilled wells will probably not go permanently dry and water levels will eventually recover with precipitation. There should be little concern for groundwater quantity with prudent use and absent a drought, if residential density is controlled and the water used is returned to the ground through ISDS.

In areas of high-density development, there is a serious concern for the groundwater supply. The Town attempted to control density in the Jamestown Shores area with the adoption of a lot merger provision (1967) in addition to rezoning to R-40, which require a minimum lot size of 40,000 square feet. Even still, there are many substandard lots with dwellings and many grandfathered substandard lots eligible for residential development.

Another concern related to groundwater supply is the installation of underdrains or subsurface drains that lower the groundwater table and divert natural drainage patterns. This type of drainage should be regulated for both water quantity and water quality reasons. Under current subdivision regulations, the Planning Commission reviews any requests for subdrains for new subdivisions. Lots that already exist need only State approval for placement of subdrains; local regulations do not apply.

e. Ground Water Quality

Ground water quality in Jamestown is generally good. This can be attributed to the fact that there is no major industrial development in Jamestown and all commercial areas and most high-density residential land is serviced by the public water and sewer system.

The greatest threat to groundwater quality is presented by the utilization of ISDS on small residential lots with poor soils and with minimal separation from private drinking water wells. This will be discussed in further detail in the groundwater protection methods section.

The presence of iron in the groundwater is also a common problem on the Island. Pyrite releases of iron and sulfur can effect the smell and taste of the water but does not present any health concerns.

The University of Rhode Island studied water quality in Northern Conanicut Island in 1997 in a report entitled Ground Water Quality of Northern Conanicut Island, Jamestown, Rhode Island. The report details problems with density and related water quality in Northern Conanicut Island. The following is a summary and recommendations from this report:

Freshwater is present on Conanicut Island in ponds, a few streams, and a lens of ground water that is underlain by salt water. Ground water is the principle freshwater resource for the residents of the north end. The development potential of this resource is a function of the potential yield of the aquifer and the quality of the ground water. The potential yield is a complex issue that is beyond the scope of this report. This study has, however, brought to light some serious concerns about the present and future ground water quality on northern Conanicut Island.

The areas of particular concern are the impact that dense housing development may have had in section of the northern Conanicut Island. The assessment is based primarily on results from the coliform bacteria, nitrate and chloride analyses.

These findings demonstrate that the high house density has adversely affected groundwater quality in Jamestown Shores area. Water quality in other parts of the north end is currently good. If development in the rest of the north end continues at a pace that leads to a housing density similar to that of Jamestown Shores, ground-water quality will suffer. The following recommendations are made in light of the need to protect ground-water quality:

Many residents equate a wastewater management district with mandatory 2-year septic system pumping. Although septic system pumping, albeit on a longer time frame, should be a part of the wastewater management plan, this does not solve the nitrate contamination problem. A traditional septic system, when functioning properly, is designed to convert the organic nitrogen in human waste to nitrate, most of which is discharged to the soil zone where it is incorporated into infiltrating precipitation.

The elevated nitrate concentrations in ground water in the Jamestown Shores areas are not, therefore, evidence of failing septic systems. Rather, the housing density in the Shores and the small separation distances between wells and septic systems creates insufficient dilution of septic leachate. Alternative septic systems designs have been approved by the RI DEM that minimize nitrate release to the soil.

Although current zoning requires larger lots than those present in Jamestown Shores, many

"grandfathered" lots exist on the north end. If these lots are fully developed it may produce unacceptably high levels of nitrate and localized zones of bacteria contamination. The minimum lot size generally considered acceptable for homes with private wells and septic systems is 1 acre. A detailed assessment of nitrogen loading and recharge rates could be used to determine the appropriate minimum lot size for the north end.

f. Water Quality Protection Methods

The protection of groundwater and surface water on Conanicut Island is important to insure the quality of both private and public drinking water sources. This is especially important because the majority of households depend upon private wells, and the extension of the public water supply system to the areas outside the water district is not feasible due to the current limited storage capacity. The protection of surface water quality is also very important because the Town's public drinking water reservoirs are primarily fed by surface water runoff. Preventing degradation of the water quality and quantity in this watershed is extremely important since the development of an alternate water supply source would be very difficult and costly.

The Town's goals for insuring good water quality include the protection of freshwater resources; prevention of wetland degradation and loss; and maintenance of the quality and area of the Jamestown Brook Watershed. Various Local, State and Federal programs, policies and statutes protect Jamestown's water quality. The following is a discussion of the most pertinent protective measures that address point source and non-point source pollution.

1) Federal

There are numerous Federal laws and regulations that pertain to the preservation of water quality. Many of the programs are administered through agencies of the State of RI. The most pertinent legislation included the Clean Water Act and the Safe Water Drinking Act.

In addition to the above legislation, the United States Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) play a significant role in insuring the protection of the nation's waters. The mandated goal of the ACOE is to maintain and regulate the navigability of our of our nation's waters. The ACOE and EPA also provide for wetland protection through the administration of Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. Projects with potential impacts upon wetlands or navigable waters are reviewed by these federal agencies to minimize environmental damage. A comprehensive permitting process prevents the construction of a projects counter to the public interests. In addition, the ACOE and EPA provide grants for construction of wastewater treatment facilities.

2) State

The State of Rhode Island through its various departments and agencies has developed plans and programs to provide water quality preservation and enhancement for both drinking water sources and recreational uses. Numerous State statues have also been adopted to protect water quality.

a) Regulatory and Permitting Requirements

The RIDEM is the primary State department responsible for preparing and administering water quality protection programs. RIDEM administers permitting programs for freshwater wetland alteration, solid and hazardous waste disposal and pollutant discharge elimination systems.

The design and installation of ISDS are permitted and regulated by RIDEM. Any variance from the State regulations for the installation of ISDS are carefully reviewed by local officials and recommendations for denial are rendered when necessary to protect water quality and public health.

Further protection of water quality is provided under RIDEM's water quality classification system. These classifications designate and prohibit specific uses within delineated groundwater and surface water areas. The goal is to at least protect current water quality and hopefully upgrade its classification status.

In 1992 the RIDEM office of Water Resources developed Groundwater Quality Regulations. These regulations will serve to protect and restore the quality of the State's groundwater resources for use as drinking waters and other uses for the protection of the public health, welfare and the environment. These regulations are specifically important to Jamestown, which relies heavily upon private groundwater wells for its water supply. The regulations provide groundwater classifications and corresponding acceptable uses. Certain uses are prescribed for the various classifications, groundwater quality standards and preventive action limits.

b) Nonpoint Source Pollution Management Plan

Rhode Island's Nonpoint Source Management Plan was prepared in accordance with Section 319 of the Water Quality Act of 1987. State waters have been prioritized using the criteria of public benefit, environmental/public health risks, and greatest overall benefit and probability of success.

Waters included on the priority list have been threatened or impaired by nonpoint sources of pollution. Waters are evaluated as a drinking water supply, bathing and recreation resource, or habitat resource. Slated for restoration under the drinking water supplies category is North (Carr) Pond. Also recommended for restoration under the bathing and recreation category is West Ferry and East Ferry. In addition, West Ferry has been selected for restoration under the habitat category (refer to WATER QUALITY STANDARDS Map).

c) Coastal Resources Management Program

The CRMC which was created to oversee Rhode Island's coastal resources provides supplementary protection for water quality since 1971. Enabling legislation required that an assent be obtained from the CRMC for certain alterations and activities within 200ft of the coastal feature, and that these activities be in compliance with its water use classification program.

In order to carry out its legislative intent, The CRMC adopted the Coastal Resources Management Plan (CRMP) which has designated water use classifications for the State's coastline. The State's waters are defined in six categories bases upon characteristics of the shoreline and activities on the adjacent shoreline. Corresponding use categories prohibit the development or construction of uses considered detrimental to conservation and/or maintenance of the classified water use and abutting shoreline.

Under the CRMP, Jamestown's waters are classified as Types 1, 2 and 3 (refer to RI CRMC WATER USE TYPES Map). These categories establish patterns of use that preserve scenic value of the coastline and prohibit increased intensity of various uses. Type 1 water (Conservation Areas) abut shorelines generally characterized as natural and undisturbed; water areas within boundaries of designated wildlife refuges and conservation areas and water areas particularly unsuited for development due to their environmental sensitivity, exposure to severe wave action, flooding and erosion. Type 1 water is found around Dutch Island, Beavertail, southwest point to Bull Point and Potters Cove. Disruption of these areas is considered unsuitable by RI.CRMC. Type 2 waters (low-intensity uses) are adjacent to predominately residential areas and low-intensity recreational activities. Type 2 water is located around Gould Island, in Mackerel Cove and from Dutch Island Harbor, around the north end of the Island. More intensive forms of development such as marinas and new dredging are prohibited. Type 3 water is found from Bull Point north, to the Newport Bridge. Type 3 waters host high intensity boating and commercial activities such as recreational boating which intensely utilize water areas and where adjacent shoreline has been developed as marinas and associated water-dependant businesses.

3) Local

The most effective method of groundwater protection can be accomplished by local regulations. In Jamestown, protection of water resources is achieved through ordinances and policies.

a) The Zoning Ordinance

The Town's Zoning Ordinance adopted October 12, 1995 and a subsequent amendment (see EXISTING ZONING Map) provides protection methods to maintain and preserve surface and ground water quality on the Island. Of particular importance is the adoption of the Open Space I – Conservation Preserve Zone and Rural Residential-200 Zone (RR-200) for the watershed area. These zoning districts cover much of the Jamestown Brook watershed and the Town's two reservoirs. Land use restrictions and special standards of site development to protect surface water reservoirs, their tributary streams and ground water aquifers are enforced in the RR-200 and OS I zoning district.

The RR-200 district requires a minimum of 200,000 square feet for development in this zone. In addition, development in this zoning district is limited to residential and agricultural uses. Although some substandard size lots remain in the RR-200 district, most lots have been developed for single family homes and few opportunities still exist for further subdivision.

Development in the RR-200 area is also controlled by Article 11 the Zoning Ordinance that contains special regulations for Development Plan Review in this zoning district. A development plan must be filed with the Planning Commission to show likely impacts proposed development will have upon surface and subsurface water quality. The plan is required to include a discussion of impacts from construction, sewage disposal and paving methods.

Exempt from Article 11 review are single family homes on lots of 200,000 square feet or greater; agricultural uses operating in accordance with an Eastern Rhode Island Conservation District approved plan or uses that will not reduce the quality of a public water supply and existing single family homes. Through this Development Plan Review process, the Planning Commission has been successful in ensuring that development in the watershed is consistent with the Town's water quality protection goals.

A major concern in Jamestown is the proper placement of ISDS. Section 308 of the Zoning Ordinance prohibits the construction or location of sewage disposal beds, seepage pits, cesspools or disposal trenches or other facilities designed to leach liquid wastes into soil within 150 feet of a bog, floodplain, pond, marsh and swamp as defined in the ordinance. Because of the Town's recognition of the importance of wetland quality protection, the requirements of this section are more restrictive than the State's requirements.

Enforcement of Section 308 of the Ordinance has been difficult on some of the smaller substandard lots in the Jamestown Shores area, which are primarily wetlands. In many of these cases, the enforcement of Section 308 setbacks would result in the creation of an undevelopable lot.

Requests for variances from Town and State setback requirements are often granted with special conditions. In an attempt to address potential problems with substandard lots, a lot merger provision was adopted by the Town In 1967 which requires all contiguous substandard lots in the same ownership to be merged into a lot with the minimum acreage required for that zone.

Article 13 Section 2 of the Zoning Ordinance addresses land unsuitable for development in single family cluster developments. Undevelopable land includes State-defined wetlands and intertidal salt marshes. These areas must be deducted from the overall density calculation for subdivisions.

Table 3-1 VIII, number 11 of the Permitted Uses Table of the Zoning Ordinance prohibits underground fuel storage tanks in all districts. Underground storage tanks have the potential to contaminate groundwater due to leaks or improper installation. Although this section of the Ordinance prohibits any future underground storage tanks, a potential problem still remains with underground storage installed prior to the adoption of the Zoning Ordinance. In response to concerns about problems from leaking tanks, the State has an underground storage tank registration requirement which applies to tanks with a capacity of 1100 gallons or greater. Typically smaller residential tanks do not require registration under the State program.

b) Subdivision Regulations

The Town's Subdivision Regulations also affect water quality protection. The construction and/or installation of subsurface drains as part of a subdivision are prohibited unless an application is filed and approved by the Planning Commission.

The subdivision regulations also protect water quality by requiring the submission of a soil erosion control plan as part the application. The plans must conform to the standard of the Eastern RI Conservation District guidelines. The Eastern RI Soil Conservation District is available for review of the soil erosion component for subdivision plans upon request.

Clustering of housing in subdivision, allowed by the Zoning Ordinance, can also be an effective method for water quality protection. Under this ordinance, the Planning Commission can work with the developer to protect water resources such as wetlands and surface water resources from impacts of development.

c) Other Ordinances

Appropriate use and regulation of alternative waste disposal systems such as incinerator and composting toilets, and ISDSs for gray water only should be investigated. These systems are now being utilized in the State under certain circumstances. Protection of groundwater and surface water resources can also be enhanced with the adoption of local regulations for herbicide, pesticide and fertilizer use and application. These should be developed with the assistance of the Eastern Rhode Island Conservation Districts. A review of Island farming techniques and practices that may affect water resources should also be considered.

d) Harbor Management Plan

The adoption of a State approved Harbor Management Ordinance in 1990 along with subsequent amendments was a significant step toward local management of the quality of the Narragansett Bay waters around Conanicut Island. Among other things, the Harbor Management Plan sets limits on the number of moorings allowed in the East and West Ferry harbors, regulates moorings of riparian owners, and designates sensitive areas for conservation.

Because the water quality of the East and West Ferry harbors is affected by the number of boats in their vicinity, the State will continually monitor water quality for changes.

Conanicut Island is fortunate to be surrounded by some of the best and most valuable marine habitats in Narragansett Bay. Probably the most valuable is eelgrass, an important spawning and nursery habitat for many bay species. The clear, unpolluted waters around Conanicut Island currently support more acres of eelgrass than any other community in Rhode Island. These sensitive and important marine habitats should be delineated on our Harbor Management maps and protected from degradation by water related activities. Activities that adversely impact this habitat should be regulated under the Harbor Management Ordinance.

e) Water Conservation Plan

In 1990, the Town adopted a Water Conservation Plan with the goal of protecting the Island's watersheds and drinking water reservoirs. The Water Conservation Plan was updated in 1999. The State Water Resources Board has approved this plan. The Water Conservation Plan addresses water quality protection through an active land preservation program, the Town's Zoning ordinance and land management practices.

The Town, in conjunction with the State and private contributors, has taken great efforts to protect the watershed through an active preservation program. Through the purchase or donation of land, development rights, or conservation easements, the Town has preserved 73 percent of the total land area of the Jamestown public water supply watershed.

Recommendations of the Water Conservation Plan include the continued preservation of land within the watershed and in other hydrological sensitive areas; mandatory water saving devices for new construction; and the adoption of a Waste Water Management District Ordinance

f) Water Resources Protection Committee

In 1999, The Town Council appropriated funds through a warrant to the annual budget with the overriding governmental objective of protection of the water resources of Jamestown. The Town Council, on August 10, 1999, established the Water Resources Protection Committee of seven persons consisting of the Finance Director, the Town Planner, a Member of the Conservation Commission, and four members of the Community, to aid and assist the Council in the accomplishment of the aforesaid objective. The Committee is charged as follows:

  1. Identify and catalogue properties which contribute to the protection or preservation of the municipal water supply/system, including but not limited to:

    1. Areas suitable for municipal wells, or which may otherwise increase system capacity;
    2. Areas within the so-called "watershed" or which protect the "watershed";
    3. Areas suitable for potential expansion of municipal water system, such as Carr's Creek and surrounding areas;
    4. Areas which, if developed, might jeopardize the municipal water system.

  1. Identify and catalogue properties that contribute to the protection or preservation of the quantity and quality of private water supplies, including but not necessarily limited to areas which, if developed, might jeopardize the quantity and/or quality of existing water supplies.
  2. To prioritize among the aforesaid properties those most critical for acquisition and provide the Town Council with a prioritized list at least annually.
  3. Subject to the approval of the Town Council, to engage experts, including appraisers in connection with said properties.
  4. Subject to the approval of the Town Council, to enter into negotiations for the acquisition of said property or properties or any interest therein.
  5. To present to the Town Council for approval and execution contracts for the acquisition of said properties or any interest therein.
  6. To assist in the solicitation of funds from outside sources.

g) Waste Water Management District

In 1999, the Town began the process of developing a comprehensive Waste Water Management Program including implementing a Wastewater Management District (WWMD) Ordinance. Through both Town funds and a grant from the RIDEM the Town was able to hire a team of consultants to develop a Wastewater Management Program, Waste Water Management District Ordinance, and an educational component. One of the educational component’s goals is to make people aware of the benefits of wastewater management and it's importance to them.

The development and adoption of a Waste Water Management Plan will make Jamestown residents eligible for loans from the State to repair or replace improperly functioning ISDS. Benefits of the WWMD Plan and ordinance include proper maintenance of ISDSs resulting in enhanced groundwater quality and a reduction in overall costs of routine maintenance due to competitive bidding process.

The establishment of Wastewater Management Districts was endorsed by Model Legislation passed by the RI General Assembly in 1987. Various other communities in the State are in the process of preparing and adopting a similar ordinance. Block Island and Charlestown are implementing similar ordinances.

h) Drainage Improvement Program

The institution of a drainage improvement program in the Jamestown Shores area and elsewhere on the Island has been helpful in protecting the surface and groundwater quality. Drainage improvements typically include the installation of catch basins that receive road runoff and separate out detritus and grit from the flow. Catch basins are cleaned out on a regular schedule to prevent buildup that causes malfunctions.

Another important drainage improvement was the installation of a closed drainage system to prevent road runoff from the new John Eldred Parkway from entering the Jamestown Brook watershed. This system would also prevent potential spills that may occur on the John Eldred Parkway from entering the watershed. The closed system was installed along approximately one mile of the roadway that passes through the watershed. Drainage captured by this system is carried by a combination of gravity and pumps to the west-side of the Island and into a detention basin. The detention basin allows solids and some pollutants to settle out before the runoff flows into the Bay.

3. Wildlife/Vegetation

The environs of Conanicut Island have a diversity of natural ecosystems that include upland hardwood forests, streams, wooded swamps, meadows, fresh water and salt water marshes, streams, rocky shores, beaches, coastal estuaries and a variety of marine habitats. Each of these ecosystems is characterized by specific flora and fauna, all of which play an essential role in contributing to the quality and enjoyment of the Island's natural environment. In addition to its role as wildlife habitat the Island's vegetation plays an important role in social buffering, erosion and flood control, filtering of water-borne pollutants, production of oxygen, the absorption of air pollution and as an important aesthetic amenity that gives the Island it's rural character. The community of plants and animals that live on Conanicut Island form a complex "web of life" where each is dependent upon the other for survival. Each species fills a unique niche in the natural environment. The loss of a single species has the potential to adversely impact the Island's ecosystem.

Due to its Island environment, Jamestown has some exemplary natural communities. The Rhode Island Natural Heritage Program has identified four significant habitat areas on Conanicut Island: Great Creek/Round Swamp, Gould Island, Beavertail Park, and Jamestown Brook and Wetlands. These areas support species that may become lost to the State if their habitat is not protected and carefully managed.

a. Great Creek/Round Swamp

Great Creek/Round Swamp and the wetlands that make up this important ecosystem provide nursery area for many species of fin fish and shellfish. This area is also an important nesting and feeding area for many species of waterfowl and large wading birds. The area also contains several unique plant species. The Audubon Society of Rhode Island, The Nature Conservancy and the Town jointly own this area. A portion of the privately owned saltmarsh area and adjacent upland is protected under the provisions of a conservation easement held by the Conanicut Island Land Trust. The RIDEM owns the development rights to a large portion of the contiguous Hodgkiss Farm. The Conanicut Island Sanctuary in the southeast corner of the Great Creek area is jointly managed by the Jamestown Conservation Commission and Conanicut Island Land Trust as a wildlife sanctuary. A trail system and a wildlife observation platform overlooking the saltmarsh provide public access to the Sanctuary. These improvements provide limited and controlled access while reducing the human impact to the flora and fauna of the area. To assist in this effort the Conservation Commission wrote and implemented a vegetation and wildlife management plan for the sanctuary.

b. Gould Island

Gould Island is an important rookery for wading birds due to its isolation and vegetative community. At least seven rare bird species nest here, among other more common birds. The State of RI owns the southern third of the Island and the U.S. Navy owns the northern two thirds. The State portion is managed as a nesting area for wading birds, gulls, terns and American Oystercatchers. The bird colonies are monitored annually by the RI. Division of Fish and Wildlife. Access to portions of the Island are restricted during the nesting season.

c. Beavertail Park

Beavertail Park has a variety of habitats that support many species of plants and animals both terrestrial and marine. Year round residents include gray fox, cottontail rabbit, a growing white tail deer population and many species of land and sea birds. As a peninsula jutting into Rhode Island Sound it is a stopover point for many migratory bird species during the fall. The point has also been host to thousands of Monarch butterflies during their fall migration south. Migrating sea birds can also be observed offshore during both spring and fall. The rocky shoreline is noted for tidal pools, a great diversity of marine algae species, extensive submarine kelp beds, and an occasional fossil. Beavertail Park is maintained by the RIDEM and is part of the RI. State Park system. When the property was acquired from the Federal government, it was largely cleared land. Since acquisition, natural succession has changed many of the previously mowed fields into a scrub/shrubs habitat and its wildlife value has decreased. Human impact has also taken its toll on the natural features of the park. This is especially evident in the extensive shoreline erosion of the banks and bluffs. A more aggressive approach to people control and vegetation management is necessary to maintain habitat and wildlife diversity and preserve the natural beauty of the park.

d. Jamestown Brook and Wetlands

The extensive wetland system surrounding Jamestown Brook that flows south from Jamestown’s North Pond Reservoir to the South Reservoir is one of the most important wildlife habitats on the Island. This wetland is also habitat for a State-listed rare amphibian, the Leopard Frog. The entire wetland system was classified as "outstanding" by the Golet Wetland Classification System indicating that it is unique in the State and has a very high value as wildlife habitat. In addition this wetland provides a number of important functions for the residents of Jamestown. This large wetland filters pollutants from water traveling between the North and South Reservoirs, it serves as a "giant sponge" storing enormous amounts of water and slowly discharging it to the south, and finally the wetland recharges the groundwater in the area. Protection of this wetland system should be a high priority for the Town.

The aforementioned areas provide habitat to many species of plants, birds, and reptiles that are of concern to the State because of their rarity or vulnerability to habitat loss. The following species have been observed in Jamestown and are either State endangered, threatened, or of interest and concern. Six federally listed endangered or threatened species, four species of sea turtles, the Peregrine Flacon and the Bald Eagle, occur as transients or migrants.

Since the 1991 Comprehensive Plan the Rhode Island Natural Heritage Program of RIDEM has revised their system of classification by dropping (SSI) "State Species of Interest" and adding (SH) "Historic". The twelve species previously designated (SSI) are now (C) "Concern". One bird, the Yellow-Breasted Chat, was (SE) and is now listed (SH). Other changes include: two plants no longer found on Jamestown, Northern Bog Clubmoss and Seaside Gerardia; three species now endangered- Violet Wood-Sorrel, Swamp Pink and Upland Sandpiper; plus one newly discovered insect of "concern", the Salt Marsh Tiger Beetle.


Eupatorium leucolepis var novae-angliae - New England Boneset (SE)

Arenaria stricta - Rock Sandwort (SE)

Ophioglossum pusillum - Adder's Tongue (SE)

Platanthera flava var herbiola - Pale Green Orchid (SE)

Liparis loeselii - Yellow Twayblade (ST)

Oxalis violacea - Violet Wood-Sorrel (SE)

Polygala cruciata - Cross-Leaved Milkwort (C)

Chenopodium leptophyllum - Goosefoot (C)

Polygala verticillata varambigua - Whorled Milkwort (C)

Ptilimnium capillaceum - Mock Bishop's Weed (C)

Arethusa bulbosa - Swamp Pink (SE)

Honkenya peploides sep robusta - Sea Beach Sandwort (C)

Saxifraga virginiensis - Early Saxifrage (C)


Cicindela marginata – Salt marsh tiger beetle (C)


Rana pipens - Northern Leopard Frog (C)


Thamnophis sauritus - Eastern Ribbon Snake (C)


Icteria virens - Yellow-Breasted Chat (SH)

Bartramia longicauda - Upland Sandpiper (SE)

Bubulcus ibis - Cattle Egret (C)

Casmerodius albus - Great Egret (C)

Egretta caerulea - Little Blue Heron (C)

Ergetta thula - Snowy Egret (C)

Haematopus palliatus - American Oystercatcher (C)

Nycticorax nycticorax - Black-Crowned Night Heron (C)

Plegadis falcinellus - Glossy Ibis (C)

Rallus longirostris - Clapper Rail (C)

SE = State Endangered ST = State Threatened

SH = State Historic C = State species of Concern

Source: The RI Natural Heritage Program, 1991


4. Natural Resources Achievements Based Upon the 1991 Goals, Policies, Recommendations and Implementation Methods

This section lists the goals, policies, recommendations and implementation methods as stated in the 1991 Comprehensive Community Plan. The community achievements since 1991 follow the listing of the Recommendations and Implementation methods and describe what results or actions have occurred on each particular recommendation, and why it has or has not been implemented/successful.

a. Coastal Resources


* To preserve and protect unique, fragile, and scenic coastal areas.

* To protect public accessibility to the shoreline.


* Guide development away from unique, fragile, and scenic coastal areas.

* To encourage land management and development which provide opportunities for waterfront access and protection of coastal resources.


1) Enhance shoreline areas where appropriate to allow for increased and/or safer public access.

    1. Create a priority list for shoreline acquisition and development. List should include most sensitive areas as well as areas with the most potential for recreation.
    2. Prepare a local shoreline access guide and place public access signs at designated rights-of-way where appropriate.
    3. Begin development and/or stabilization plans which would encourage modest neighborhood use of shoreline access areas.
    4. Research additional public rights-of-way to determine ownership.
    5. Create requirements for public easements to waterfront in subdivisions where appropriate.

Jamestown has implemented many of its recommendations with respect to enhancing shoreline areas where appropriate to allow for increased and/ or safer public access. A priority list for shoreline acquisition and development including most sensitive areas and areas with the most potential for recreation has been implemented to some extent by the Recreation, Conservation and Open Space (RCOS) Plan. The plan was developed by the Conservation Commission in 1994 and adopted by the Town Council and is now in the process of update. In 1999 the Jamestown Parking Committee prepared the "Report on Shoreline Access of Rights-of-Way" which detailed and prioritized improvements to over 40 local rights-of-way. Through Subdivision Regulations, the Planning Commission can make requirements for public easements to waterfront in subdivisions where appropriate.

2) Discourage the development of flood hazard areas and unique, fragile, and scenic shoreline areas.

    1. Create a zoning overlay district which regulates setbacks, structural requirements, height, etc. along designated coastal areas.
    2. Petition the Coastal Resources Management Council to change designations of specific sensitive natural coastal areas to prohibit certain types of development.
    3. Create a priority list for shoreline protection of unique, fragile, and scenic coastal areas.

To discourage the development of flood hazard areas and unique, fragile, and scenic shoreline areas, in 1994 the CRMC with the involvement of the Town, has gone through redesignation of Water Use Areas to prohibit certain types of development in sensitive natural coast areas. The Recreation Conservation and Open Space (RCOS) Plan also attempted to prioritize a list for shoreline protection and acquisition of unique, fragile, and scenic coastal areas.


b. Water Resources


* To maintain and improve the quality of the Island's marine and fresh water resources.


* Protect the Island's fresh water resources.

* Prevent degradation and loss of the Island's wetlands.

* To maintain the quality and area of the Jamestown watershed.


1) Protect the quality of the Island's fresh water resources.

    1. Identify potential point and non-point pollution sources and plan for the elimination of threats to water resources.
    2. Strictly enforce setbacks as defined in Section 308 of the Town's Zoning Ordinance.
    3. Enact the Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control Ordinance.
    4. Adopt a Wastewater Management Ordinance to prevent groundwater and surface water contamination in non-sewered areas.
    5. Investigate additional local regulation of ISDS systems.
    6. Conduct a baseline water quality study for streams and ponds and periodically monitor water quality.
    7. Regulate the utilization of herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers for agricultural production in accordance with the recommendations of the Eastern RI Conservation District
    8. Continue community environmental education and specifically on disposal systems.

Jamestown has begun implementation of many of the eight recommendations to protect the quality of the Island’s marine and fresh water resources. Town Public Works Department has been identifying the threats and mitigation measures to the Town’s public drinking water supply since 1990. Setbacks of 150 feet for ISDS's and wetlands were enacted in the Zoning Ordinance. A Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control Ordinance was not adopted. Instead, the building official reviews every building plan with reference to soil erosion and mitigation measures. Anticipating completion in 2002, the Town has hired a consultant to prepare a comprehensive Wastewater Management Program (WWMP) including an ordinance focused on protecting groundwater quality through regulations and maintenance of ISDS’s. The WWMP has a strong public education component, specifically on ISDS systems. A baseline water quality study of the North Pond Reservoir was conducted in 1999 and water quality is monitored on a daily basis. The State regulates the utilization of herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers for agricultural production in accordance with the recommendations of the Eastern RI Conservation District. The State is also responsible for monitoring, but with no active crop farming within the watershed area no monitoring has been conducted.

2) Prevent and protect against filling, dredging, construction or removal of vegetation within wetlands.

    1. Strictly enforce the 150 -foot setback of ISDS from wetlands.
    2. Impose a coordinated review process for all applications to Federal, State, and Local agencies that would result in the loss of wetlands area.
    3. Work with the State of RI., Conservation Commission, Conanicut Island Land Trust and other conservation agencies to identify priority wetlands and appropriate protection methods.

To prevent and protect against filling, dredging, construction or removal of vegetation within the wetlands the Zoning Ordinance requires the 150-foot setback of ISDS from wetlands. In 1999 the RIDEM and CRMC have redefined their freshwater wetland jurisdiction. Jamestown has in the past and will continue to work with the state of RI, the Jamestown Conservation Commission, Conanicut Island Land Trust and other conservation agencies to identify priority wetlands and appropriate protection methods.

3) Promote and encourage development patterns that protect the Jamestown Brook watershed.

    1. Adopt an Emergency Response Plan for watershed protection.
    2. Continue an aggressive acquisition of fee simple or development rights to all those properties located within the Jamestown Brook watershed.
    3. Amend zoning ordinance to include the Town's Conservation Commission in the review process for development within the watershed.
    4. Evaluate land uses allowed in watershed under current zoning.

To promote and encourage development patterns that protect the Jamestown Brook Watershed the aggressive acquisition of fee simple or development rights to all properties located within the Jamestown Brook Watershed has proved to be successful. Approximately 700 acres are publicly owned or preserved. The Town has adopted an Emergency Response Plan for watershed protection and it is in the process of update. The Town’s Zoning Ordinance should be looked at for amendment to include the Town’s Conservation Commission in the review process for development within the watershed. Land uses allowed in the watershed under current zoning were evaluated in 1995 and will be updated when the Zoning Ordinance is readopted after the update of the Comprehensive Plan.

    1. Ensure the protection of the quantity of Jamestown's water resources and plan for future growth accordingly.

    1. Begin an aggressive Water Conservation Program placing strong emphasis on education and information.
    2. Conduct a quantitative analysis of groundwater and surface water resources with recommendations for appropriate action.
    3. Update engineering studies on the Town's water resources including future expansion potential of the public water supply.

To ensure the protection of the quantity of Jamestown’s water resources and plan for the future growth accordingly the Town revised the Rules and Regulations of the board of Water and Sewer Commissioners in 1999. This strengthened the required conservation measures. A quantitative analysis of ground and surface water resources with recommendations for appropriate action have been conducted at the North pond reservoir and will be conducted for the South Reservoir in 2000. A ground water study headed by Dr. Ann Veegar (Department of Geology, University of Rhode Island) was conducted in 1997. The recommendations from this study were discussed previously in this chapter. The "Pare" Engineering Study conducted in 1999 outlines several methods for expansion potential of the public water supply.

c. Wildlife and Vegetation


* To maintain wildlife and habitat diversity while protecting endangered species and plant life from extinction.

* To protect natural vegetation and wildlife habitat wherever possible throughout town.


* Actively protect areas which provide habitats for biologically diverse and rare, endangered, and ecologically significant species as defined by the State Natural Heritage Program.


1) Properly manage areas designated as significant habitats

    1. Prepare Management Plans for all areas identified as significant habitats. Periodically re-evaluate the existing Management Plans for areas of habitat diversity and update as appropriate with assistance from the State Natural Heritage Program.
    2. Establish contacts with appropriate Federal, State, and Non-Profit agencies that have responsibility for habitat management on the Island and coordinate management plans with these agencies.

Management plans were prepared for the Conanicut Island Sanctuary and a few other areas identified as significant habitat. Periodic re-evaluation of the existing Management Plans for these areas is appropriate. Contacts have not yet been established with appropriate Federal, State, and Non-Profit agencies to coordinate management plans of all protected significant habitats.

2) Discourage development of any area that has been identified as a significant habitat.

    1. Continue to pursue acquisition of properties that are significant in their ability to support diversified species or provide habitats for endangered species.
    2. Coordinate acquisition proposals with the State's Natural Heritage Program.

Development is discouraged of any area that has been identified as a significant habitat. Acquisition of properties that are significant in their ability to support diversified species or provide habitats for endangered animals is ongoing. Acquisition proposals with the State’s Natural Heritage Program are also ongoing as the opportunity arises.


3) Give appropriate consideration to the protection of natural vegetation and habitat during all phases of development planning, review, and construction.

    1. Conservation Commission should develop an inventory of sensitive or valuable vegetation and wildlife habitats as a guide for property owners in the development of individual lots.
    2. Building Official and Planning Commission should utilize the above-mentioned guide in their review of development projects.

To ensure that sensitive and valuable habitats are preserved, invasive species literature should be available to the public. Planting of invasive species should be discouraged among both public and private sectors.

The Conservation Commission has not yet developed an inventory of sensitive or valuable habitats to be used as a guide for property owners during development. The Planning Commission does, however, consider the protection of natural vegetation and habitat during all phases of development planning and subdivision review.


5. Cultural and Historical Resources

Jamestown's cultural and historical resources are equally as important to preserve as its natural resources. The cultural and historical resources include the community's Native American, agricultural, and military past influences. Preservation of these resources is a step toward retaining the Island's rural character and remembering its past. Also important was the steam ferry and its role in the development of Jamestown as a summer resort.

Some of the Town's cultural and historical resources have been placed in the National Register of Historic Places. The Department of Interior maintains the register as a record of structures, sites, areas and objects significant in American history, architecture, archeology, and culture. Listing in the National Register allows certain benefits, including national recognition as an historic area, limited protection from federally funded projects and matching grants-in-aid for restoration purposes.

However, the register does not guarantee permanent protection for a site.

Jamestown’s historic and archeological resources are well documented to allow the Town and private individuals to make optimal decisions about property management and preservation. Further research and evaluation of properties not listed in the National Register promote public awareness of these resources and provide better information for well-considered management and preservation decisions. One documented background is the 1995 Historical and Architectural Resources of Jamestown Rhode Island prepared by the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission.

a. National Historic Register

Following is a National Register listing of districts, structures and sites in Jamestown. The Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission indicates that listing in the National Register is a tool to encourage the preservation and recognition of our national heritage. Further, the register is not intended to hinder progress; it is a reminder that the preservation and re-use of properties giving Jamestown its identity are part of progress. Listing in the National Register does not require the owner to preserve or maintain the property. Unless the owner applies for and receives special Federal or State benefits, she/he can do anything with the property permitted by local ordinances.

1) Great Creek Archeological District (Jamestown)

Narragansett Avenue borders the Great Creek Archeological District to the south, Route 138 to the north, North Road to the east, and Narragansett Bay to the west. This site is listed on the National and State Registers. The Archeological District also includes a portion of the Windmill Hill Historic District.

Archaeologists believe that an ancient village may have existed here. Indian artifacts recovered have been dated up to 5,000 years ago. A major discovery is the existence of the largest known Native American burial ground in New England on the site of the existing Jamestown School. Only limited excavations have occurred to date. The Rhode Island College Archeological Study entitled RIHPC (RI Historical Preservation Commission) Report on Jamestown indicates that Conanicut Island was a summer settlement for prehistoric Narragansett Indians.

Included in the district are National Register-eligible sites which are located on the Watson Farm property and along Eldred Avenue. The presence of these sites would indicate that the northern boundary of the archeological district could be expanded north to Eldred Avenue. It is extremely likely that much of the area between the District's northern boundary and an area north of Eldred Avenue, bounded on the west by the Bay and on the east by North Road, contains potentially significant archaeological sites. This area may be designated as "sensitive".

2) Windmill Hill Historic District

This 772-acre historic district is located at Weeden Lane and North Main Road and is listed on the National and State Registers. The site includes six farmsteads, 18th century burial grounds, an 18th century Quaker Meetinghouse, an 18th century windmill and miller's house. As mentioned earlier, there exist archeological remains of several Indian settlements included in the Great Creek Archeological District. The Windmill Hill Historic District includes preserved 18th century and 19th century architecture and the last example of an 18th century Quaker-farming community extant in Rhode Island. This District also contains Cedar Hill Farm, founded by Governor Caleb Carr's descendants, as well as some of the few buildings built after the British evacuation in 1779.

The Windmill Hill Historic District is one of the finest rural landscapes in Rhode Island. This district is one of the largest contiguous acreage of agricultural land in coastal Rhode Island and contains a wealth of archaeological resources. However, in this District only structures that are individually recognized as historic are protected. Protected sites include the Windmill, Quaker Meeting House, Burying Ground, and the Joyner Farm archeological site. Both the Windmill and the Quaker Meeting House are overseen by the Jamestown Historical Society.

3) Beavertail Light

Beavertail Point has been the site of beacons and lighthouses since the early 18th century. Records refer to a watch house at Beavertail as early as 1705. Orders for building a beacon and maintaining regular watch are recorded in document from 1712.

In 1749 a 58-foot wooden tower was designed by Peter Harrison, architect of the Redwood Library, Touro Synagogue and Brick Market in Newport. This was the third lighthouse built in the colonies. In 1753, the building burned and was replaced by a 64-foot fieldstone tower that was completed in 1755. The tower was burned by the British in 1779 and the lighthouse was repaired in 1783-1784 and was used until 1856. The present tower was constructed in 1856 and is of a unique granite work construction.

The fog signal called "whistle house" washed away in the 1938 hurricane, but all other buildings were not affected. The storm also unearthed the stone foundation of the original lighthouse, which still stands today mounting the new fog whistle.

The light has also been the site of several experiments to improve lighthouse operations. It was the first to use gas as a lighthouse illuminant and to install the whistle/air trumpet and steam whistle in the United States. Now a museum and part of the State Park System, the lighthouse is maintained by the Beavertail Lighthouse Association. The lighthouse resident is appointed by the Town Council.

4) Conanicut Battery

An archeological investigation was conducted in 1975 of this Revolutionary War earthwork fortification. The Rhode Island colonial forces erected this fort in 1776 to guard the west passage into Narragansett Bay. Eventually, six fire control stations were constructed at this site. The Battery was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in May of 1973. This site was in the custody of the John Eldred Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. The Town acquired the site in 1963

This battery is an example of a ditch and wall fortification. There are current restoration efforts underway to improve the site and turn it into a park for educational purposes. The area will be opened to the public and will serve the whole region as a significant historical site. The Conanicut Battery is included on both the National and State Registers.

5) Joyner Archeological Site

The Joyner Site is identified as site 706 on the State Map and is a prehistoric Narragansett Indian site. Joyner is listed on both the National and State Registers. This site was found to be a heavily occupied location and yielded large quantities of prehistoric artifacts. Artifacts range in age from 2,500 BC to 1,000 AD. The site was utilized as an episodic logistical residential base camp from late summer through late fall.

6) Keeler Archeological Site

Members of the Carr family occupied this site from the late 18th century through the 19th century. Artifacts include possessions of this locally prominent Quaker family.

7) Fort Dumpling Site

The Fort Dumpling Tower was built about 1800 and throughout the 19th century it stood as a spectacular and romantic landmark of the lower Bay. It was destroyed in 1898 when the Fort Wetherill complex was begun.

8) Artillery Park and Town Cemetery

This site was set aside as a burial ground in 1656 and contains a number of old gravestones.

    1. Jamestown
    2. Windmill

      Included in the Historic Windmill Hill District, this post-revolution structure is overseen by The Jamestown Historical Society who is responsible for its care and maintenance. During the summer months, the Historical Society gives tours of the structure.





    3. Friends Meeting


This 1786 structure was built by the Quaker fellowship of Conanicut. The Jamestown Historical Society oversees the care and maintenance of this structure.




11) Dutch Island Lighthouse

Located on the 110-acre Dutch Island, the lighthouse was built in 1857 replacing the original lighthouse of 1827 at the southern end of the Island. Land use on Dutch Island has ranged from a trading post in the 1600s to sheep pasturage throughout the 1800s to a training camp and fortification for the military through Civil War, Spanish-American War, and World War I. The lighthouse is the only remaining structure on Dutch Island.

12) Conanicut Island Lighthouse

Established in 1886, the light was manned by a keeper who lived in the attached residence. No longer in use, the lighthouse has been converted into a private residence.

b. Sites Eligible for National Register

The following sites have been formally determined eligible for National Register listing by the National Park Service, although they are not currently listed: Harbor Entrance Control Post at Beavertail Point and Jamestown Bridge Archeological Site (RI-711).

c. State Identified Districts and Structures

The following are listed as properties that deserve consideration and further study for entry in the National Register:

    1. Clingstone (House on the Rock)
    2. The Old Green Farm
    3. Cajacet/Captain Thomas Paine House
    4. Conanicut Park Historic District
    5. Dutch Island Historic District
    6. Fox Hill Historic District
    7. Ocean Highlands Historic District,
    8. Shoreby Hill Historic District
    9. J.B. Lippincott House/Meeresblick
    10. Beavertail Farm
    11. Horgan Cottages
    12. Carr Homestead
    13. Fowler's Rock
    14. Lyman-Cottrell Farmhouse
    15. Riven Rock
    16. Jamestown Town Pound North Main Road
    17. Horsehead

d. Cultural Resources

Cultural resources and their importance can be interpreted in different ways by different people. Some resources are more important to particular social, religious, or ethnic groups. The following is a list of cultural resources that are generally important to the community's character.

1) Archeological Resources

Conanicut Island is rich in archeological resources, many of which are listed on the National Register or are in areas that are part of National Register districts. The archeological significance of the Island dates back to over three thousand years ago when the community was the summer residence of the prehistoric Native Americans. There are presently 25 archeological test excavations.

The Rhode Island Historical Preservation Commission prepared a Management Plan for Prehistoric Archeology Resources in Rhode Island’s Coastal Zone, Volume I, August 1982. This model predicts the presence of archeological artifacts and prehistoric settlements based upon soil types, (Windsor, a rare soil type for Jamestown that provided beneficial drainage), locations to fresh water sources, salt water and slope percent. The Island possesses three deposits of Windsor soil. Two of these deposits are known to contain Narragansett Indian burial grounds.

2) Native American Burial Grounds

The discovery of large Native American Burial Grounds in Jamestown has enabled tribal members and historians an opportunity to view life as it was in the beginning in Jamestown. A large Narragansett Indian burial ground is identified on the state map and is included in the Jamestown Archeological District. Another site in Jamestown contains skeletal remains although no identification has been made as Native American or as a burial ground.

The Jamestown Archeological District, entered on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984, is made up of two significant archaeological sites, the Joyner site and the West Ferry site. Other evidence of early Indian settlements are found throughout the Island, laying claim to Sachem Pessicuc’s statement that his people had lived in the area since "time out of mind." Investigations continue for additional burial sites and campsites of the Narragansett Indian Tribe.

The Joyner site comprises a large area of the Island, extending south from approximately Route 138, the John Eldred Parkway, to Narragansett Avenue. Important findings there include house remains, shell middens and human burials, perhaps dating to 4,500 years ago.

The West Ferry archaeological site is considered the largest documented Indian cemetery in New England. The modern village of Jamestown has grown around and within this large Indian cemetery; whose boundaries remain unknown. The cemetery contains cremation burials dating to at least 3,300 years ago. Also present are more recent Narragansett Indian burials dating to the 1600s and possibly even earlier.

These archaeological projects have made significant contributions to our understanding of the Native American history of Conanicut Island in particular and southern New England in general. The Jamestown Library includes the Sydney Wright Memorial Museum, the repository for Narragansett Library and European artifacts recovered from Narragansett graves in the 1960s by archaeologists from Harvard University. Members of the Narragansett tribes reburied the skeletal remains in 1972 in one of the first reburial ceremonies in the United States. Discussions are now underway with the Narragansetts to determine the best way to care for the grave artifacts. The library also provides a place for occasional lectures and discussions about the Island’s archaeology. With the preservation and study of Jamestown’s important archaeological sites, the Island will continue to contribute to our knowledge of the past.

3) Town Historic Records/Archives

The Town's archives include historic records dating back to 1640 that include the official records and maps of the Town. These records have endured for centuries, through fires and hostilities, and are expected to be maintained ad infinitum. Archives are currently stored in both the Town Hall and the Jamestown Historical Society Museum and although many of the documents are recorded on microfilm, the original documents are important to the preservation of our right to information and the documentation of our heritage.


4) Ferry Landing

The old ferry landing at East Ferry is reminiscent of the impact of the ferry system on Jamestown's economy and growth. Ferry service on the East Passage lasted close to one hundred years, from 1873 to 1969 when the Newport Bridge was opened. Steam ferries ran from West Ferry from 1896-1940; sail ferries ran from 1600 to 1896. Today, there remains very little at this site to remind us of the role of the ferry in the past. The Historical Society of Jamestown, however, has a permanent ferry exhibit at the Museum on Narragansett Avenue that captures the essence of this era and its importance in the Island's history.

5) Historic Cemeteries

The Town of Jamestown has nine historical cemeteries recorded with the State of Rhode Island Historical Preservation Register. The registered cemeteries are as follows:

    1. Governor Carr Lot, East Shore Road
    2. Town Cemetery, North Road
    3. Cottrell & Green Lot, Fort Getty Road
    4. Arnold Lot, Fort Getty Road
    5. Cedar Cemetery, Eldred Avenue
    6. Friends Cemetery, Eldred Avenue
    7. Tew Cemetery, North Road
    8. Paine Cemetery, East Shore Road
    9. St. Mark Roman Catholic Cemetery, East Shore Road


6) Stone Walls

Jamestown's agricultural heritage is exemplified by the presence of numerous stone walls. As farmers cleared stones from their land to create fields, the stones were piled along the edges of the field and the property boundaries. The stone walls were used to delineate field crops and also to contain livestock. Significant stone walls run along the Town's major roadways, including North Road and Beavertail Road.


7) Scenic Sites and Landscapes

Various scenic sites, including farmland and open landscapes, reflect the Island's heritage. In January of 1990, the RI Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) conducted an inventory of the State's scenic resources. The Rhode Island Scenic Inventory lists six significant scenic landscapes in the Town of Jamestown (see SCENIC AREAS Map). These scenic landscapes account for 1,473 acres (23 percent of land area) in Jamestown.

Sites are identified as either Distinctive or Noteworthy. Distinctive landscapes are areas that have the highest visual appeal or imaginability and contain a great deal of variety in form, line, texture, and color in the land when evaluating the physiogeographic, historic, and cultural features. Noteworthy landscapes are areas of lesser important visual quality with characteristics that combine to create an area of scenic value.

The following are recognized as scenic sites and landscapes in Jamestown:

    1. Jamestown Brook/Windmill Hill - Interesting topography and vegetation. Noteworthy Landscape - 595 acres
    2. North Road - Views to Newport Bridge across marsh. Noteworthy Landscape - 149 acres
    3. Windmill Hill/Round Swamp - Interesting swamp makes excellent focal point. Noteworthy Landscape - 149 acres
    4. Fox Hill Pond - Well-sited farms and excellent views to ocean. Distinctive Landscape - 228 acres
    5. Beavertail Point - Varied vegetation; rocky shoreline; views. Distinctive Landscape - 215 acres
    6. Eldred Avenue/Route 138, The John Eldred Parkway - Undulating topography; views to the bridge. Noteworthy Landscape - 80 acres


8) Other Cultural Resources

Jamestown has many organizations that are responsible for providing various cultural activities in the community. These include: Conanicut Island Art Association, the Jamestown Community Theatre, the Jamestown Community Chorus, Friends of the Library, Jamestown Historical Society, and the Beavertail Museum Association. Activities provided by these groups include: arts exhibits, museum exhibits, craft shows, adult and children's theatre events, concerts, and lectures.

The various houses of worship are important cultural resources in the community. They offer spiritual guidance as well as social functions to the residents of Conanicut Island.

The Island's two garden clubs, the Jamestown Garden Club and the Quononoquott Garden Club, initiate and assist in Town beautification projects.

Cultural resources in Jamestown also include the Jamestown Museum, the Fire Department Memorial Museum, and the Sydney L. Wright Museum.

e. Threats to Historic and Cultural Resources

Jamestown’s historic resources are threatened by natural aging processes and by activities of property owners. People may be unaware that they own an historic structure or live on or near an historical site. In addition, people may not know how to care for such properties. Development of open space and new construction may disturb archeological resources.

Renovation or destruction of historically significant buildings is also a potential threat to the Island’s historic resources. This problem results from a lack of awareness of the value of these resources. While renovation is strongly encouraged, any repairs must be consistent with the character of the building.

Over the last 20 years, the village has seen a significant change in occupancy. Young families are purchasing older homes and restoring them to their original charm. This phenomenon has helped preserve many older residences in the village and has also resulted in increased awareness of their historic value.

The inventory in this chapter describes nearly all properties that have historic or cultural value. This inventory can be used in conjunction with Rhode Island Historic Preservation Commission's (RIHPC) report to make residents more aware of the development of Jamestown and its role in regional history.



f. Past Preservation Activity

Residents are proud of Jamestown’s historic resources, and along with the Jamestown Historical Society, have worked to conserve them. The Society has worked with RIHPC on a survey of historic places in Jamestown.

Past and current historic preservation activities in Jamestown include: establishment of the Windmill Hill Historic District, relocation of the Tiddeman Hull House, care of the Meeting House, maintenance of the lighthouse, efforts at Fort Wetherill, preservation of the waterfront at Union Street, and preservation and development of the Conanicut Battery historic site.

Past archeological activities have revolved around expansion of the Jamestown school and improvements to Route 138. More recent archeological activities include the reconstruction to Southwest Avenue where drainage improvements unearthed potential Native American artifacts. The Town has worked with RIHPC to conserve archeological resources and will continue to do so in the future. No activities on Town-owned properties will take place without consulting RIHPC.

Jamestown funds a housing rehabilitation loan program, available to low and moderate income homeowners. The Town has committed to RIHPC that work performed on historic structures will be in conformance with preservation standards.

Although past public consensus has not favored zoning the area as a local historic district, the idea is gaining popularity. In the 1998 Community Survey, 35 percent of those responding indicated that they would be in favor of creating historic districts on the Island; another 35 percent were not sure.

    1. Cultural and Historical Achievements Based Upon the 1991 Goals, Policies, Recommendations and Implementation Methods

This section lists the goals, policies, recommendations and implementation methods as stated in the 1991 Comprehensive Community Plan. The community achievements since 1991 follow the listing of the Recommendations and Implementation methods and describe what results or actions have occurred on each particular recommendation, and why it has or has not been implemented/successful.

1) Actively seek the inclusion of historic buildings and sites on the State and National Registers.

    1. Work with owners of historically significant property to encourage their application for National Register designation.
    2. Attempt to list all historically significant town-owned structures on National Register.

Jamestown does not have a Historical Commission to act as advocate of historical resources and has therefore not been proactive in the above listed areas. The Jamestown Historical Society is a private organization that is not funded by the Town and has its own mission.

2) Create a Jamestown Historical Commission to assist in the protection of the rural and historic village character of Jamestown.

    1. Commission should establish a Town List of historic structures and cultural resources utilizing but not limiting itself to the guidelines of the State Historical Preservation Commission. This list should include both natural and man-made elements that signify the rural character of Jamestown such as trees, open fields, stone walls and historic rights-of-way. Planning Commission and Building Official shall use the Town List during development review in making recommendations to property owners.
    2. Commission should target specific town owned historic structures for rehabilitation utilizing funds made available through the R.I. Historical Preservation Commission when possible.
    3. Commission shall advise in the creation of historical and architectural guidelines for a Site Plan Review Process by the Planning Commission for all commercial development.
    4. Commission shall promote public awareness of Jamestown's historic resources and its history by supporting existing community historic educational programs and encouraging additional programs within the Town's school system.

The Planning Commission should have discussions with the RIHPC on whether the creation of a Historic Commission would be beneficial to the Town and make any recommendations to the Town Council. The Jamestown Historical Society has worked with RIHPC on a survey of historic places in Jamestown. The Town has not created a Historical Commission, but has incorporated the Development Plan Review process into the Zoning Ordinance for all new or expanded commercial development that meet the criteria listed in the Ordinance.

3) Designate scenic corridors and historic areas where preservation of scenic views and historic areas or structures will be strongly encouraged by the Town.

    1. Endorse the creation of Historic Districts where appropriate.
    2. Identify scenic roads for state protection.
    3. Identify Historic Landscapes for state protection.

The Town has one historic district; the Windmill Historic District. As stated previously, creation of historic districts is gaining popularity as evidenced by the 35% positive response in the 1998 Community Survey.



1. Conservation and Open Space

With the termination of ferry services and construction of the Newport Bridge in 1969, the population increase from 1970 to 1980 doubled that of the previous decade. The 1990 US Census indicates that the Island ‘s population reached 4,999 persons, a 24 percent increase since 1980. Many summer homes have been converted to year-round residences, and new building permits for single family homes have averaged 25 – 35 per year for 1990-2000. House enlargement is a strong trend. The Building Office issued 52 building permits focused on enlarging existing homes in 1999.

The population increase over the past 20 years and the increased housing development has significantly reduced open space and put pressure on island resources, such as waterfront access areas. Recognizing the importance of protecting natural resources and open space areas from development, the Town has initiated an active conservation and land preservation program. The creation of the Conservation Commission in 1983 and the private Conanicut Island Land Trust (CILT) in 1984 illustrates Jamestown's concern for natural resource protection.

The Town is responsible for encouraging preservation of Jamestown’s open space, undeveloped lands and natural resource areas. To accomplish this, both private and public means can be utilized. By donating land for preservation, individuals can benefit significantly from tax reductions.

The Towns progressive preservation via the Conservation Commission, the Conanicut Island Land Trust (CILT), The State of Rhode Island, other private organizations, and private citizens’ participation have led to the temporary (821acres) and permanent (1,170 acres) protection of approximately 1991 acres of land on the Island (refer to PROTECTED AREAS Map). The Current Land Use table in the Land Use Element depicts this acreage within the permanently protected, the permanently protected farmland and the farm, forest and open space (FFOS) categories. The CILT calculates that an additional 85 acres are protected through conservation easements to private properties. Methods of protection include the purchase and donation of development rights to farmland and sensitive areas, the outright purchase of property with combined Town, State, and private funding, and the donation of conservation easements to the CILT or other preservation entities.

The Conservation Commission and the CILT have worked together over the past 15 years to do more than just protect our open spaces and important natural resources; they are committed to educating the community about the Island's natural resources and the importance of their protection. This community education and awareness program has played a key role in promoting support for open space protection methods and securing commitment of public funds for this purpose. Programs sponsored by both organizations include: annual CILT lecture and field trip series, annual bird walk and inventory, Earth Day beach cleanup, co-management of Conanicut Island Sanctuary, and the CILT'S Biennial Hey Day, which provides educational nature walks and environmental education.

In 1987, Town voters approved a local referendum to authorize bond funding not to exceed five million dollars for the purpose of purchasing and developing open space and recreational land; 89 percent of the voters supported this referendum. The bond funding authorized by this action has been used on one occasion to date, protecting 32 acres of land from development, the Conanicut Island Sanctuary. This funding has not been used since that purchase. In 1999, the voters authorized $100,000 for water resource protection, and the 2000 budget authorized $110,000 for natural resource protection.

The focus of the Town’s land preservation program over the past fifteen years has been on protection of the public drinking water watershed, farmland, salt marshes and the preservation of land on the Beavertail peninsula. The watershed is important, because over 55 percent of the Island's residents get their drinking water from this public water supply. In 1999 the Town purchased the Capozzi Property, which consisted of 9.8 acres of land for open space within the watershed area. Approximately 70 percent of the watershed area is permanently protected. Approximately 20 percent of the watershed consists of Watson Farm and is not considered permanently protected. Another seven percent of the watershed is temporarily protected in Farm, Forest and Open Space. The Town goal is to purchase the remaining undeveloped land that falls within this protective watershed and to permanently protect this land for the Town residents. The remaining five percent of the land is zoned RR-200, which requires a minimum development lot size of 200,000 square feet. Development plan review by the Planning Commission is also required for all development within this zone.

The preservation of farmland is important because of its relationship to the Island's agricultural heritage and the local economy. The protection of farmland is also essential to maintaining the Island's character and aesthetic quality. The decline in active farmland both locally and statewide has prompted strong support for farmland protection in Jamestown. Farmland has been permanently protected through State, Local, and non-profit land preservation programs as well as private contributions. Since 1990, 22.5 acres of farmland have been permanently protected, and therefore unavailable for future development. Farm protections include: the Godena Farm on North Road of 22.5 acres; Hodgkiss Farm of 43.5 acres, and; Watson Farm of 259 acres. The Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities currently preserves Watson Farm as such, but it is not an agency whose primary goal is land preservation.

Environmentally sensitive salt marshes are special natural resources protected for their habitat value. Protection methods include outright purchase, purchase by private conservation organizations, donations, and matching State and local grant funding. Important salt marshes that have been afforded permanent protection include Fox Hill salt marsh and Sheffield Cove salt marsh.



The Beavertail Peninsula has been another focus for land preservation activity. The peninsula is about 1,140 acres. Approximately 828 acres are protected, either permanently or temporarily, through the Farm, Forest, and Open Space Program (FFOS). Approximately another 10 percent are density limited by deed restriction.

There has been a trend to move land from the FFOS category to the permanently protected category, however there has been growth in the FFOS category where an additional 494 acres have been added to FFOS acreage within the past decade. The FFOS Program is available to property owners whose land meets standards set by the State for "farmland, forest, or open space" land. The benefit of this program is reduced tax valuation of the property resulting in a reduced tax assessment. This program, however, does not assure permanent protection.

It is important to note that preservation of open space land is not enough; the land must also be appropriately managed. Areas can lose their value as ecological habitats or recreational assets if they are not properly maintained and managed. It is essential that land management plans are prepared as part of any land preservation project. The Conanicut Island Land Trust has an active "Stewardship" program where a "Steward" is assigned to each property in which it has an interest. Management plans should include the individual or agency responsible for carrying out the plan. Cooperative efforts for land management should be made where possible, especially between State and Local governments.

Although the Island still has a significant amount of undeveloped open space, much of this land is privately owned and at risk for potential development. Areas that once served as informal play areas for young children have been developed into house lots. Property that once offered public access to the waterfront is now developed and public access to the shoreline cut off. Development has strained ground and surface water resources to their limits.

The buildout analysis conducted of the Town by the Planning Department in 2000 indicates that 1,128 acres of developable land are still on the Island. Developable land includes all privately owned property that is not prohibited from development due to environmental constraints or deed restriction. The buildout analysis assumes that environmental protection regulations and laws remain intact as they are today. This developable land is about 18 percent of the total land area of Jamestown and includes large tracts of farmland and wildlife habitats.

If the quality of life in Jamestown is to continue with a rural character, it will be important for the Town to increase the protection of the Island's natural resources, farmland, important open space areas, and plant and animal habitats from development.


a. Functions of Conservation Land and Open Space

Conservation land and open space areas provide a community with a variety of functions ranging from purely aesthetic to protection of public health. The Trust for Public Lands has conducted extensive research on the economic benefit of open space to communities. They determined that in the long run preservation of open space affords communities lower taxes. The Trust for Public Lands Massachusetts case study determined that Towns with the most land protection enjoyed, on average, the lowest property tax rates. This lower rate may be because they had less development, which requires roads, schools, sewer and water infrastructure, and other services. 68 percent of Jamestown’s 2000 budget is allocated to the schools, and 32 percent is allocated to general government. Numerous studies have shown that the single-family house is a financial burden for communities. In general, it costs more money to educate and provide public services to residences than they pay yearly in taxes. When land is permanently protected, it is taken off the tax rolls. However, that loss in revenue for the community is more than offset by the potential costs that the number of homes would have cost the community in services.

Although all land may have some characteristics that are important to protect, the protection of open space should be related to the function of the land and the goals of the community. Therefore, it is important to evaluate vacant land and to set water recharge and watersheds as first priorities for protection. The Conservation Commission is responsible for developing and maintaining the 1994 Recreation Conservation and Open Space Plan for Jamestown, which is in the process of being updated. This document was adopted by the Town Council to inventory those types of facilities and develop future needs for conservation and recreation. The policies and recommendations of this document are hereby incorporated into this Comprehensive Plan, as are any future updates to the document, which are adopted by the Town Council.

The Natural Resources Element of the Comprehensive Plan discusses the function of natural resources and the importance of their protection. The Island's unique waterfront of rocky cliffs, undeveloped beach areas, the Town’s water supply (two reservoirs and watershed), wetlands, unique salt marshes, fresh water marshes and open farmland all provide benefits to the community. These natural areas also provide ecological habitats for native plants and wildlife. Of great concern and priority for the community is the protection of resources that contribute to the public health and safety of our residents.

Due to public health implications and a limited water supply, resources such as ground water recharge areas, including wetlands, and public drinking water supplies must be given the highest priority for protection. Ground water recharge areas include wetlands throughout the Jamestown Shores neighborhoods and the north end of the Island (refer to HYDROLOGICALLY SENSITIVE AREAS Map). The Town watershed includes over 1,000 acres of land in the "Center Island District" (refer to HYDROLOGICALLY SENSITIVE AREAS Map). Although some protective measures are in place for these areas, including Federal, State, and Local regulations and ordinances, only outright purchase, purchase of development rights, or conservation easements will securely protect these areas permanently.

b. Inventory of Conservation and Open Space Land

The following is a narrative inventory from the 1994 Recreation, Conservation and Open Space Plan for Jamestown. Many of the properties serve a variety of functions, including resource protection, passive recreation, ecological habitats, and historical preservation. Further discussion of some of the sites will also appear in other sections of this plan.

Ownership of the properties is varied and includes Federal, State, Local, private non-profit agencies, and private individuals. Type of protection is also varied. The most common types of property protection are achieved by either fee simple ownership, purchase/donation of "development rights" which are the right to develop the property, or purchase/donation of conservation easements. A combination of these protection methods has also been employed for some properties. Public access is allowed to some areas and restricted from others. Although some Conservation Easements are discussed below, the Town does not have a complete listing of properties thatare partially protected conservation easements.

It is important to refer to the PROTECTED AREAS Map for an understanding and appreciation of the Town’s preservation methods. Many of the properties are contiguous and serve to create an open space corridor with linkages.

    1. Gould Island/Bay Island Park System

The southern portion of Gould Island, located in the East Passage of Narragansett Bay, is owned by the State and is part of the Bay Island’s Park System. The park system is 16.9 acres, and provides a habitat for wildlife and plants. The park is open to the public, although access is restricted to those who have a private means of water travel. The northern portion, owned by the Federal Government, has delapidated buildings planned for removal. The Town zoned this property Open Space Parks and Recreation.

2) Sunset Farm Conservation Easement

This area, located in the Jamestown Shores neighborhood, contains approximately 10 acres of wetlands that are part of the Sunset Farm subdivision. An easement was granted to the Conanicut Island Land Trust to limit the future use of this area and protect and conserve its natural state.


3) Hammond Pond

Located in the Jamestown Shores neighborhood bounded by Spirketing Street, Beacon Avenue, Garboard Street, and Stanchion Street, this pond and adjoining upland were donated to the Town of Jamestown and consist of approximately 5.5 acres. The property is designated for passive recreational use and wildlife habitat. Public access is allowed, although dense thickets prohibit most use. A small wayside park is on the Northern Border. The Eagle Scouts completed a project that enhanced and improved the area in 2000.

4) North Reservoir

This area contains a total of 114 adjacent acres of protected land within the watershed, and approximately 28 acres is a waterbody. The property is owned by the Town of Jamestown and is used for the Town’s drinking water supply. Jamestown has had an ongoing water supply protection program that includes efforts to purchase buffer areas around the North Reservoir. Due to the potential threat to the public drinking water supply, public access is not encouraged.

5) Cedar Hill Farm Conservation Easement

The conservation easement on this property is over the wetland area of six subdivided lots with frontage along North Road. The total area protected by the easement is approximately 28 acres and is located in the Jamestown Brook watershed. The Conanicut Island Land Trust holds the easement on this property and no public use is permitted.

6) Watson Farm

This property of 259 farmland acres is owned by the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities. The farm is not permanently protected. This working farm is open to the public in the summer. A small fee is charged for visitors. The Watson Farm dates back to 1796 and is symbolic of Jamestown’s agricultural heritage. A nature trail on the property has been developed in recent years.

7) South Pond Reservoir

The South Reservoir is owned by the Town and contains slightly over 25.26 acres of land and water area. The Pond serves as a back up to the main reservoir and public access is limited. The South Pond water is also being mixed with the North Pond water and the mixture can be treated and utilized by the Town. The Town has actively pursued purchase of buffer areas around the South Pond.

8) Hodgkiss Farm

This site is located on North Road and consists of 150 acres of which 5 acres are developed. The property is used as farmland and conservation land. Over one linear mile of shoreline is included in this area. The farm was protected through the purchase of development rights by a combined State, Local, and private non-profit effort in 1987. No public access is allowed to the privately owned portion of this property; however the Town and State owned portion of approximately 90 acres is open to the public on a limited basis.

9) Jamestown Windmill

The Jamestown Windmill, owned and operated by the Jamestown Historical Society, is located along North Road. The Windmill is a significant historic resource in Jamestown and is the focal point of the Windmill Hill Historic District. The Windmill is open to the public during weekends in the summer.

10) Friends Meeting House

The Friends Meeting House, acquired by the Jamestown Historical Society in 1999, is located along North Road. The Friends Meeting House is a significant historic resource in Jamestown and is located in the Jamestown Windmill Hill Historic District.

11) Great Creek

The area is composed of property owned by the State of Rhode Island and the Audubon Society of Rhode Island (Marsh Meadows Wildlife Area), the Town and a conservation easement held by the Conanicut Island Land Trust. The area, approximately 95 acres, is located on both sides of North Road and is a habitat for wildlife and rare plants. Use of the property is limited in some areas by marsh and other natural terrain.




12) Conanicut Island Sanctuary

The Conanicut Island Sanctuary, part of the Great Creek Complex, is located adjacent to the Marsh Meadows Audubon area. The sanctuary is owned by the Town of Jamestown and managed by the Conservation Commission and the Conanicut Island Land Trust. The area consists of a salt marsh, wooded swamp; fresh water wet meadow and upland woodlands, shrub/scrub and meadow areas. The sanctuary is managed for wildlife although public access is encouraged on a mile long trail system and a newly added wildlife observation platform. Cross-country skiing is also allowed. The State of Rhode Island holds a conservation easement on this property. The property contains approximately 33 acres.

13) Jamestown Estates II Conservation Easement

This conservation easement lies over seven house lots and consists of approximately 10 acres of wooded swamp and salt marsh. This wetland is part of the Great Creek Complex. The easement was negotiated as part of a land subdivision and is held by the Conanicut Island Land Trust.

14) Taylor Point Park

The Taylor Point Park is a Town-owned 25-acre rocky shoreline overlook area that was improved in Potters Cove in 1988 with assistance from State grant funds. It is located along Bay View Drive and Freebody Drive and is a popular place for swimming, fishing, picnicking, and diving.

15) Artillery Garden Cemetery

The cemetery, located on the corner of North Road and Narragansett Avenue, is just less than 1-acre in size and is owned by the Town. Primarily a historic cemetery, public access is allowed.

16) Shoreby Hill Green

Held for common use by lot owners of the First Subdivision of Shoreby Hill, this 1.3 acre parcel of land is located at the entrance to the Shoreby Hill subdivision along Conanicus Avenue opposite the East Ferry beach. Permission has been given upon application for a limited number of community activities.

17) Shoreby Hill Field

Owned and maintained by five adjacent Shoreby Hill property owners, this property consists of four acres located just west of the Shoreby Hill Green. The development rights to this property have been donated to the Conanicut Island Land Trust, and no public use is permitted.

18) Emmons Property

The Emmons Property is located on Walcott Avenue and is one acre in size. About one-half of the property contains a unique wetlands area. This property was donated to the Conanicut Island Land trust in 1985, the first year the Land Trust was organized. No public access is permitted to this property.

19) Racquet Road Audubon Thicket Site

This 19-acre wildlife habitat is located on Racquet Road in the Dumplings area of Jamestown. The area has 2 acres of salt marsh and is accessible with permission from the Audubon Society of Rhode Island.

20) Sheffield Cove Audubon Site

This important wildlife habitat is approximately 13 acres of salt marsh located on Beavertail Road across from Mackerel Cove. Owned by the Audubon Society of RI, the cove is open to the public with some restricted access areas.

21) Fort Wetherill State Park

This Park is a regional facility offering spectacular views of the entrance of Narragansett Bay and Newport Harbor. Activities include hiking, viewsites, fishing, boat launching, scuba diving and snorkeling. The 58-acre park also contains remains from old fortifications and there is ample parking. Restrooms are available. The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) began developing a fisheries laboratory in 3 historic buildings in 2000, in the east-end of the park.

22) Fox Hill Farm Area

The Fox Hill Farm is located along Fort Getty Road in Jamestown and is one of the few remaining working farms on the Island. The Nature Conservancy holds a conservation easement on this 61acre area that includes 1,200 feet of shoreline. Only the property owner is allowed to use this area.

    1. Fox Hill

Audubon Site

This is a salt marsh area of 32 acres owned by the Audubon Society that boarders the Fort Getty Town Park. Wildlife and rare plants can be found here. A permit from The Audubon Society of RI is required for the entry on to the premises and some areas are restricted to public access.

24) Dutch Island Bay Island Park

Dutch Island, located in the West Passage of the Bay, is owned by the Sate of RI and is 75 acres in size. The park is open to the public through independent transportation is necessary. An old lighthouse and old fortifications dating to the Civil War and the early 1900s still exists on the Island and is included on the National Register.

25) Fort Getty Park

Fort Getty Park is a Town-owned facility located at the terminus of Fort Getty Road and is 41 acres in size. Fort Getty is primarily a recreational vehicle that contains a campground and tenting area in the summer. The Park also has old fortifications, a rocky beach, and a public boat ramp and dock. The Kit Wright walking trail was completed along Fox Hill Marsh in the winter of 2000. In addition, the Boy Scouts constructed a wildlife observation platform that was funded by the Rotary Club in 2000. Views of the Jamestown Bridge and across the West Passage make this park one of the Town’s major recreational and open space resources. Fees are charged for non-resident parking and a sticker is needed for residents to enter in the summer season.

26) Conanicut Battery

The Conanicut Battery, formerly known as the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Memorial, is located on Battery Lane on Beavertail. The Town-owned area encompasses 22 acres and is primarily the historic site of a fortification. The Battery has various trails although they are not actively managed. The Friends of the Conanicut Battery organized in 1998, decided to actively manage the area, improve access, and interpret the history of the Conanicut Battery, and their effort is ongoing in 2001.

27) Lipincott Easement

The easement over this property is held by the Conanicut Island Land Trust and contains 20 acres encompassing 800 feet of shoreline. The use of this property is restricted to the property owners. Its location is just south if the Beavertail Farm and just north of Beavertail Park on the eastside of Beavertail Road.

28) Beavertail Farm Conservation Easement

The Beavertail Farm easement is held by the Nature Conservancy and consists of 23.25 acres of shoreline property. The use of this conservation easement is restricted to the property owners.

29) Beavertail State Park

One of the State's prime open space areas, Beavertail Park is located at the southern tip of Conanicut Island. The 183-acre park is a popular fishing and passive recreation area. The Beavertail Lighthouse and Lighthouse Museum are located at the southernmost point of the park and are manned by volunteers. The lighthouse is one of the few remaining in operation in the State. The old fog horn building has been converted to an aquarium building, which has a significant amount of summer visitors. A Park Naturalist is present during the summer months to conduct programs on the natural history of the area. Ample parking is available, and no fees apply.

30) Jamestown Shores, Heads Beach

This property was purchased through joint funding from the State Department of Environmental Management and the Town of Jamestown. This property is approximately three acres of shorefront. Approximately 1.7 acres comprise Head’s Beach. The Town Recreation Department is responsible for management of this property.

31) Commerce Oil Wetlands

This Town owned property, Plat 2 Lots 2, 3, 57 and 61, consists of approximately 35 acres along the east side of North Road located behind East Passage Estates.

32) Godena Farm

The Conanicut Island Land Trust holds a conservation easement on approximately 25 acres of active farmland. The property is located on the eastern side of North Road and the use of this area is restricted to the property owners.




33) 138 (The John Eldred Parkway) Wetlands

The RIDEM holds title to approximately 50 acres of wetlands that were purchased for the construction of the new Route 138, John Eldred Parkway in the early 1990’s. A conservation easement to the Town of Jamestown exists over the wetlands to prevent future development.

34) Mackerel Cove Beach

This is the Town’s major beach facility and is located on the sandy isthmus between the mainland of Jamestown and the Beavertail peninsula. It is open to the public. Season passes are sold to residents and daily passes are sold to non-residents. The facility includes seasonal lifeguards, parking facilities, and a lifeguard post.

35) Hull Cove/ Franklin Hollow

This is owned by the Conanicut Island land trust and there is no public access except by abutting Hull Cove rights-of-way.

36) Viera Farm

This 45-acre parcel stretching from North Road to East Shore Road. The Conanicut Island Land Trust acquired this property in 2000.

37) Ryng Property

The Conanicut Island Land Trust acquired this property in 2000 for its prime location within the public water supply watershed.

38) Capozzi

The Town, through a DEM Grant, Town funds and owner donations acquired this property. It is approximately 10 acres and is located on Eldred Avenue within the Town’s public drinking water watershed.

    1. Conservation and Open Space Achievements Based Upon the 1991 Goals, Policies, Recommendations and Implementation Methods

This section lists the goals, policies, recommendations and implementation methods as stated in the 1991 Comprehensive Community Plan. The community achievements since 1991 follow the listing of the Recommendations and Implementation methods and describe what results or actions have occurred on each particular recommendation, and why it has or has not been implemented/successful.

1) Continue to work with public and private land conservation organizations to preserve significant open space on the Island.

    1. Create a priority list of significant open space parcels for acquisition.
    2. Continue to seek DEM Open Space grants.
    3. Actively encourage private property owners of significant land parcels to donate land, conservation easements, or development rights to the Conanicut Island Land Trust or other appropriate agency.
    4. Amend subdivision regulations to require a donation of land or fee in lieu of land for conservation purposes when appropriate.
    5. Employ creative alternative types of open space such as the creation of an arboretum.

Many of the recommendations from the 1990 Comprehensive Plan have been

addressed. A priority list of significant open space parcels for acquisition can be found in the Recreation, Conservation and Open Space Plan and Open Space rights have been sought after from the Department of Environmental Management. Private property owners of significant land parcels have been mildly encouraged to donate land, conservation easements, or development rights to the Conanicut Island Land Trust or other appropriate agency. Subdivision regulations now require a donation of land or fee in lieu of land for conservation and recreation purposes for all subdivisions. There has not been much support for employing creative alternative types of open space such as the creation of an arboretum.

2) Create a greenway trail system linking significant natural areas.

    1. Perform a detailed greenway feasibility development plan.
    2. Review all subdivision proposals to encourage development, which will be conducive to potential greenway systems.

The Conanicut Island Land Trust in cooperation with the Jamestown Conservation Commission have jointly proposed the Conanicut Island Greenway which links open space areas from the North Pond Reservoir to the Golf Course. Funding for this greenway was attempted, but the project was not listed in 1999 in the State Transportation Improvement Program.

3) Encourage public access where appropriate to Town owned open space areas and shoreline access points.

    1. Provide the public with informational guides of these areas.
    2. Continue Conservation Commission and Conanicut Island Land Trust sponsored walks and tours of open space areas.

Public access to Town-owned open space areas and shoreline access is also encouraged where appropriate through sponsored walks and tours.

  1. Agriculture

    1. History of Agriculture

Agriculture has been the mainstay of Jamestown's economy from its initial settlement through the 19th century. During Jamestown's settlement in the 17th century, the colonists cultivated Native American crops such as corn, peas, beans and pumpkins. The colonists subsisted on a commercial agriculture economy and pastoral grazing of livestock. It has been reported that Jamestown was dubbed the "Garden of New England" in 1690. Through the 18th century, agriculture and grazing continued to be Jamestown's source of economic well-being. Cattle and sheep herding was a major industry into the 19th century.

The Industrial Revolution of the 19th century that swept through most of New England bypassed Jamestown, which continued to maintain an agricultural economy. In 1850, Conanicut Island consisted of 5,513 acres of farmland and 45 farms ranging in size up to 350 acres.

    1. Current Agriculture

Although over 70 percent of Conanicut Island has prime farmland soils, today only six working farms remain on the Island. This active farmland has been important in maintaining the rural character of Conanicut Island. These farms produce: Christmas trees, hay, alfalfa, pasture, sudan grass, melons, raspberries, sweet corn, silage corn, pumpkins, squash, mixed vegetables, bedding plants, herbs, sheep, beef cattle, horses, goats and dairy cows. Some farms have been abandoned and remain as open fields or have reverted back to their natural wooded state and others are now the sites of new subdivisions.

A small number of residents who reside on one- and two-acre lots have undertaken or maintained farming activity on their property. This activity consists of the keeping of a few animals usually sheep, goats, chickens, or haying of small fields. This type of farming activity helps to support the local agricultural economy.

Of the Island’s total of 508 acres of farmland, 13 percent is permanently protected from development. This protected land is owned by various groups, including the State of Rhode Island, the Town of Jamestown and by private land preservation organizations, such as the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities, the Audubon Society and the Nature Conservancy. In some areas, the RI Farmland Commission purchased the development rights of these properties to protect from subdivision. The purchase of development rights has commonly been used to help in retaining active farmland. In addition to the permanently protected land, over 800 more acres of undeveloped privately owned land are temporarily protected under the Farm, Forest, Open Space Act that encourages the maintenance of Rhode Island’s agricultural and forested land (see PROTECTED AREAS Map). The Farm, Forest and Open Space Act has eased the tax burden of farmers by providing a tax reduction to those farms which qualify based upon size and production.

There is strong community support for maintaining the Island's agricultural heritage. It is important that farming remain productive in Jamestown, not only for the economic benefit, but also as a significant contribution to our community's character.

    1. Agriculture Achievements Based Upon the 1991 Goals, Policies, Recommendations and Implementation Methods

This section lists the goals, policies, recommendations and implementation methods as stated in the 1991 Comprehensive Community Plan. The community achievements since 1991 follow the listing of the Recommendations and Implementation methods and describe what results or actions have occurred on each particular recommendation, and why it has or has not been implemented/successful.

1. Use creative techniques for the long term protection and preservation of working landscapes.

    1. Continue to work with the State of RI and non-profit conservation agencies in the purchase of development rights of prime farmland.
    2. Institute a use based tax system for all farmland properties that meet certain criteria.
    3. Create an agricultural zoning district that would prohibit intense development and encourage the use of clustering of any development on or adjacent to farmland.
    4. Actively encourage participation in Farm, Forest, and Open Space Act by contacting appropriate landowners with information.
    5. Identify Historic Landscapes and begin long term protection strategies for these areas.

The Town has always sought opportunities and joint ventures with the State of Rhode Island for preservation of farmland, and the Hodgkiss Farm is a good example. The Conanicut Island Land Trust obtained the development rights for Godena Farm. The State recently overhauled the Farm Forest and Open Space program, which is implemented at the local level. The recent changes of the Farm Forest and Open Space program include changing the tax rate structure to a use based tax system that is uniform for the State. The Town attempted to create an agriculture-zoning district after the last Comprehensive Plan. This attempt was met with severe opposition from the agricultural community and was not pursued.

3. Recreation

Recreational activities are extremely important for all elements of the society. Development of confidence, social skills and cooperation among participants are some of the benefits derived from involvement with recreation opportunities. In a changing, highly technical and stressful society, recreational activities assist in the relief of stress and the promotion of health. Exposure to alternative forms of recreation such as theatre, music, crafts, and art provides holistic development.

The primary responsibility for providing recreational programs and facilities lies with local communities. Assuming this responsibility of providing recreational services, the Jamestown community has always placed an emphasis on the importance of recreation programs and facilities for all residents. Jamestown's high participation rate, accessibility, varied programs and activities, and considerable volunteerism all support the success of the Towns recreation programs.

a. Trends in Recreation

During the past decade, there has been an increasing demand for recreational programs both nationally and locally. Factors identified that have created the additional demand are population increase, the increased amount of leisure time, the rising standard of living, and the increased mobility of the population.

Other changes can also be seen in the organization and operation of recreation programs. Recently in Jamestown, there has been a move toward more independently run recreation programs and activities. As the population has increased and more volunteers have become involved in recreation activities, independent associations are more involved in the decision making and coordination of recreational programs. These programs share Town facilities at the school fields, and the Jamestown Recreation Department participates in their organization and scheduling of their activities.

Other groups, such as the Jamestown Youth Organization, the Substance Abuse Prevention Task Force, the Boy and Girl Scouts, the Rotary Club of Jamestown, Knights of Columbus, Junior Women’s Club, Boys and Girl Scouts, Fraternal Order of Police, the Jamestown Theatre Company and many other organizations have taken an active interest in creating alternative leisure activities for youth groups. These volunteer groups have also offered financial assistance to the Town’s Recreation Department to sponsor existing programs to create alternative recreation opportunities. These various organizations have sponsored a round-the-Island kayak race, a bike race, and several foot races each year. Independence Day fireworks are organized privately and paid for with donations. The Jamestown Yacht Club and the Conanicut Island Yacht Club hold sailing races. Fishing is a popular form of individual recreation at Beavertail, Park Dock and Taylor Point. Design and construction of the Towns community playground was accomplished by a group of volunteers.

b. Goals of the Recreation Department

The philosophy of the Recreation Department is to provide opportunities for all people to participate in recreation. Future goals of the department include increased access to alternative recreational activities such as the arts and cultural programs, and linkage of recreational areas through linear walkways and bikeways. The Recreation Department would like to see an increase in maintenance capabilities as well as improvements to the existing inventory of recreational facilities, development of additional recreational facilities, increased volunteerism and additional out-of-town recreational programming.

    1. Recreation Facility Improvement, Development, and Acquisition Methods

Methods for improving, developing and acquiring recreation facilities and equipment have been varied. The Town of Jamestown, through Town government finance funds or school department funds, has participated in the funding of most of the existing recreation resources. Where possible, the Town has also taken advantage of surplus Federal and State properties for other recreation resources. With respect to the administration of recreational programs the cost has been entirely born by the Town except in recreational programs under the jurisdiction of the Jamestown School Department. The Parks and Recreation Department accomplish general maintenance of the facilities and equipment.

Combining various funding and labor sources accomplish major maintenance and capital development to facilities. In the past, the Town has worked successfully by combining their resources with State funds and those of volunteer groups. Major upgrading and facility development at the playfields at the Jamestown School, the construction of the community playground, and the construction of a public dock at East Ferry have all been accomplished with combined Town, State, and volunteer resources.

Bond funding can be utilized for major capital expenditures. In 1987, the voters of the Town of Jamestown approved a $5 million bond referendum for the acquisition of open space and recreation property and the development of recreational facilities. To date, none of these funds have been utilized for the acquisition or development of land for active recreational facility development.

The 1991 Comprehensive Plan stated that "A potential source for recreation land acquisition and development funds is an exaction from developers. This method would require developers to donate land for recreation purposes or a fee in lieu of land at the time of subdivision of land". The subdivision regulations adopted December 20, 1995 contain this requirement, and state: "If payments in lieu of land dedication are required, they must be kept in a restricted account and shall only be spent for the intended purpose of providing park and/or recreation facilities." As of December 1999, no land had been dedicated; however, approximately $45,000 in payments in lieu of dedicated land had been collected under this provision and placed in an account for the future acquisition of park and recreation land.

d. Classification of Recreational Facilities

To inventory and analyze the future need for recreational facilities; it is necessary to divide Jamestown's recreation areas into a classification system. The classification system discussed below has been developed for the Town of Jamestown and is based upon current use.

MINI PARK: Recreation area that is usually located within heavily populated neighborhoods. Contains benches and other facilities for quiet relaxation and may contain playground equipment for young tots.

PLAYGROUND: Active neighborhood play area for recreation needs of the 5- to 12-year age group. The playground is the chief center of outdoor play for children and in most instances, they are developed in conjunction with neighborhood schools. Features include: apparatus areas; field area for games and informal play activities; passives areas; and areas for court games.

PLAYFIELD: Active recreation area that usually serves more than one neighborhood and provides for varied forms of activities for young people and adults. A portion of the playfields is usually developed as an athletic field for highly organized team sports. Features of the playfields include: area for court games, including tennis, volleyball, basketball; sports fields for men and women for games such as softball, baseball, soccer and football; and areas including picnic areas. They may also include a field house, running track and outdoor swimming pool.

COMMUNITY PARK: Generally considered are large areas of diverse environmental quality. Many include areas for intense recreational activities as well as natural areas for passive recreation. These parks are generally 25 acres or more and service the entire community.

REGIONAL PARK: Large natural area for passive recreational activities such as hiking, swimming, camping, fishing. This type of park serves several communities and may contain play areas.

REGIONAL PARK RESERVE: Large natural area used primarily for passive recreational activities, such as hiking, swimming, camping, fishing. This type of park serves several communities and may contain play areas.

CONSERVATION AREA: A specific area in which unique natural resources of a community are located. These areas are protected for their ecological importance but may provide passive recreational opportunities. A conservation area also include lots in the Jamestown Shores area that are generally prime groundwater recharge areas, and include the protected area at Shorby Hill Green and the ponds in East Passage and West Reach Estates.

SPECIAL AREA: Areas developed for a special use such as a municipal beach, golf course, or water-related use.

e. Standards for Recreational Facilities



MINI PARK < ¼ MI. 1 AC. OR LESS .25 - .5

PLAYGROUND ¼ MI. – 11 MI. 1 – 2 AC. 1

PLAYFIELD ¼ - 4.5 MI. 15+ AC. 2 - 4













USE EXISTING 1990 2000


(Acres) (Acres) (Acres)

MINI PARKS 4 1.25 – 2.5 1.38 - 2.75 2 - 4

PLAYGROUNDS .75 5 5.5 8.3

PLAYFIELDS 8.5 10 - 20 11 - 22 16.6 - 33.3

COMMUNITY 41 25 - 40 27.5 - 44 42 - 66.5


REGIONAL 81 25 - 50 27.5 - 55 41.5 - 83









N/A = NOT APPLICABLE – No standard applies to these types of recreational facilities.




f. Recreation Facilities and Programs

Today, the Town offers a substantial number of varied opportunities to the Jamestown resident through its Department of Parks and Recreation. Some of these recreational opportunities are passive and some are active.

Passive activities can usually be done alone and include hiking, birding, orienteering, and fishing. Active recreation can be defined as an activity that includes the use of facilities and is usually done by more than one person. Active recreation includes baseball, basketball, volleyball, soccer, swimming, running, etc. Some of the facilities serve both active and passive recreational needs.

g. Inventory of Recreation Facilities and Programs

Today, the Town offers a substantial number of varied opportunities to the Jamestown resident through its Department of Parks and Recreation. Some of these recreational opportunities are active and some are passive. The following is a partial listing of the recreational facilities:

1) Pemberton Mini-Park

The Pemberton mini-park is a small landscaped area with a sitting bench. It is primarily used as a rest area for senior residents.

2) East Ferry Mini-Park and Beach

The East Ferry mini-park is located at the eastern most terminus of Narragansett Avenue and is a popular boating, fishing and viewing area. There is a veteran war memorial, a sandy bench and a grassed lawn area at this facility.

3) Jamestown Shores Beach

Special Use Area – The Jamestown Shores Beach, also known as Head’s Beach, is located along Seaside Drive in the Jamestown Shores neighborhood north of Eldred Avenue. The three-acre beach has great public access for swimming, fishing, neighborhood picnics, boat launching and field activities.

4) Jamestown School Multi-Purpose Recreation Area – Playfield

The Jamestown School Recreation Area is located in the block between Lawn Avenue, Arnold Avenue, Attson Avenue and Melrose Avenue. The entire land parcel is 21 acres including the schools and parking areas. The actual fields, courts and other outdoor open play areas occupy approximately 6.3 acres. The Recreation Department also utilizes the school gymnasium for activities and programs.

Indoor activities that take place in the school gym include community and children’s theatre, youth and adult basketball, adult volleyball, youth dances, music programs, indoor soccer, aerobics classes, and special events. The cooperation between the School and Recreation Departments is essential to the continued success of these programs. Scheduling for any indoor recreation event in the gymnasium requires permission of the Recreation and School Departments.

Outdoor activities which take place at the school are: tennis, softball, baseball, soccer, volleyball, golf, summer playground, track and field activities, outdoor basketball, summer sports camp, and other passive activities such as picnicking. Although the outdoor facilities at the school are open to the public at all times, the Recreation Department and School Department programs take precedence over other uses. Both the baseball and soccer programs use the same field space, rotating the activity according to the season. Outdoor recreational facilities available at the school are as follows:

    1. Baseball Fields – 1 little league field, 1 lighted softball field, 1 minor league Babe Ruth field, 1 minor league grass field. These fields are used during the months of March through October.
    2. Soccer – 1 full size soccer field, 5 small side fields, and 2 tiny tot fields.
    3. Mini-Park picnic area, 2 bleachers, 4 benches, 1 lighted softball field.
    4. Concession building with storage space and 2 restrooms (men and women).
    5. 6 tennis courts with fencing and one bench.
    6. 2 full size basketball courts.
    7. Playground Area with swings, a slide, climbers and handicapped accessible play areas.

5) John Eldred Recreation Area

Former Federal Highway Administration property deeded to the Town by Rhode Island Department of Transportation in 1994, with certain restrictions, as part of the negotiations during construction of the Cross-Island Connector Road, now known as the John Eldred Parkway. The approximately eight-acre parcel consists of four acres of active recreation with one full size and one youth size soccer field, and roughly four acres of wooded open space. Deed restrictions on the property prevent any further development and specifically prevent the temporary or permanent installation of athletic field amenities, such as bleachers, restroom facilities, concession, and digging of a well for irrigation/watering. Despite the restrictions, the field has been useful for spring and summer soccer leagues, relieving the overcrowded and unsafe situation at the school fields, and providing better field maintenance opportunities.



6) Jamestown Community Playground

The Community Playground is located on a one-half acre site on North Road adjacent to the Philomenian Library. Community volunteers constructed the playground in 1990 with local fundraising, grants, and donated materials. The playground, which was designed with assistance from school children, offers a wide range of equipment including swings, corkscrew slides, a ship climber, a trolley, and handicapped accessible play areas and equipment, but lacks a bathroom. Recycled plastic was utilized whenever possible for construction. The playground is open to the pubic daily between dawn and 9 p.m.

7) Jamestown Golf Course and Country Club

Special Use Area – Though privately leased, the75-acre golf course and country club has been owned by the Town of Jamestown since 1987. The Jamestown Golf Course is a nine-hole course, and fees apply to both residents and non-residents. This property abuts the Town-owned Conanicut Island Sanctuary. Special events and fundraisers are also held at this facility.

8) Taylor Point Park

Regional Park – Taylor Point Park is a 25-acre overlook area developed by the Town in 1988 with assistance from State grant funds. It is located along Bay View Drive and is a popular place for picnicking, swimming, fishing, and calming. Potter Cove, located at the Taylor Point Park site is an ideal spot for sailboarding.

9) Fort Getty Recreation Area

Community Park – Fort Getty Recreation area is a Town owned multi-purpose recreational area. The park encompasses 41 acres overlooking the west passage and Dutch Island. The park includes a campground with 105 RV sites with water and electric hookups (no sewer) and 15 tent sites. There is currently a three-year waiting list for camping sites. There are two large open air pavilion with charcoal pit and tables for up to 200 people, a boat ramp, dock, boat outhauls, Kit Wright Nature Trail around the Fox Hill Marsh area, Wildlife Observation Platform, rocky beaches and several picnic areas. Seasonal fees for camping and daily parking, from May to October, provide a major source of revenue to the Town. For a nominal fee residents can purchase a recreation permit for admittance to the park as well as to the Town Beach. The Town developed the Ft. Getty Master Plan in 1991 (see FT. GETTY MASTER PLAN Map).

10) Mackerel Cove

Special Use area – Mackerel Cove is a Town Beach maintained and guarded by the Town of Jamestown during the months of June, July and August. The beach is a family beach with a shallow sandbar area approximately 150 yards out from shore. The waves vary in size but on most days they are manageable for all ages. The beach area is approximately one acre and the beach offers swimming and sunbathing. During off-hours many sport-fishermen use the beach. Daily parking fees are charged for non-residents and Jamestown residents can purchase a recreation permit for $10. Public restrooms are available.

The Parks and Recreation Department utilizes other recreational facilities that are not located in Jamestown. These include: the North Kingstown High School Fields, Newport County YMCA, Boys and Girls Club of Newport and South County, Aquidneck Bowling Lanes, and the South County YMCA.

h. Water Related Recreational Activities and Facilities

The Island’s location in the Narragansett Bay provides for an exceptional environment for water related recreational activities. Popular activities include swimming, boating, and fishing. Waterfront facilities on Conanicut Island are an important part of the Towns recreation and economic resources; therefore, the management and maintenance of these facilities must remain a priority for the community.

The Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) sets policies, rules and regulations for the preservation, protection, development, and restoration of the State’s coastline. Regulations of CRMC require waterfront communities to prepare and adopt Harbor Management Ordinances and create commissions to regulate activities within their waters.

In 1990, the Town adopted its first Harbor Management Ordinance consistent with State guidelines. The Harbor Management Ordinance regulates uses and activities within the waters of Jamestown. Among the goals of the Ordinance is to "maintain and improve public access to the waters of the Town of Jamestown for the benefit of all user groups, including those without boats who seek to use the Town waters for passive and active recreation." As stated here, it is important for all residents of Jamestown to have access to the waterfront and the opportunity to participate in water related recreational activities.

Public access points range from neighborhood rights-of-way to larger parks with facilities (see Public Shoreline Access section within Natural and Cultural Resources Chapter ID for more information.) Moorings are allowed in the riparian areas of all public rights-of-way. As pressure for moorings increase Town wide, the pressure to expand the mooring fields of the smaller rights-of-way also increases. Mushrooming, or expansion beyond the riparian area, of neighborhood mooring fields, is occurring around the Island. This practice should be curtailed and neighborhood mooring fields should remain as such due to the non-existent land side facilities in these areas. Expansion of mooring fields should be limited to areas where there are adequate landside facilities.

Under the Harbor Management Ordinance, the Commission is responsible for waterfront improvements, mooring placement and permits.

Both the East and West Ferry areas of Jamestown have experienced an increase in boating activity. Some recent and upcoming major waterfront improvements include repairs to the bulkhead and a pump out facility at the West Ferry, and the installation of a touch-and-go float at the Towns pier at East Ferry. Outhauls have been introduced at Fort Getty and West Ferry. Island-wide private residential dockage and mooring facilities have also increased.

All activities taking place within 200 feet of any coastal feature are required to receive an assent from the CRMC prior to commencement. In addition, permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the RIDEM’s Water Resources Division may be required for some projects.

    1. Recreation Achievements Based Upon the 1991 Goals, Policies, Recommendations and Implementation Methods

This section lists the goals, policies, recommendations and implementation methods as stated in the 1991 Comprehensive Community Plan. The community achievements since 1991 follow the listing of the Recommendations and Implementation methods and describe what results or actions have occurred on each particular recommendation, and why it has or has not been implemented/successful.

1) Maintain and improve the Recreation Center.

    1. Increase yearly operating budget for building maintenance and follow an annual maintenance plan.
    2. Use capital development funding for a phased improvement program.
    3. Seek DEM Recreation Grants combined with Town funding for improvements.

Combined Town funding and Community Theatre proceeds allowed for renovation work at the Community Center. Renovations between 1993-1999 included an exit emergency lighting system, hard wire smoke and fire detection system, additional electric upgrades and insulation and a handicap access ramp.

2) Maintain and improve existing recreational facilities at the Jamestown School including upgrading of ball fields, upper tennis courts, and installation of lighting system.

    1. Use of capital development funding for a phased improvement program.
    2. Actively seek DEM recreation grants combined with Town funding.
    3. Maintain user fees for certain recreational activities.
    4. Continue to utilize volunteer and fundraising efforts.

DEM Recreation Acquisition, Development Grants and matching Town funding allowed for the completion of new softball field lighting, handicap accessible restroom renovations, a safety fence along Lawn Avenue, graded parking area and stone pathways. The proposed tennis court lighting was blocked as a result of the Native American archeology. Irrigation at the Jamestown Golf Course was also completed with permits to use treated effluent from the sewer treatment plant.

3) Create a bicycle route linking recreation, scenic, and cultural areas.

    1. Work with the R.I. Department of Transportation to create bicycle lanes as part of State road upgrades.
    2. Where appropriate, include the provision of a bicycle lane as part of Town road upgrades.
    3. Where appropriate, require the provision of a bicycle lane as part of subdivision proposals.

No bicycle route has been added linking recreation, scenic and cultural areas. The proposed Conanicut Island Greenway links the North Pond Reservoir to the Conanicut Island Sanctuary.

4) Expand available passive and active recreational facilities to accommodate the growing population in the North End and elsewhere on the Island.

    1. Review property for potential active recreation opportunities including possible land swaps with Town owned land.
    2. Research and target specific land parcels for acquisition.
    3. Seek DEM Recreation Acquisition and Development grants combined with Town funding.
    4. Amend the subdivision regulations to require a donation of land or fee in lieu of land for recreation purposes when appropriate.

Over half of the school-aged children live within the north end of Jamestown, and to accommodate these students, two new recreational facilities are being built in the northern end. As previously stated, within the eight-acre parcel comprising the Eldred Avenue facility are four acres of soccer fields. Other proposed recreational activities including baseball and softball fields were not met with approval from local residents. The four remaining acres will contain wooded walking paths. A Jamestown Eagle Scout project, constructed by the Boy Scouts, Troop 1 Jamestown, created a mini park at Hammond Pond and this project consisted of installing a fence, park bench, and gravel parking area.

5) Provide for increased resident use of Fort Getty Park.

    1. Prepare an overall plan for improvements and potential new uses.
    2. Schedule additional Town activities at the park.
    3. Seek DEM Recreation Development Grants combined with Town funding.
    4. Utilize volunteer and fundraising efforts for improvements.

To provide for increased resident use, the Kit Wright Nature Trail was created by the Boy Scouts and has been adopted by the Youth Litter Corp’s for trail maintenance with respect to litter. In addition, the Boy Scouts constructed a platform to view the wildlife, without disturbing the marsh habitat. The Jamestown Rotary funded both projects. The Recreation Department and the Harbor Commission are in the process of further developing the dock and boat area at Fort Getty. (see the attached FORT GETTY Map for layout).


1. Jamestown’s Economy Since the 1970s

Jamestown historically has had a slow growing seasonal economy with commercial and agricultural development. To understand Jamestown’s economy it is beneficial to return to the 1970s, when the Island saw its last slump. The examination of commerce in the 1970s indicates a moderate to low level of activity. Similar to the present, the majority of local businesses served local needs, with no businesses in Town devoted to general merchandise, furniture, apparel or accessories. The greatest proportion of sales and service activity was in retail sales, and primarily consisted of grocery stores, restaurants and gasoline service stations.

In the 1970s, family income and employment figures showed that the Island was primarily a moderate-income, blue-collar community and 20 percent of the working population being employed in Jamestown. Jamestown’s main industry was home construction. The fiscal impact analysis for a typical single-family home in a residential subdivision in 1978 represented a financial loss to the Town, due to the net cost of services required for a single family home. Similarly, today, as indicated by the 1998 Community Survey, nearly 24 percent of the working population is employed in Jamestown. Residents therefore are still heavily dependent upon off-island employment for family income.

As a small community, Jamestown appeared to have limited economic self-reliance in the 1970s, and the outlook for new tax-generating business and industry was low. Many communities within Rhode Island, and other states, were actively seeking new economic development, and had more to offer than Jamestown.

2. Jamestown’s Economy Today

Jamestown’s economy is confined by its island geography, small land mass, finite commercially zoned property, high land costs, relatively small population and close proximity and easy transportation access to regional shopping areas. At the same time, its easy transportation access offers greater off-island employment opportunities for residents of Jamestown. In both the 1990 and 1998 Planning Commission community surveys, a majority of respondents, 87 percent and 76 percent respectively, indicated that they were satisfied with the goods and services available in Jamestown.

In recent years, the main components of the economy have been businesses catering to residents and visitors to the Island including recreation and leisure, boating, marine services, retail, restaurants, home based businesses and other services. All Jamestown businesses are "small" according to US Department of Housing and Urban Development standards, where the threshold is 500 employees. Similarly, the State of Rhode Island recognizes 99 percent of its businesses to be "small" by the same standards. The Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation (EDC) lists the largest private industry employment sector in Jamestown as the service industry, accounting for

44 percent of private industry employment. Retail trade is the second largest, containing 25 percent of private industry employment. The Town of Jamestown is the largest single employer on the Island, with 100 municipal employees and 200 school department employees. The average business in Jamestown employs four persons.

The summer season boosts Jamestown’s economy and benefits many local service and retail businesses. The restaurant and marine trades are two prominent examples. The Bay Voyage Restaurant increases from 25 to 40 employees in the summer and Conanicut Marine Services increases their year round staff of 25 to 30 during the summer season. By EDC estimates, excluding the fishing industry, the marine trades in Jamestown employ 70 persons.

Commercial businesses accounted for less than five percent of the Town’s tax base in 1999. According to Town tax records, the number of businesses increased 86 percent between 1990 and 1999 (from 108 to 201). This figure includes commercial properties and condominiums, and mixed-use structures with both business and residential units. This increase does not include home businesses, which are hard to enumerate. The Jamestown Chamber of Commerce, however, has estimated that there are at least 30 home businesses in Town and 55 residents who work from home.

EDC data indicate that private industry employment and gross retail sales have grown between 1988 and 1998. The increases are 507 employees to 808 employees, and $22,196,000 to $31,501,000 (1997) in gross retail sales. The largest employment growth between 1990 and 1998 occurred in service industries, with an additional 191 jobs added, followed by 66 jobs in retail trade. Although Jamestown has no industrial or manufacturing zoning category, EDC data states that Jamestown has 86 jobs in manufacturing. Such companies as Anacko Cordage Company (produces cordage for the commercial fishery and pleasure craft industry), HV Holland Inc., Jamestown Press Company, and the Chemical Company are listed in this category.

A number of factors have contributed to the development and success of the downtown commercial district in the past ten years. Access to the Island has improved with the completion of the Jamestown-Verrazanno Bridge in 1992 and the John Eldred Parkway in 1994, which connected the two bridges. The Chamber of Commerce, working with volunteers, provided signage to help direct visitors from the limited access highway to the village commercial district. In addition, the State and National economies have improved, providing visitors and residents with more income to spend locally.

Along with the resurgence of downtown commerce, various Town and private projects have been introduced to revitalize the appearance of the downtown commercial districts. In 1995, the Town Council enacted a Development Plan Review procedure as part of the Zoning Ordinance. This requires the Planner or full Planning Commission to review all development and most changes to existing properties within the commercial districts. The standards address site and architectural design, with the goal of preserving the unique character of the downtown, without undue conformity. Two tree pruning and planting projects (1995 and 1999) have been undertaken, one with a grant and the second with the cooperative efforts of the Town Public Works Department, Narragansett Electric and volunteers. Downtown businesses are encouraged to improve the appearance of the area through the Garden Club’s annual contest. A project is currently underway through a 1995 RI Department of Transportation, Transportation Improvement Program grant, to improve and renovate the streetscape of the eastern end of Narragansett Avenue, with new lighting, sidewalks, benches and plantings.

Fewer vacancies in commercial buildings have occurred over the last decade with the sprouting of many new businesses including Peking Garden, Custom Plumbing, R & R Gallery, Rum Runner Shipping Co., etc. Many other buildings have converted from residential to commercial use including Take Time Café, Consistent Care, Reid’s Remodeling, and Ocean State Scuba, to name a few. Another trend is the expansion of businesses, such as Trattoria Simpatico, Conanicut Marine Services and McQuade’s Market.

The East Ferry waterfront has also undergone improvement over the past ten years. Two veterans’ groups raised funds to completely renovate Veterans’ Memorial Square, adding a granite monument and flagpole. The Harbor Management Commission in conjunction with the Town has undertaken the renovation of the East Ferry waterfront as well. This project added new concrete sidewalks, refurbished railings along the waterfront and new bulkheading to protect the wharf. The Town has also replaced benches, lighting and trash receptacles in the area.

Numerous steps have been taken to address the CD parking needs. The former ferry maintenance garage on Narragansett Avenue was removed to create a 17-vehicle lot that is heavily used. Subsequently, hours for public on street parking were adjusted. In 1993, the Town Council passed a zoning amendment to allow Seasonal Off-Site Marina Parking in CD and CL by right and in R-20 and R-40 by Special Use Permit. Only the East Ferry Marina applied; 50 spaces were granted with conditions intended to minimize negative impacts upon residential abutters. After further studies a 1995 amendment provided for businesses to arrange for shared parking by legal agreement and has been used only once for a restaurant expansion. Since then the marina has doubled in size as well as provided a base for two passenger ferryboats, kayak rentals, sailboat charters and other businesses. Public and town debate continues on the originally proposed Ferry Parking Ordinance in 1997 and expanded in 1999 to include parking standards for businesses that use marina slips, dock space and/or moorings including ferries and related parking requirements. In addition, many CD businesses still face a need for parking variances to meet zoning requirements.

According to Jamestown’s 1998 Community Survey response, 28.3 percent of residents feel that the downtown area has a parking problem, and in response to the same question, an additional 52.5 percent feel that the problem exists only in the summer season. To accurately assess the present parking status in Jamestown, a comprehensive survey needs to be conducted as to whether private lots and spaces are being used. In addition to the four sample sites of the 1999 Planning Department Parking Survey -- Narragansett Avenue, Conanicus Avenue, Municipal lot and the Town Square -- the sample should include public spaces at the Ambulance Barn and private lots. The sample needs to assess parallel days and dates each month and a variety of special events. Special events such as the Art Association Show at the Recreation Center, Memorial Day Parade, Fourth of July weekend, and Ferry Days at Memorial Square have increased since the last comprehensive plan. Signage needs to be improved and provided, especially on the western portion of Narragansett Avenue. More eight-hour spaces and other timing changes may also need to be made.

The state and regional economies also affect Jamestown. For example, the proposed load center container port at Quonset-Davisville has heightened the awareness of Jamestowners to how Jamestown can be affected by regional economic initiatives. The 1998 Town Council-appointed Quonset-Davisville Liaison Committee has been keeping the Town Council informed on the proposals for this property and making recommendations when necessary. The three-tiered focus of the committee has been the container port, the growth of the industrial park and the future use of the airport. The Economic Development Corporation (EDC) plans to hire a consultant to complete the Quonset Davisville Port and Commerce Park Master Plan in the summer of 2001. The RI Airport Corporation will commence work on an airport systems plan, to include Quonset State Airport, starting in late summer 2001.

Table F-1

Business, Municipal Offices and Churches Operating Out Of Jamestown’s Commercial Areas

The following tables list all known businesses in the commercial districts of Jamestown. This information was compiled by the Planning Commission and is assumed to be accurate as of January 2001.

CD District


Baptist Church

St. Mark Church

St. Matthew's Church

Municipal Offices

Jamestown Historic Museum

Fire Department

Ambulance Barn

Town Hall

Planning Department

Harbor Office

Community Center

Jamestown Senior Center


Morneau and Murphy

Lauriston Parks, Esq.

Gloria Dahl, Esq.

Real Estate

Mansions and Manors


Country Estate

Century 21

Morgan Batty Realtors Ltd.

Meredith & Clark Inc.

Island Realty


Jamestown Press

Restaurant / Tavern

Theatre Family Restaurant

Peking Garden

Narragansett Cafe

House of Pizza

Chopmist Charlie’s

Oyster Bar

Schoolhouse Café


Trattoria Simpatico

East Ferry Deli

Spinnaker’s Café

Grocery Store

McQuade’s Market Place

Liquor Store

Jamestown Liquors


McQuade’s Laundromat


Ken’s Barber Shop

Gas Station Convenience / Car Wash

Extra Mart

Auto Service

Central Garage

Medical Service

K.E. Ganis D.P.M. Foot Specialist

Dr. Karl E. Slick Orthodontist

Jamestown Animal Clinic

Consistent Care Corp.

Dr. John Bush- Dentist

Pet Store

Paws and Claws – Pet Store

Pharmacy / Variety Store

Baker’s Pharmacy

Gift Shop


Jamestown Designs

R & R Gallery

The Conanicut


Jamestown Hardware

Builder/Construction Remodeling

Ocean State Builders

Reid’s Remodeling


Bayshore Apartments

Heating / Cooling

Custom Plumbing and Heating Co.

H.V. Holland Inc.


Fleet Bank

Bank of Newport

Pickup Dry Cleaners

Del Nero Dry Cleaning


Catherine Jamison Salon

Marine Services

Conanicut Marine Services

Jamestown Newport Ferry Co.


The Chemical Company

Rum Runners Shipping Co.

Environmental Packaging

ASC Scientific

Classic Woodworking

Bridges, Inc.






Child Day Care Center

Jamestown Early Learning Center

Someplace Special

Dive Shop

Ocean State Scuba

Hair Salons

Dimitri Studio

Auto Service

Auto Tech Import & Domestic

Quality Car Repair

Art’s Automotive

Real Estate

Stearns Farms Real Estate & Insurance


Pemberton Apartments

Jamestown Place

Telephone Company

Bell Atlantic


Rubbish Company

Island Rubbish

Convenience Store / Gas Station

Cumberland Farms

Marine Services

Conanicut Marine Service repair facility

Anacko Cordage Co.

Wholesale Window Business

Precision Glass and Mirror Company

Heating / Cooling

E.D. Viera Company



Builder/ Construction

M.F. Smith: Builder

Municipal/Government Offices



Jamestown Town Offices

Post Office

Florist / Garden Center

Secret Garden Jamestown

Medical Services

Family Practice

Video Store

Video Showcase


Page’s Liquors

Boatyard Operation

Clarke’s Marine


Conservation Agency



Boatyard Operation

Dutch Harbor Boat Yard, Inc.

Conanicut Marina




Bay View

3. Commercial Development and Zoning

The Town’s commercial area is located in the "downtown" or "village" area of the Island and consists of the Commercial Downtown (CD), Commercial Limited (CL), Commercial Waterfront (CW), and Downtown Mixed Use (DM) zoning districts (refer to DOWNTOWN VILLAGE maps). Within the village area, a strong town center is encouraged and the creep of commercialism outside of the village center is discouraged. In the 1990 survey, 87 percent of the respondents reported that they would not favor an increase in commercial zones.

Narragansett Avenue Pre 1938 Narragansett Avenue 2001

The Commercial Downtown (CD) district encompasses Narragansett Avenue from North Main Road to East Ferry for a total of 23 acres. Total developable acreage includes unimproved land and property that may have a house or business on it, but has the potential to be further subdivided. The CD district has the ability to support five potential units on the 1.7 total undeveloped acres. Additional commercial units are possible through subdivision of larger lots and conversion of residences into commercial uses.

Most types of commercial and residential development are allowed in the CD district. Special Use Permits are required for some commercial activities, industrial non-manufacturing and recreation uses. Permitted commercial (excluding hotels/motels) uses do not require a minimum lot size and setbacks are minimal. The CD district is supported by town water and sewer services. The predominant land use in the CD district is commercial buildings, though many buildings accommodate mixed commercial and residential uses. Private individuals own approximately 70 percent of the property in this district, while the Town and religious institutions own approximately 15 percent each.

The Commercial Limited (CL) district runs along North Road and Southwest Avenue, from Arnold Avenue at the north to almost High Street at the south. The CL district contains 45 acres with 1.45 total undeveloped acres that would support seven potential units. The Commercial Limited district contains the most diverse land use in the community. Minimum lot size requirements vary from 8,000 square feet to ten acres, depending on the use. Most types of residential development are allowed and various commercial activities are permitted. Some industrial non-manufacturing and retail activities are allowed only by Special Use Permit.

The Downtown Mixed Use district is limited to a single 0.80 acre lot and is located at the eastern corner of the Commercial Downtown district, abutting Conanicus Avenue and Knowles Court. The Downtown Mixed Use district contains the Bay View condominium unit and is unable to support any additional units.

Bay View 1879 Bay View 2001

The Commercial Waterfront (CW) districts are located at both ends of Narragansett Avenue and include 2.5 acres with 0.93 total undeveloped acres. The majority of the land in this district is used for waterfront activities and is owned by the Town. Two lots are located in the CW district at "East Ferry" separated by the CD zone.

East Ferry 1898 East Ferry 2001



The Town owns one lot, which provides public access to the waterfront and includes a grassed area, a beach and a public boat ramp. The privately owned lot to the south contains a beach, which is used for small boat storage. The riparian area off of this lot contains a marina that was built in 1995, replacing the two ferry slips that were built in the late 1800’s.




A small portion of the East Ferry waterfront area is zoned CD. The public lot contains Veterans Memorial Square, two piers and parking while the privately owned lot contains a condominium building containing five retail/ office units. One pier and the riparian area in front of the lot are leased to a commercial marina operator. The marina operator also leases a second pier, which is sub-leased to commercial fishermen and has a floating dock for public use at its head.

The West Ferry Commercial Waterfront district consists of five parcels at the west-end of Narragansett Avenue. Three privately owned lots contain the Dutch Harbor Boat Yard. The fourth parcel is owned by the Town and consists of the pier that forms the terminus of Narragansett Avenue. The fifth parcel on the south side of Narragansett Avenue contains a single-family residence. The northern portion of the pier is leased to Dutch Harbor Boat Yard and is used for winter boat storage and summer parking. The southern face of the pier contains outhauls that are leased to a mix of commercial fishermen and private boaters. Dutch Harbor Boat Yard manages the Town’s outhauls in this area. Dutch Harbor contains 200 moorings, with a 50/50 mix of private/commercial. Dutch Harbor also contains a transient anchorage area. There are two town-owned floating docks. One provides a pump-out service and dingy storage. The other is a "touch and go" dock for transient boaters with a half-hour maximum tie-up allowed. A pump-out boat operated by Dutch Harbor Boat Yard will go into service in the summer of 2001 to service Dutch Island Harbor.






West Ferry Marina and Boat Yard

West Ferry1890 West Ferry 1920

Municipal and commercial development has encroached upon the R20 district at Taylor Point since the advent of the Newport Bridge Toll Plaza, Turnpike Authority Offices, Bridge Maintenance Building and the Town’s Sewage Treatment Plant. Pressure has increased with construction of the Town Police Station, expansion of a boat storage facility with seasonal parking, leasing of part of the town-owned facilities at the golf course to a sail manufacturing company, and conversion of an adjacent residence to a golf cart maintenance and storage facility. The Harbor Commission recently approved 20 new moorings at the north end of east harbor in the vicinity of the Newport Bridge. To date, no parking or water access for those moorings, nor what kind of impact upon the Taylor Point neighborhood, has been identified.

Limited overnight accommodations are available in Jamestown. Three permitted bed and breakfast establishments are on the Island, with two currently active. Two time-share condominium associations owned by Equivest Incorporated offer overnight accommodations, one with a restaurant on its premises, and both with swimming pools. The Town manages a seasonal campground at Fort Getty Park, with 105 sites for recreational vehicles and tents. Seventy-five of these sites are rented on a seasonal basis, often reserved year after year by the same parties. 30 sites are available on a night-by-night basis. Bed and breakfasts are permitted only in commercial districts; an amendment to expand their use into residential zones was rejected in 1996. Although 51 percent of respondents to the 1998 Community Survey indicated they were satisfied with the number of lodging rooms available in Jamestown, 41 percent felt that bed and breakfast use should be expanded into some residential zones.

Aside from the Taylor Point area, the community largely has succeeded in its stated policy to direct commercial development into existing commercial zones. Only a few grandfathered businesses remain in the residential zones; for example, the two boatyards in RR80 and the condominium operating as a hotel in R20. Some businesses, such as agriculture and fishing have been permitted in most zones for a long time. More recently aquaculture and marinas have been permitted by Special Use Permit. Customary home occupations, which have always been allowed everywhere, show some signs of increasing in importance to the local economy.


4. Summer Tourism and The Waterfront

Tourism boosts the Island’s economy in the summer months. The diverse activities that are available to visitors and residents are family-oriented. Community assets significant to the economy include: Taylor Point, East Ferry waterfront, Beavertail State Park, Fort Getty Park, Fort Wetherill State Park, and the municipally owned golf course. These areas offer over 1,000 acres of park and open space for swimming, scuba diving, picnicking, boating, camping, fishing and clamming. Also of interest to visitors is the Jamestown Ferry, the Windmill and Watson Farm. The scenic beauty of the waterfront and historic areas in Jamestown are recognized statewide.

The Planning Commission’s vision for tourism is to keep it focused so as to have a minimal impact on the residents of Jamestown. The Town should work with the Jamestown Chamber of Commerce to accomplish this goal. This would include, but not be limited to, publicizing destination points such as Beavertail State Park, the Windmill, and Fort Wetherill State Park. Although 73 percent do not think a tourism office is appropriate for Jamestown, the 1998 Community Survey indicated that 64 percent of the respondents would like a community bulletin board in the downtown area for announcing local events and news.

Another factor of importance to the economy and commercial stability is the boating industry. Commercial marinas and mooring operators provide over 380 seasonal and transient moorings; 116 marina slips, launch services, boat repairs and services, and marine retail. As found in Economic Development Corporation statistics, the boating industry employs over 70 employees within the service and retail sectors. The commercial marinas in Jamestown include Conanicut Marine Services (including Round House Boatyard), Dutch Harbor Boat Yard, and Jamestown Boat Yard. The Town of Jamestown issues permits for over 1,000 moorings that use the commercial services at East and West Ferry Harbors and other areas around the Island. Conanicut Yacht Club and Jamestown Yacht Club operate out of the East Ferry area, with Conanicut Yacht Club owning their own facilities. The Jamestown Boat Owners Association leases marina space from the Town at the Fort Wetherill Basin.

At first glance, the waterfront commercial district at East Ferry appears to be fully developed. Almost all of the land area in the district is utilized for parking, buildings, and beaches, or for Memorial Square. It must be recognized, however, that the long waiting list for moorings at East Ferry and fully occupied marinas during the summer season indicate that there is still pressure for increased utilization of the harbor. That pressure will result in increased demands for shore side support in the commercial waterfront district.

Over the twenty-year cycle of this comprehensive plan, it is likely that mooring density of the harbor could increase, resulting in an increased demand on landside amenities. The vision for this area, however, is to remain at status quo. The mix of public access, public viewing, commercial marinas and commercial fishing vessels, which result in the existing working waterfront motif, is an important aspect of Jamestown’s island character. The 1998 Community Survey indicates that the primary focus of the East Ferry waterfront should be a "working waterfront".

It is therefore recommended that the currently established ceiling for moorings and slips be maintained by both the Town and the Coastal Resources Management Council and that the Harbor Management Commission manage the harbor to that number. This will allow the Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Ordinances to be established with a finite limit on the ability for the Commercial Waterfront district to support these activities. Any future expansion in the number of commercial moorings and slips should be allowed only if adequate additional landside support, parking, public access, sanitary facilities, etc., are provided. Further, the Harbor Management Commission, in cooperation with the Town, should work to provide those amenities to support the existing moorings to relieve the strain on the village district.

Like East Ferry, West Ferry has a mix of commercial and private moorings, commercial fishing and private boats on the outhauls and public access to the harbor that provides a working waterfront motif. It is removed from the rest of the commercial district, and therefore less active than East Ferry. However, like East Ferry, West Ferry shows evidence of approaching the capacity of landside amenities. This is most noticeable with the commercial boat storage on the public side of the pier, probably as a result of the limited land area of the Dutch Harbor Boat Yard. Landside amenities should be balanced with harbor demands before further harbor expansion is considered. It is equally important that public and commercial amenities are matched to the mix of public and commercial use of the harbor, especially since the availability of land in the West Ferry Commercial Waterfront District is limited.

It is likely that Dutch Harbor will continue to be used as a layover port for recreational boats departing West Passage of Narragansett Bay while en route to other Southern New England harbors. It is equally likely that Dutch harbor will be in greater demand as a destination harbor for transient boaters as Jamestown continues to be discovered by the cruising community. Future plans should recognize these demands while preserving the working waterfront and largely residential motif of West Ferry.

Commercial fishing is an active industry off Jamestown’s shores. The many types of commercial fishing include otter trawling, rod and reel, fish pots, lobstering and shellfishing. The following is a list of potential economically important species that are commercially harvested off of Jamestown: American eel, Black Sea Bass, Striped Sea Bass, Bluefish, Summer Flounder (Fluke), Winter Flounder (Gray sole), Scup, Tautog, Weakfish (Squeteague), Butterfish, Skate, Squid, Lobster, Oyster, Streamers, Scallops and Conchs (Channel and Knobbed Whelk).


  1. Economic Development Achievements Based Upon the 1991 Goals, Policies, Recommendations and Implementation Methods

This section lists the goals, policies, recommendations and implementation methods as stated in the 1991 Comprehensive Community Plan. The community achievements since 1991 follow the listing of the Recommendations and Implementation methods and describe what results or actions have occurred on each particular recommendation, and why it has or has not been implemented/successful.

1. Improve the general appearance of the downtown commercial zones by upgrading public facilities such as parking, street conditions, street trees, landscaping, sidewalks, signs, lighting, public restrooms, and waterfront facilities.

    1. The Planning Commission should hold quarterly workshops to discuss economic development issues.
    2. The Planning Commission should review the recommendations of the Jamestown Village Association and other groups to provide advisory opinions to the Town Council on economic development issues.
    3. The Jamestown Commerce Committee should provide advisory opinions to the Town Council on economic concerns in the Town of Jamestown.
    4. Funding for improvements should come from various sources including state, local capital development, operating budget, contributions of commercial property owners, and private contributions. Grant funding should be pursued under the Community Development Block Grant Program and the R.I. Historical Preservation Commission for specific historic structures.

The Planning Commission discusses economic development issues as needed and not on a regular schedule. They have worked closely with the Jamestown Chamber of Commerce, formerly the Jamestown Village Association, on the development of this element of the Plan. In addition, the Town Planner and the Planning Commission have worked closely with the Jamestown Chamber of Commerce in developing the design for the Downtown Improvement Project funded by DOT through Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act. The Town has not had a Commerce Committee involved with providing advice to the Town Council. The Town Council generally looks to the Planning Commission on all issues of development and growth. The Town, through many of its offices, aggressively pursues various funding sources for improvements to the Town.

2. Adopt a Site Plan Review procedure which empowers the Planning Commission with site plan review of all commercial development projects.

    1. Site Plan Review should include adherence to the zoning provisions and consideration of the historical and architectural character of the district. Standards of building appearance, height, construction, landscaping and signage will also be included.
    2. The Jamestown Historical Commission and the Jamestown Village Association will assist in the preparation of standards for the ordinance.

The Town Council, in 1995, adopted the Development Plan Review Article of the Zoning Ordinance pursuant to the State of Rhode Island Zoning Enabling Act. The Planning Commission prepared this with input from various groups and individuals. This has been successfully implemented over the past 6 years.

3. Amend Zoning Ordinance where appropriate to maintain commercial development which is sensitive to the existing character of the Downtown.

    1. Review and revise, if needed, required setbacks, height limitations, allowed uses, and parking requirements in the Commercial Downtown zoning district.

The Zoning Ordinance was amended in 1995 to comply with the revised Comprehensive Plan and the State of Rhode Island Zoning Enabling legislation.

4. Encourage water-dependant and water-related uses of the existing commercial waterfront areas and maintain existing physical and visual waterfront access.

    1. Maintain commercial fishing industry in the community.
    2. Review CRMC designated type waters for consistency with local goals and objectives and the Town's Harbor Management Plan.
    3. Conduct Comprehensive Development and Management Plans for East Ferry, West Ferry, Ft. Wetherill, and Fort Getty with special attention on the provision of areas for commercial fishing boats.


5. Direct tourism to areas with appropriate facilities and where impacts to residents will be minimized.

    1. Make informational guides available to visitors depicting locations of parks, public open spaces, historical sites, public parking facilities, restrooms, as well as shops and restaurants.
    2. Provide informational signage on main roads.
    3. Continue an effort to encourage transient boaters to visit Jamestown.
    4. Work in a cooperative effort with the State for the provision of public services and facilities at recreational areas.

The Chamber of Commerce regularly publishes a street map of the island with key focal points and businesses highlighted. The Chamber of Commerce also funded the placement of several "Historic Jamestown" signs on the John Eldred Parkway and local streets, directing visitors to the village center. In the early 1990's, The Harbor Commission in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce developed an informational brochure on boating. This has not been updated or used in the recent past.

The Town received $40,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds in 1991 from the State to develop public restroom facilities at the east ferry. In 1995, The State of Rhode Island deeded, free of charge, the land now used for the Eldred Avenue Soccer Fields. Also in 1995, the Town purchased Jamestown Shores Heads Beach with Recreation Grant assistance from the State of Rhode Island.

6. Encourage the continued success of economically viable farming operations.

    1. Create a use based tax system for all farmland properties which meet certain criteria.
    2. Create an agricultural zoning district which would prohibit intense development and encourage the use of clustering of any development on or adjacent to farmland.

The State of Rhode has amended the structure of the Farm, Forest and Open Space program in 2000. One of the purposes of this program is to reduce taxation of working farmland and therefore reduce costs for the farmer. The Planning Commission held workshops with the agriculture community regarding development of an agricultural zone. There was severe opposition from the agricultural community due to potential land value changes and the Planning Commission did not pursue this method of agricultural preservation.



  1. History

Jamestown began as a colony whose roads were built to serve the resident farmers and various ferryboat landings on the Island. The ferry services had an important and significant impact on the community’s economy and growth. Spanning over 300 years, from the 1600s to the opening of the Newport Bridge in 1969, Jamestown residents and travelers relied on ferry service for personal transport as well as delivery of goods and services from the mainland and Aquidneck Island. Jamestown Bridge

Narragansett Avenue, originally known as Ferry Road, is the Town’s main commercial street. It served as a connection between the ferries that ran from West Passage and East Passage. The development of business and services along this road was in response to its use by residents and travelers.

Since the Island’s colonization in the late 1600s, sail ferry service provided the resident farmers with access to and from the mainland. In the late 1800s, steamboats replaced access to the Island, with ferry service from North Kingstown and Newport. Due to the Island’s isolation, no turnpikes or interstate highways were developed.

The Island’s development as a summer resort began with this introduction of steam ferryboat service in 1873. Until this time, residents were primarily farmers and mariners. The steamboats brought wealthy vacationers from New York, Philadelphia and St. Louis, who stayed at the numerous island hotels. Grand hotels sprang up along the East Ferry landing which provided ferry connections to the Fall River line that traveled to New York. The streamliners, such as the Fall River line, ran from 1847 to 1937 between New York and Fall River, Massachusetts. Ferry service continued in the West Passage until the Jamestown Bridge was constructed in 1940 and in the East Passage until the Newport Bridge was opened in 1969.

The military buildup in Jamestown during the First and Second World Wars also impacted the Island’s transportation system. Fort Dumplings, Fort Getty, Fort Greble and Fort Wetherill were military stations active in Jamestown from the Revolutionary War to World War II. During the Civil War, military personnel trained at these locations. Rhode Island’s National Guard trained in Jamestown during World War I. Beavertail Road, Hamilton Avenue, Fort Wetherill Road and Fort Getty Road were constructed to provide access and connections to the various military bases.

The opening of the Jamestown Bridge in 1940 and termination of the West Passage ferry service sparked an increase in population and housing construction on the Island. Many new residents relied upon defense-based industry for employment. In 1992, the re-construction of the Jamestown-Verrazanno Bridge and the subsequent expansion of Route 138 (John Eldred Parkway) to encompass Eldred Avenue and the Jamestown and Newport Bridges facilitated road travel from Newport County to Washington County.

2. Vehicular Transportation Patterns

Jamestown residents depend heavily upon private automobiles for off island travel due to the limited amount of commercial, employment, and public transportation opportunities on the Island.

The Town of Jamestown contains 70.3 acres of road. The major local and commuter circulation roadway is the John Eldred Highway. Access from the contiguous portion of southern Rhode Island is achieved via the Jamestown-Verrazanno Bridge, which is maintained by the State Department of Transportation (DOT). Jamestown is connected to Aquidneck Island and the east bay area via the Newport Toll Bridge that is owned and operated by the RI Turnpike and Bridge Authority.

With an estimated population of 4,999 (1990 Census), over 6,500 vehicles are registered in the Town of Jamestown. According to the 1998 Community Survey, 24 percent of the survey’s respondents work in Jamestown. Another 22 percent work on Aquidneck Island, 14 percent travel to the city of Providence, with 40 percent travelling elsewhere in the state for employment. Commuter parking lots are available to Jamestown residents in North Kingstown in close proximity to the Jamestown Bridge and in East Greenwich at the intersection of Routes 2 and 4.

a. The Effects of the Route 138 Upgrade, John Eldred Parkway

Prior to the completion in 1992 of the Jamestown-Verrazzano Bridge and the John Eldred Highway, traffic to and from the Island was extremely congested in Jamestown. Residents had a very difficult time traveling, especially during weeknights. During the summer, both travelling north to south and travelling off the Island at night was unreasonably difficult. With the new roadways and connectors in place, traffic now flows at a reasonable rate to and from the Island. Most residents on the Island do appreciate the benefits the bridge and the Rt. 138 (John Eldred Parkway) connector have provided.

With limited access, certain streets on the Island have experienced changes in roadway function as a result of the Rt. 138 (John Eldred Parkway) upgrade. These include: Hull Street, Helm St, Beacon Avenue, Spirketing Street and Seaside Drive in the Jamestown Shores area. In addition, Carr Lane and America Way, serving as cross-island connections between East Shore Road and North Road, have both experienced increased volumes in traffic as a result of the upgrade.

The Chamber of Commerce has indicated that the upgraded roadway and the bridge have not had any detrimental effects on businesses in Jamestown. No studies have been done to measure effects of the new bridge and connector on the local economy, though outside services travelling to the Island have become quicker. One negative effect of the new roadway is the highway noise it has created in the area.

Another effect of the new roadway has been the increased pressure on local real estate. The upgrade of the John Eldred Highway, combined with the Route 4 upgrade in North Kingstown during the 1980s, has significantly reduced commute times to the west and north. This has made Jamestown an even more desirable place to live. The 1998 Community Survey indicated that 52 percent of the respondents felt that the commute to work made Jamestown a "desirable" (22 percent) to "somewhat desirable" (30 percent) place to live.

3. Road Classification Systems

a. Local Classification System

The Town of Jamestown’s Subdivision Regulations set the standards for construction of roads in new subdivisions, defining roads as either minor arterial, collector, local or minor streets. Minor arterial streets serve as circulation of traffic into, out of or around the Town, and carry relatively high volumes of traffic. Collector streets serve as interior residential streets that connect traffic from local or minor streets to arterial streets. Collector streets also service areas of commercial development. Local streets serve as public or private access to residential lots and feed into collector streets. Minor streets provide public or private access solely to residential lots. In addition, all local street classifications serve to provide access to abutting properties.

Subdivision regulation standards for right-of-way width varies, according to the road classification and project classification. The Planning Commission on a case-by-case basis determines design criteria. Presently, a 30-50-foot right-of-way is required for all streets. Cul-de-sacs are required to have an outside curb minimum radius of 40 feet and a minimum right-of-way radius of 50 feet.

Sidewalks, although limited throughout the Island, are a requirement for development in the R-8 residential zoning districts. The need for pedestrian walkways is determined individually for subdivisions.

b. Major Roads

Major local north/south roads in Jamestown include: North Road from The John Eldred Highway south to Southwest Avenue, Southwest Avenue south to Beavertail Road, and Beavertail Road from Southwest Avenue south to the end. Conanicus Avenue becomes Walcott Avenue at its intersection with High Street and serves as a major local road. East Shore Road is also a major local road and provides north/south access along the East Passage from the Newport Bridge Toll Plaza to the north end of the Island. As mentioned, Beavertail Road runs north/south from Mackerel Cove along the remaining southern portion of the Island and serves as the only collector road for the Beavertail peninsula. The Island is traversed east/west by State Route 138 (John Eldred Parkway), Narragansett Avenue, Hamilton Avenue, Carr Lane and America Way. These roads provide access through, on and off the Island.

c. State Classification System

The State of RI defines state and local roads as arterial, collector or local. The Rhode Island Department of Administration, Division of Planning 1995-2005 Highway Functional Classification System Table and Map can be seen on the following pages.

The greatest percentages of roads in Jamestown are classified as arterial. Eldred Avenue, or The John Eldred Highway, and East Shore Road are urban principal arterial roads. The Island’s urban minor arterial roads include Narragansett Avenue (Southwest Avenue to East Ferry), North Main Road (north to Capstan Street), East Shore Road (Eldred Avenue to Carr Lane) and Conanicus Avenue (north from Narragansett Avenue to the intersection with the Newport Bridge Toll Plaza). Walcott Avenue (south to Blueberry Lane), Hamilton Avenue, and Narragansett Avenue (west to West Ferry) are urban collector streets.

The residential side streets located off Narragansett Avenue and Conanicus Avenue in the downtown area are classified urban local streets. Jamestown’s rural major collectors include Beavertail Road, North Main Road (Capstan Street north to Conanicut Point) and East Shore Road (Carr Lane north to Conanicut Point). The remainder of the Island consists of rural minor collectors and rural local roads.

While a majority of the Town’s roads may be classified as a distinctive type, most serve mixed or borderline functions. For example, a rural major collector road such as Beavertail Road serves both as a collector road and residential road because residential development is accessed directly off the road.








MAP: 16

















































































Source: Highway Functional Classification System for the State of RI, 1995 - 2005, October 1988.

RI Department of Administration, Division of Planning.

4. Road Maintenance and Improvements

The State has jurisdiction over 21.6 miles of the Island's roads; the municipality owns 56 miles for a total of 77.6 total miles of state and municipal roads. Private roadways are not included in these figures. Generally, state roads in Jamestown are in good condition. Local municipal roads are basically in fair condition and are being upgraded by the schedule described in the Department of Public Works Pavement Management Plan. The Town is responsible for paving local roads.

Road maintenance includes brush cutting and pruning along roadsides. Both the DOT and the Town Public Works accomplish this on a regular schedule. Recent complaints regarding the poor method of pruning and cutting has led the town staff to request that DOT use different methods besides the machine with the long arm that cuts and rips vegetation at the same height. In addition, the Planning Commission has recommended that money be budgeted for Department of Public Works training in the proper methods of pruning.

a. State Roads

The Division of Planning and the Department of Administration initiate state road improvements under the Transportation Improvement Program for the State of Rhode Island (TIP). The TIP is prepared with public input and requests by local municipal officials.

The State of Rhode Island maintains state roads, including: The John Eldred Parkway, North Road, East Shore Road, Narragansett Avenue, Southwest Avenue and Beavertail Road. DOT has completed the upgrade of Southwest Avenue, including resurfacing Beavertail Road. Along Southwest Avenue the construction project included drainage repair, curbing and stonewall construction. Mackerel Cove was also reconstructed; the parking lot was overhauled, fencing was added and the beach and dunes were landscaped. Sidewalks were added to the Sheffield Cove side of the road and drainage was installed on Beavertail Road from Battery Lane to the beach.

The Town has used TIP to gain funding for transportation projects in Jamestown. Funding was received in 1997, with 500,000 dollars targeted for streetscape improvements to the eastern most part of Narragansett Avenue. The preliminary design was completed in 1999 and construction is targeted for completion in 2003.

b. Local Roads

Local road improvements are made under the Town's Pavement Management Program (PMP). PMP was mandated by the State of RI in 1989 and requires communities to prepare a pavement evaluation program utilizing a computer software program designed for this purpose. Under the program, all town roads were inventoried, including surface, function, condition, right-of-way width and length, date of construction and last inspection. Based upon twelve variables, the road condition is then rated from 0 (gravel - non-functioning) to 100 (excellent). The Town is responsible for the plowing of local, minor subdivision and gravel based roads. All state roads are plowed by the State.

Review of Pavement Management Plan shows that Jamestown contains 77.6 miles of roads. PMP ranks the local roads as Primary ("P"), Secondary ("S"), Tertiary (gravel) ("T") and Private ("X") for maintenance and repair purposes. Gravel roads are defined as all roads that have a gravel surface regardless of use. Private roads are roads for which the Town accepts no repair responsibility. Secondary roads primarily serve residents of the street and have a hard surface pavement. Primary roads collect neighborhood streets and have a hard surface pavement. Roads are further categorized as either chipped seal ("ST"), asphalt concrete ("AC") or gravel ("GR"). The PMP ranks the local roads on a condition scale from gravel through excellent to designate necessary repairs and maintenance. The Town’s Highway Department personnel perform road maintenance of local roads on an as-needed basis.

Each year, the Public Works Department prepares a Road and Drainage Improvement Program. Roads are prioritized according to needed improvements. Special consideration is given to problem roads and high usage roads. Coordination of the construction of new subdivision roads and existing road improvements are also a consideration in road improvement planning. Roadway improvements are made in different sections of the Town and in accordance with the annual prescribed budget. Maintenance is performed on private roads used by the general public, although private individuals or organizations usually provide the cost of materials.

Rehabilitation and maintenance of the local roads is achieved by the use of town tax money and existing personnel and equipment. The community has historically utilized this "pay as you go" method. No local bond issue has ever been issued for improvements to the local road system. Heavy equipment necessary for road construction work is owned by the Town and periodically replaced as needed. Recently, the Town acquired new paving equipment. Local roads that the Town is not capable of resurfacing are put out to contract.

The level of service for roads provided to Islanders will not substantially change without a major reallocation of funds for road improvements. The 2001 budget allocates almost $7,200 for cold patch and $28,000 for paving. Jamestown residents have accepted this level of funding and its corresponding level of service. Spending on road improvements may increase with the demand for well-maintained roads.

As the population increases in Jamestown, so does the traffic on residential streets. The issue of speeding on residential streets is brought up on a case by case basis to the Town Council as the need arises or if the neighborhood issue heightens. However, there have been many more complaints of speeding within the last ten years as a result of the John Eldred Parkway upgrade. Much progress has been made throughout the country on reducing speeds within residential neighborhoods through innovative transportation planning methods called "traffic calming" and "traffic softening features". Locally, increased police enforcement and ticketing within targeted areas throughout the community have reduced the incidents of speeding in some areas.

c. Private Roads

Approximately three miles of private roads are located within the Town. Residents or private associations maintain most private roads. The Town maintains some private roads by contract if they are in areas that are accessible to the general public.

5. Traffic Signals

Jamestown has one flashing traffic light signal at the intersection of Narragansett Avenue, South West Avenue and North Main Road. This flashing light is very effective and allows traffic to move swiftly through the intersection on a rotating basis at the heaviest times in the morning and late afternoon. Additional traffic control is provided by the placement of stop signs at intersections. There is not currently a need for any additional traffic light signals in Jamestown. Prior to any future placement, alternative methods of traffic control should be tested. According to the Jamestown Police Department, the Town has not had any intersections with greater than ten accidents per year.

6. Street Lighting

Street lighting in Jamestown is primarily at intersections and is also provided on major streets and neighborhood streets in the downtown and some newer subdivision streets. The Town's Subdivision Regulations do not require the provision of street lights, but if they are provided, all utility lines must be placed underground.

It does not appear to be necessary to increase the street lighting system in any areas in Town except for some possible renovation in the Commercial Downtown area along Narragansett Avenue. The lighting system currently in place along Narragansett Avenue is being redesigned as part of the downtown improvements through a cooperative program with DOT that is funded by the Federal Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act. With this funding, incandescent lights will be installed to replace the existing pole mounted lights.

7. Parking

A major concern of local businesses and residents has been the lack of parking during the peak summer season. Local businesses state that there is significant competition between employees, tourists, boaters, and residents for the limited number of parking spaces during these peak times. This parking problem is a historic condition brought about by the existence of commercial structures dating back to the 1800s when there were no requirements for parking. In the past 10 years a number of events, all focused on the East Ferry "Center of Town" have brought about awareness of possible parking problems in this area. These events include the increase in Jamestown’s population, the success of the East Ferry marina, restaurants and businesses, coupled with an increase in special event activities. Although the parking problem is generally during the summer season, it is widely felt that parking is close to being a problem the rest of the year and will be a problem in future years.

Parking standards for commercial businesses are set by the Town Zoning Ordinance and the Harbor Management Ordinance. The Zoning Ordinance parking requirements are based upon the type of use. Although the ordinance has set standards for all new construction, buildings which pre-date the adoption of the Zoning Ordinance are not required to adhere to the standards unless their use is changed. The Harbor Management Ordinance has parking requirements for marinas and moorings which applies to all new and existing commercial marina operations. Private moorings have no parking requirements.

Currently, there are approximately 370 parking spaces available in Commercial Downtown. Of these, 234 are public on-street parking and public parking lot spaces, and 136 are privately owned. Commercial district employees currently utilize approximately 115 of the total parking spaces. This leaves a remainder of approximately 255 spaces in general circulation for daily customer parking downtown. During the summer peak season, the Town enforces time-limited parking for all on-street public parking spaces.

An analysis of the existing parking spaces and utilization indicates that there presently exists additional opportunities to alleviate the parking problem without new construction of parking areas. This could include using town-owned facilities within the village after business hours on weekdays and anytime on weekends and holidays when town business is closed.

The greatest immediate opportunities lie in the increased utilization of parking spaces near the Town Hall on Narragansett Avenue, west of the Fire Station. These two areas offer approximately 69 public parking spaces that could be used for patrons of downtown businesses during peak weekend hours. The Town Hall could also be used for weekend boat trailer parking, offering approximately 10 boat trailer spaces. Encouragement for use of these areas could easily be accomplished by the placement of signage indicated public parking areas. This signage should be in keeping with the village character of the downtown and should clearly identify time and days during which public parking is allowed.

Other Town facilities that have ample available parking are the Town Hall and the Town Offices. Both are located within one-half mile of the western border of the Downtown Commercial District and are underutilized during the summer weekends. Appropriate signage could encourage use of these areas by tourists in the future if the need arises. This option should only be used if all local (within walking distance) spaces become filled on a regular basis. This may not happen for several years.

Conanicut Marina presently has 50 parking spaces at Taylor Point, accommodating customers that require extended or overnight marina parking. The Zoning Board recently denied a proposal by Conanicut Marina for 200 new parking spaces at Taylor Point. These spaces were proposed to accommodate all current and future Conanicut Marina customers. The Zoning Board denied the application in October 2000. The Zoning Board denial stated primarily that the applicant could not prove that the application would not negatively impact the neighborhood.

According to Jamestown’s 1998 Community Survey Response, 28.3 percent of residents feel that there is a parking problem in the downtown area and an additional 52.5 percent feel that the problem exists only in the summer season. 42 percent feel that parking is a problem in the downtown area and that the Town should develop another municipal lot, while 19 percent feel that an additional municipal lot is unnecessary. 60 percent did not respond to whether the additional lot should be free to all, while 25 percent felt that it should be free. 56 percent of residents did not respond to whether the additional lot should be a pay-for-park lot while 22 percent felt it should be pay-for-park. The three most common suggestions for a new municipal lot were: free for residents, resident sticker parking and 24-hour time limit. Please refer to the five following graphs.

The Planning Department conducted a parking survey during one week each month from July through September 2000. While looking at the number of vacant parking spaces along Narragansett Avenue, Conanicus Avenue, the town parking lot and the town square, it was noted that generally, the spaces closest to the town square were usually full and that the spaces from the fire station and west were 90 percent vacant. It was determined that the Town has ample parking spaces for daily automobile parking users, which are all within a short walking distance from shops and the waterfront (2000 feet maximum). The village does have, however, a lack of overnight parking. Using the municipal parking lot at the Town Hall may mitigate this deficiency. Using other municipal facilities, outside of the downtown area such as the Town Offices may be an option in the future if the need arises and shuttle service is feasible.

To more accurately assess the present parking problem in Jamestown, a more comprehensive survey needs to be conducted that accounts for private lot usage. The sample needs parallel days and dates each month and a variety of special events. Special events such as the Art Association Show at the Recreation Center, the Memorial Day Parade, Fourth of July weekend, and Ferry Days at Veterans' Memorial Square have increased since the last Comprehensive Plan and should be reflected in such a study.

In January 2001, the Jamestown Parking Committee recommended that the Town Council purchase or negotiate to lease a piece of property in the commercial downtown while there are still several available lots. The Planning Commission endorsed this action.

Signage needs to be provided and improved in some areas, especially on the eastern portion of Narragansett Avenue. The study should also assess whether more eight-hour spaces and/or other timing changes need to be made.


Is There A Parking Problem in the Downtown Area?


If Parking is a Problem in the Downtown Area

Should the Town Develop Another Municipal Lot?

Source: 1998 Community Survey

Should the Additional Parking Lot Be Free to All?

Should the Additional Parking Lot Be a Pay-For Park Lot?

163 Respondents

Most Common Answers For the Municipal Lot Usage?

Source: 1998 Community Survey



















Numerous adjustments have been made to address parking in the downtown area. A former state repair shop for Ferry Service was removed on Narragansett Avenue to create a 16-vehicle municipal parking lot. The hours for parking were adjusted throughout the village square area and on Conanicus Avenue. Many of the 8-hour parking spaces were reduced to 2-hour and 1-hour to allow a greater turnover for local businesses and restaurants. This action prompted increased parking along southern Conanicus Avenue, which has unrestricted time limits. Concerned about safety, the Town asked the State in 1996 to enforce the no-overnight parking on that portion of Conanicus Avenue and eliminated parking on the west side of southern Conanicus.

In 1993 the Council passed a zoning amendment to allow seasonal off-site marina parking in Commercial Downtown (CD) and Commercial Limited (CL) by right and in R-20 and R-40 by special use permit. Fifty spaces were granted in the R-20 district to Conanicut Marine Services with conditions intended to minimize negative impacts upon residential abutters. After further studies a 1995 amendment provided for businesses to arrange for shared parking by legal agreement which has been used once, for a restaurant expansion. Since then, the marina has doubled in size as well as provided a base for two passenger ferryboats, kayak rental, sailboat charters and other businesses. Public debate continues and CD businesses still face a need for parking variances to meet zoning requirements.

8. Public Transportation

The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) provides public transportation to and from Providence, Kingston/Wakefield and the Island and to and from Jamestown through Aquidneck Island to Bristol and, eventually, to Providence. According to the Planning Division of the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority, the total average weekday bus ridership in Jamestown is between 50 and 60 riders.

RIPTA buses stop at various locations along this route as needed by riders. The RIPTA line in Jamestown begins at the new bus shelter located at the Helm Street off-ramp of Route 138 at the Jamestown-Verrazzano Bridge. The route continues on North Road to Narragansett Avenue and the bus shelter located at the intersection of Narragansett Avenue and Conanicus Avenue. The RIDE bus route includes a loop by the senior housing at Pemberton Apartments.

RIPTA provides handicap transportation on a number of runs. Americans with Disabilities receive curb to curb service and pay $2.50 per ride. RIDE improves access to transportation for qualifying seniors. Free bus service is also available for the Town's elderly and handicapped residents during off-peak hours and weekends. Additional service for the blind, handicapped and elderly is provided with paratransit transportation.

Through a private contract with the Jamestown Red Cross and the state Department of Elderly Affairs Paratransit transportation is provided for the elderly and disabled. Eligible individuals for state funded service include those residents 60 years of age or over and those low income individuals under the age of 60 who receive medical assistance. Transportation is provided to Adult Day Care, medical appointments and the Senior Lunch Program. A donation is requested based upon the length of trip although transportation to the Senior Lunch Program is provided free of charge. New Visions for Newport County, Inc., a non-profit public service agency also provides van transportation for elderly and handicapped residents to medical appointments twice weekly.

9. Traffic Volume and Accidents

The Island's traffic pattern is significantly impacted by the seasonal influx of tourists. Between May and September, a notable increase in traffic volume occurs from tourists traveling to Newport and South County. The Jamestown Police Accident Report states that since January of 1990 until March 28, 2000 there have been a total of 1,664 accidents in Jamestown. A review of the State's accident statistics indicates that no particular intersection appears to be of significant danger. The majority of accidents occur on the main arteries, namely, North Road, the John Eldred Parkway, Narragansett Avenue, Conanicus Avenue and the Jamestown - Verrazzano Bridge.

The John Eldred Parkway, East Shore Road and North Main Road are Jamestown's most heavily traveled roads as determined by the automatic traffic volume counts conducted by DOT. Traffic volume increases significantly on these roadways during the summer tourist season.

10. Alternative Modes of Transportation

Alternatives to vehicular transportation are becoming more popular and important to our society due to growing scarcity of natural resources needed to produce petroleum, increased awareness of pollution created by automobiles, and associated health benefits. Alternative modes of transportation include biking, walking and marine transportation.

a. Bicycling

Cycling is a popular recreational activity in Jamestown throughout most of the year. Although there are no formal bike paths, bicyclists utilize existing roadways and shoulders. A shoulder of a minimum of four feet is considered standard for a bicycle lane. Most of Jamestown's roadways do not provide this minimum and many do not have any shoulders at all. Although adult cyclists commonly use the travel lane, this creates a safety hazard for youths as well as adults.

The recent upgrading of Southwest Avenue and a portion of Beavertail Road has increased the Island's bicycle tolerant roads. Upgrading included the construction of roadway shoulders with a three-foot minimum. Existing bicycle tolerant roadways include Hamilton Avenue, Howland Avenue, Southwest Avenue and a portion of Beavertail Road from the Town Beach to Battery Lane, which provide connections from the downtown area to the recreational areas of Fort Getty and Fort Wetherill.

The Jamestown-Verrazzano Bridge provides a very narrow, separated pedestrian access on the bridge. Bicyclists are currently allowed to cross the bridge but no accommodations are provided which allow safe crossing. Currently there is no viable approach to the bridge from either side of the bay. The raised walkway suspends the bicyclist over the railing and is approximately 3 feet wide, accommodating only the most experienced of bicyclists. The only other option for bicyclists is utilizing the breakdown lane on the main bridge surface. The Newport Bridge does not allow people to ride or walk bicycles across the Bridge. However, at certain times bicycles are allowed on RIPTA buses in Jamestown traveling to Newport. Currently DOT is looking into different scenarios to provide better access across the west passage of Narragansett Bay.

It is very important that all future upgrades of roadways consider the feasibility of bicycle lanes as part of the project. The construction of a bicycle path separate from existing roadways should be considered as funding for planning and development of such bicycle ways becomes available. Bicycle paths are also discussed in the Recreation Element of this plan.

b. Walking

Pedestrian pathways or greenways exist at several public areas throughout the Island. Two of the longest trail systems are at the Conanicut Island Sanctuary and Beavertail State Park. The path at Beavertail runs along the eastern edge of the waterfront and is approximately 3,000 linear feet long. The trail at the Conanicut Island Sanctuary is a double loop trail system of approximately one-mile designed to introduce one to the various types of plant species at the area. Lesser public paths on Jamestown are located on the western shore at Fort Getty and on town property where the Water Treatment Plant is located.

Pedestrian access is also provided at public shoreline access areas located along the Island coast. Pedestrian access along the shore is continuous through fifteen public water access points along either shore of the Island, and all shoreline below the mean high tide water line. This is an increase of nine access points since the 1991 Community Plan. Greenways and pedestrian connections are further discussed in the Conservation and Open Space Element of this plan.

c. Marine Transportation

Conanicut Island's location in Narragansett Bay allows access by boat by way of the East and West Passages. Boating facilities in Jamestown are located at East and West Ferry, Clark Boat Yard, Conanicut Marine Services, Dutch Harbor Boat Yard and Jamestown Boat Yard. Most of these marinas maintain transient moorings available to visitors.

Accessing Jamestown with public or private marine transportation creates an ideal opportunity to shift some of the focus of travel away from automobiles and reduce the parking burden in the downtown area during the summer season. Public docking is available at East Ferry and West Ferry in Jamestown.

After a 24-year interlude with no ferry following the opening of the Newport Bridge in 1969, passenger ferry service resumed. The Jamestown/Newport Ferry Company has provided seasonal passenger ferry service to and from Newport since 1993. This resurgence of the Jamestown/Newport Ferry Company has provided a continuance of the oldest Ferry Service in the Country.

  1. Circulation Achievements Based Upon the 1991 Goals, Policies, Recommendations and Implementation Methods

This section lists the goals, policies, recommendations and implementation methods as stated in the 1991 Comprehensive Community Plan. The community achievements since 1991 follow the listing of the Recommendations and Implementation methods and describe what results or actions have occurred on each particular recommendation, and why it has or has not been implemented/successful.

a. Plan a five-year road and drainage improvement program at current funding level utilizing the Pavement Management Program. Re-evaluate the level of funding annually.

    1. Annually update the Pavement Management Program to establish priorities for road improvements.
    2. Utilizing the Pavement Management Program, a five year road and drainage

      improvement program was established. The Pavement Management Plan is updated annually to establish priorities for road improvements.

    3. Town should prepare an island wide Road Classification Plan which defines circulation needs and functions of each link within the network.
    4. An island-wide Road Classification Plan defining circulation needs and other areas within the network, deemed unnecessary, was not carried out.

    5. Public Works Director should prepare an improvement program based on priorities set by the Pavement Management Program including existing and future utilization and current condition of Town roads. Program should prioritize roads with first consideration given to those which will be impacted by the Rte. 138 connector road.
    6. The Public Works Director is presently preparing an improvement program based on priorities set by the PMP.

    7. Funding for improvements and road construction equipment should continue to be included in the Capital Development Program.
    8. Funding methods should be evaluated annually.
    9. Annual funding for improvements and road construction equipment are included in the Capital Development Program; and are evaluated annually; and routine road maintenance is performed by the Highway Department personnel.

    10. Routine road maintenance should continue to be performed by the Highway Department personnel.
    11. Increase annual routine road maintenance work according to available funds and labor.

Annual road maintenance work is increased according to available funds and labor.

b. Continue to require a high level of road design and construction for all new development to assure safety and to reduce the future financial road maintenance burden for the community.

  1. Revise road construction standards of subdivision roads to meet current standards of the State of RI, Department of Public Works and local needs.

Road construction standards of subdivision roads were revised to meet current RI Department of Public Works' standards and local needs.

c. Promote alternative methods of transportation where appropriate.

  1. Seek State and Federal aid in developing alternative travel solutions.
  2. The Town has attempted to seek state and federal aid in developing alternative travel solutions, but without much success. In 1998, the Town rejected DOT Ferry Discretionary funds due to the potential negative impacts on Jamestown.

  3. Review State and Local road upgrades/reconstruction projects for consideration of bicycle lanes and pedestrian. access/walkways.
  4. The Town has also continuously applied for Transportation Improvement Program funds from the DOT, for support of development of alternative modes of transportation. Southwest Avenue and Beavertail Road have been reconstructed and repaired through the TIP process and Narragansett Avenue will see renovation in the next year through these funds. Both projects offer some upgrades to pedestrian facilities. Continuous state and local road upgrades and reconstruction projects include consideration of bicycle lanes and pedestrian walkways.

  5. Review proposed subdivisions to determine appropriate alternative circulation methods such as walkways/bikeways.
  6. Proposed subdivisions determining appropriate alternative circulation methods such as walkways and bikeways were reviewed.

  7. Develop an independent walkway/bikeway system as funding for planning and development becomes available.

In 2000 the Town applied for, but did not receive DOT Transportation Improvement Program funding for the Conanicut Island greenway.

d. Coordinate local, state, and federal goals for all major road upgrades and specifically the Route 138 project to minimize impacts to the community.

  1. Review and monitor effect of new road construction on local circulation and plan local road improvements and traffic control accordingly.
  2. Review and monitor environmental impact of all road construction projects to insure continued protection of watershed, wetlands, farmland, and other natural resources.

To minimize the impacts to the community, two recommendations were followed via local, state, and federal goals for all major road upgrades and the John Eldred Parkway. Revision and monitoring of the effects of new road construction on local circulation is ongoing as well as the planning of local road improvements and traffic control. Revision and monitoring of environmental impacts of all road construction projects is done to insure continued protection of watershed, wetlands, farmland, and other natural resources.




  1. Introduction

Approximately 41 percent of the total land use in Jamestown is dedicated to housing. The 90 percent increase in population since 1970 indicates a growing desire to live in Jamestown. This increase can be attributed to improved transportation systems, which facilitate work commutes, the natural environment, small town character and proximity to the Bay. However, as Jamestown has become a more attractive place to live, real estate prices have risen considerably and vacant land has begun to diminish.

2. Housing Stock Characteristics

Over the past twenty years, single-family housing starts, or construction, have fluctuated from 73 starts in 1972 to a low of 20 starts in 1990. Since 1990, the Town has experienced stabilization in the number of starts, though the numbers seem to be on the rise again. The JAMESTOWN HOUSING STARTS graph illustrates a trend in starts over the last three decades. The current economy indicates that the number of housing starts may continue to rise for the next several years.

Although Jamestown is a suburban community, housing stock is diversified. The mix of housing ranges from large estates to modest summer cottages. In 1999 the Building Office issued 52 building permits to enlarge existing homes. This trend is expected to continue as vacant residential land becomes scarcer on Jamestown. 89 percent of the Island’s housing is single-family residences. Household size ranges from one to seven persons (refer to HOUSEHOLD TYPE AND SIZE graph). Most housing is less than 50 years old and is in good or excellent condition. The housing profile in Jamestown consists of seven percent seasonal houses, four percent condominiums and 0.35 percent apartments (refer to HOUSING PROFILE chart and AVERAGE REAL ESTATE COST graph).

Owners occupy the majority of housing in Jamestown. According to the 1990 census, 78.7 percent of all housing units in Jamestown were owner occupied; 21.3 percent were rental units. The number of rental units in Jamestown has increased slightly since the 1980 census. Some seasonal rentals are available, usually from September through June. Homeowners occupy the rentals during the summer months, although some are rented weekly or monthly throughout the summer.

Jamestown offers a limited number of subsidized housing units. These include 13 of the 20 units that have been set aside for Section 8 housing units at the Bayside Terrace Apartments and 47 units of senior and handicapped housing at Pemberton Apartments and Pemberton Place and 20 units of housing at Jamestown Village. Because of Jamestown's isolated geography and limited community based social support services, it is not likely that individuals from elsewhere in the State will be drawn to subsidized housing here. Most occupants of Bayside Terrace, Pemberton Apartments and Pemberton Place are either long time Jamestown residents or relatives of Jamestown residents.


Source: Building Official Records, 1999





Housing Profile





Single Family



Seasonal Unit










Total Housing Units



Sources: Tax Assessor Records, 1999.




Source: Tax Assessor's Records, 1999.

Source: US Census of Jamestown, 1990.

Source: US Census for Jamestown, 1990.


Source: US Census of Jamestown, 1990.

Source: Town Hall Records, 1999.



Source: US Census Data for Jamestown, 1990. Total Housing Units: 2,517

Source: US Census Data for Jamestown, 1990

3. Housing Costs

While the average cost of a single-family home increased 2.5 percent statewide during the first three quarters of 1999, in Jamestown the increase was 25 percent. The following chart lists the typical cost of housing in Jamestown in 1999. In nine years, from 1990 to 1999, the average cost of a single-family home in Jamestown increased 13 percent. Housing data shows no average cost increase for rental units in a 10-year period from 1989 to 1999.



Single Family




Vacant Lot


Rental (2 bedroom)


Sources: Town Hall Records, 1999

4. Affordable Housing

Under State requirements, each community is required to allocate 10 percent of its housing stock to low and moderate-income families. As of 1999, only six communities have done so. The shortage of housing that is affordable is no longer a problem associated only with our cities, it is a problem in all communities in the State. While "affordable" housing is a relative term, it is dependent upon a household's income. Affordable housing does not only apply to subsidized housing or low-income housing. The general lending institution’s criteria for affordable housing states that for housing to be "affordable" the annual cost should be no more than 30 percent of the household's gross income. According to the 1990 Census, annual household income in Jamestown ranges from below $10,000 to over $90,000 (refer to HOUSEHOLD INCOME chart).

According to the 1998 Community Survey, annual household income in Jamestown ranges from below $20,000 to over $500,000. The median household annual income bracket is between $60,000 - $89,000. The median income is used as it reflects an accurate income, by taking into account the highest and lowest ranges of salaries in Jamestown. The community has a responsibility to ensure that there are housing opportunities for persons in all of these income ranges.




Less than $20,000


$20,000 - $35,999


$36,000 - $59,999


$60,000 - $89,000


$90,000 - $119,999


$120,000 - $149,999


$150,000 - $299,999


$300,000 - $500,000


$500,000 or more


Source: 1998 Community Survey


Household Income



Less than $59,999



$60,000 - $89,000



$90,000 – $500,000 or more



Sources: Comprehensive Plan, 1990; 1998 Community Survey

5. Housing Costs Comparison

According to the Housing Data Base report issued by the RI Department of Administration (RIDOA), Division of Planning, December 1990, Jamestown had the highest average purchase price for a single-family home in the State in 1989. Between January and October of 1999, five sales have exceeded the million-dollar mark. In August 2000, a single-family home sold for 3.9 million dollars -- a record for Jamestown, which has historically been outcompeted by Newport’s sales. According to the RIDOA, Office of Tax Equalization, the average sales price for a single family home in Jamestown in 1989 was $292,869 and that dropped to 221,000 in 1990, versus $249,500 in 1999. The Newport County average purchase price for a single-family home in 1989 was $209,251 and the statewide average was $140,878.

An analysis of 1998 average rents for apartments showed that for one-bedroom apartments, Jamestown rents were in the middle range statewide but for two-bedroom apartments, Jamestown had the highest rent of all communities in the State, and for three- bedroom apartments, Jamestown rents were the third highest.

6. The Gap

The affordability of housing depends on two things: the household income and the annual cost of the housing. The difference between what a household can afford to pay and what a house would cost is the housing affordability gap.

In Jamestown, an annual household income of $77,600 is needed to purchase the mean home at $221,000 (1990 Census costs). Given the fact that the mean annual household income in Jamestown is $53,661 (1990 Census). This is an average gap of $24,000 between the actual median income and the income needed to purchase the average home in 1990. To help fill this gap, a number of programs are available to residents.



















Total Sales



of Sales

Average Sales

Price ($)













Central Falls




















East Greenwich




East Providence
































Little Compton
















New Shoreham




North Kingstown




North Providence




North Smithfield




























South Kingstown










City/ Town

Total Sales



of Sales

Average Sales

Price ($)

















West Greenwich


















Total Sales


Average Sales



of Sales

Price ($)

















Little Compton








Newport County




7. Housing Assistance

Housing assistance is available in many forms through a number of different governmental and social service agencies. The Town of Jamestown has had an active affordable housing program since 1987. The Town Planning Department and Church Community Housing Corporation (CCHC), a non-profit housing group servicing Newport County, administers this program. The Town Housing Authority provides affordable housing for seniors in Jamestown. The Town also has an Affordable Housing Committee, which was formed by the Town Council to assist and advise the Town on housing programs, and issues as they relate to the community. Current housing resources available through the Town include the following:

    1. Jamestown Housing Authority
    2. The Jamestown Housing Authority currently operates Pemberton Apartments, 35 units of Federally subsidized senior housing on Pemberton Avenue in Jamestown. Pemberton Apartments were constructed in 1969. The complex is comprised of seven buildings with a combination of studio and one-bedroom units, and 35 residents currently occupy Pemberton Apartments. Rents are calculated at 30 percent of the occupant’s household income.

    3. Church Community Housing Corporation
    4. The Church Community Housing Corporation (CCHC) has been a valuable housing resource in the Jamestown Community. This non-profit has been responsible for the administration of the Town’s home repair programs, they are owner of the Bayside Terrace Apartments, and sponsored the construction of Pemberton Place, a 12-unit senior housing adjacent to the Pemberton Apartments. Pemberton Place was constructed in 1990-1991 by funding through HUD’s Section 208 program and is managed by a private management company.

    5. Jamestown Affordable Housing Committee
    6. This committee is comprised of Jamestowners with a variety of backgrounds. The committee was revived in 1989 with the goal of assisting the Planning Commission with the development of the Housing Element of the Comprehensive Plan, as well as assisting in the formulation of the Towns Community Development Block Grant Program, and advising the Town Council on housing issues.

    7. Jamestown Planning Department
    8. The Planning Department is the Town’s community contact for community housing programs and resources. The Planning Department is responsible for the preparation and administration of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, community outreach for housing programs, and provides other technical assistance as needed.

    9. Welfare Officer
    10. The Town of Jamestown has an appointed Welfare Officer who provides housing referrals and emergency financial assistance to Jamestown residents.

    11. Bridges, Incorporated
    12. Bridges, Incorporated is a non-profit agency, which provides residential supports for people with developmental disabilities in the Town of Jamestown. This agency operates group homes and assists people who live in their own homes or apartments. The people who receive services from Bridges, Incorporated have become integral parts of the Jamestown community.

    13. New Visions of Newport County
    14. New Visions of Newport County provides housing information and referrals for persons needing housing assistance. This agency also helps the homeless/emergency housing clients with referrals and financial assistance.

    15. Rhode Island Housing

Rhode Island Housing (RIH) is a public agency which was created in 1973 to expand available affordable housing resources and programs. RIH currently operates numerous programs available to the community including programs for first time homebuyers, home repairs, and rental rehabilitation and these programs are offered directly through RIH.

  1. Housing Programs

For the most part, the Town’s housing programs are funded by the State’s Small Cities Program, CDBG Program. This Program is available to Rhode Island communities on a competitive basis. Current housing programs in Jamestown include the following:

    1. Home Repair Program
    2. Administered by CCHC with funds from RIH, this program provides low-interest loans to qualified homeowners to make needed home repairs and improvements, and interest rates and terms vary. Eligible properties include one to four unit owner-occupied homes. Multi-unit dwellings are eligible if at least half of the households fall within HUD moderate-income guidelines. Eligible repairs include those to make the house safer or more livable, such as code violation corrections, heating, plumbing or electrical system improvements, energy efficiency improvements, and septic system improvements. Jamestown has been participating in the Home Repair Program since 1987 and has assisted a total of 11 units of housing.

    3. Revolving Loan Program
    4. This program is similar to the Home Repair program. The revolving loan program is funded through the CDBG Program and is designed to return loan funds into an account that eventually will be self-sustaining. The program is mainly for persons who can not qualify for the Home Repair Program due to limited income. The interest rate for loans is three percent and limited to a 15-year term. To date, Jamestown has assisted 36 homeowners through this program.

    5. Housing Trust Fund
    6. Administered by the Affordable Housing Committee and Planning Office, this program makes funds available to non-profit housing developers to retain or develop affordable housing units. The CDBG Program funds the Housing Trusts Fund. In 1989, the Town assisted the CCHC in the purchase of the Bayside Terrace Apartments, a 20-unit apartment complex in Jamestown; 13 of the 20 units have been set aside for low and moderate-income households with assistance from the State of RI Section 8 program.

    7. Home Ownership Program
    8. This is a very successful program, developed in 1991, to create opportunities for first time homebuyers though the CDBG program.


    9. Jamestown Village
    10. This is a newer facility constructed in 1995 whose goal is to create an assisted living area for seniors within the Town.


    11. Council Action

In 1999, Jamestown approved an act providing for increased tax relief for the elderly citizens of Jamestown. Eligibility requirements are age 65 and over, and the individual must live in the house for 5 years. Need is based on income and the Federal Poverty Guideline, which is comprised of 5 levels of income and determines the percent of exemption.





9. Future Housing Needs

Future Town housing programs should recognize the importance of balancing development and protecting the Town’s natural environment. Town policy does not support the use of density bonuses or reduced requirements for the provision of affordable housing. Affordable housing should be scattered throughout downtown and be consistent with the existing neighborhood character.

In past years, the focus of the Town’s affordable housing program has been the maintenance of existing affordable housing structures. Over the years this improvement program has been effective and residents have been successful in maintaining their homes and properties. The low interest loan program that the Town currently offers to residents should continue to be available.

Due to the high cost of real estate and the diminishing availability of land, there is an increased need in the community for the development of additional single-family affordable housing opportunities. Residents who have grown up in Jamestown are finding it increasingly difficult to afford to purchase a home and stay in Town. Although some of this need is being met with assistance from RIH's first time homebuyers program, additional assistance for first time homebuyers should continue to be the focus of the Town’s Affordable Housing Program. This need has been recognized by the Affordable Housing Committee and has been included in the Town’s CDBG program application each year.

Other methods for the provision of affordable housing should also be pursued. Amendments to the existing zoning would allow the development of duplexes in areas with public water and sewer service. This type of development would be consistent with the existing neighborhood density and character. The development of three to four unit apartment structures in the Commercial Limited (CL) Zone would also be consistent with the character of this area. Presently, the CL zone contains a mix of commercial businesses, multi-family units and single-family units.

Another potential method for increasing affordable housing is the use of accessory apartments. This issue has been the subject of several proposed Zoning Ordinance Amendments over the last decade with no success in their endorsement. It has been suggested recently that the Affordable Housing Committee and the Planning Commission look at the potential of allowing accessory apartments only for housing of relatives and/or caregivers. The allowance of this type of development would require additional investigation and if accepted, should be controlled via the attachment of appropriate conditions and restrictions.

Housing needs for senior citizens and handicapped individuals are currently addressed by Pemberton Apartments, Pemberton Place, and the Jamestown Village. These apartments offer a total of 67 units for low and moderate-income seniors and handicapped individuals. Although past occupancy patterns and existing waiting lists indicate that the need for this type of housing has diminished over the past few years, recent improvements to the housing units and services may alter this pattern and create an additional need for senior and handicapped housing.

  1. Housing Achievements Based Upon the 1991 Goals, Policies, Recommendations and Implementation Methods

This section lists the goals, policies, recommendations and implementation methods as stated in the 1991 Comprehensive Community Plan. The community achievements since 1991 follow the listing of the Recommendations and Implementation methods and describe what results or actions have occurred on each particular recommendation, and why it has or has not been implemented/successful.


a. Encourage mixed use development of the downtown commercial district only where parking and other basic amenities are available.

    1. Amend Section 310 to prohibit residential construction on first floor of commercial lots in the Downtown Commercial zoning district.

b. Encourage the development of 3 to 4 unit affordable housing in the Commercial Limited zoning district.

    1. Amend Section 310 to separate 3 to 4 units as a use category allowed by special exception in the CL zone with a Site Plan Review requirement.
    2. Amend Section 320, Dimensional Regulations for 3 to 4 unit structures in this district (reduce setbacks, min. lot size).

c. Encourage the development of additional duplexes in the Commercial Limited and the R-8 zoning districts.

    1. Amend Section 320 - Dimensional Regulations for multi-family units in this district (reduce setbacks, min. lot size, lot coverage).

d. Further investigate the feasibility of accessory apartments as a method of providing affordable housing.

    1. Affordable Housing Committee should conduct additional investigation into accessory apartment ordinances.

The encouragement of mixed use development of the downtown commercial district only where parking and other basic amenities are available has not been addressed as it has not been a problem. A Development Plan Review requirement is required for all new uses in Commercial Districts. Section 320 has not been amended nor were there development of additional duplexes, but both should be implemented to encourage affordable housing. The Planning Commission in cooperation with the Affordable Housing Committee should conduct additional investigation into accessory apartment ordinances, specifically whose purpose is strictly for family members.


    1. Continue utilization of an Area Housing Office and Planning Department for the administration of low and moderate income housing programs.
    2. Continue Town programs for low interest home repair loans for low and moderate income families utilizing Community Development Block Grant Program and RIHMFC.

    1. Expand program to include loans for non owner-occupied units.

    1. Continue utilization of state and/or federal housing funds for a Housing Trust Fund to create or retain affordable housing.

    1. Focus funding on creation of opportunities to provide single family housing for first time homebuyers.

    1. Seek permanent protection of large multi-family affordable housing units.

    1. Maintain current stock of federally assisted housing - Bayside Terrace Apartments, Pemberton Apartments and seek opportunities to increase stock.

    1. Encourage the use of energy efficient construction for all housing units.

    1. Information should be made available by the Town to individuals and private housing contractors which address energy efficient housing construction.

    1. Eliminate fees for public service connections where units will remain affordable for low and moderate income families as defined by US Department of Housing and Urban Development in perpetuity.

    1. Board of Water and Sewer Commissioners should place a lien for the cost of the service connection upon the property for ten years and reduced 10% yearly.

Jamestown currently utilizes CCHC and the Planning Department for the administration of low and moderate income housing programs. Programs for low-interest home repair loans for solely owner-occupied units are ongoing. Permanent protection of large multi-family affordable housing units should be sought. Our Building Official currently makes home builders aware of the New England Energy Consortium’s Five Star Energy Incentive Program which encourages the use of higher grades of insulation, energy efficient appliances, and offers rebates to homeowners who comply with their more stringent then State Building Code standards.


    1. The Jamestown Housing Authority should be the administering body of the Pemberton Apartments. The future administration of the Town's Section 8 subsidy program should be by the JHA.
    2. The Rhode Island Housing Authority is the administering body of the Pemberton Apartments. The Jamestown Housing Authority has applied to the Federal Government to be the issuing body for Section 8 vouchers in Jamestown. If the Jamestown Housing Authority were the administering body, then the benefit would be a Local instead of a State contact.


    3. The AHC should be maintained as an advisory and action board to assist the Town in carrying out the programs and policies of the Comprehensive Plan Housing Element.

    1. The Committee should continue its review and recommendations for the Community Development Block Grant Program and the Housing Trust Fund.
    2. Begin a development program for the few remaining large parcels of land with the intention of creating affordable housing opportunities. No incentives to developers would be offered for through this program and no change in zoning or subdivision regulations would be allowed.
    3. Develop a program to assist in the development and/or accessibility of single family homes for first time homebuyers.
    4. Prepare a "How-To" manual for first time homebuyers.
    5. Monitor town-owned property for potential affordable housing opportunities.

The AHC is maintained as an advisory and action board which carries out the programs and policies of the Comprehensive Plan Housing Element. No strategies have been developed for the few remaining large parcels of land and property with the intentions of creating affordable housing opportunities. This should still be researched and pursued. Programs are available for single-family home renovation and for first-time homebuyers. The Affordable Housing Committee periodically monitors Town-owned property for potential affordable housing opportunities.




1. Introduction

For a comparatively small community in both land area and population, Jamestown provides a high quality of public services to its residents. Jamestown is able to provide these services at a tax rate that has been consistently among the lowest in the State for years as a result of our highly valued real estate. To clarify this point, a house on Jamestown may be valued 50 percent higher than a similar house in another Rhode Island community. To provide similar public services to each house, each homeowner will pay approximately the same yearly taxes. Jamestowners, however, are assessed a lower tax rate because they are paying taxes on houses that rate a higher value. Therefore, because our real estate is valued so high our residents still pay average taxes because our tax rate is fairly low compared to other communities in the State, even with a lower tax rate.

One of the major influences upon the level and quality of public services and facilities relates to the financial commitment of the community. Jamestown has historically made use of existing buildings, Town-owned land, and volunteer service to keep the cost of public services and facilities to a minimum.

The Town has several major capital projects that must be considered in the next five years. With an increasing population, our tax rate will undoubtedly be impacted in the future with pressing issues facing Jamestown such as: historic water problems, an aging water treatment plant; the required upgrade of our sewage treatment plant; State and Federal regulations; and the need for a new Highway Barn. Reasons for the needs for such capital improvements in such a short time spans is partly coincidental and partly from years of the Towns desire to keep taxes low.

2. Fiscal Analysis

The total budget for Jamestown for the fiscal year 1999/2000 is $10.4 million. Of this, the general government is $4.2 million (40 percent of total budget), as opposed to 47 percent in 1990. The School Department budget is $6.2 million (60 percent of the total budget), versus 53 percent in 1990 (refer to FISCAL ANALYSIS Table and Chart).

In fiscal year 1999/2000, 31 percent of the general government budget is allocated to public safety, versus 22 percent in 1990. Public safety includes the Police Department, Fire Department equipment, and Office of the Building Official. Another 26 percent is allocated to Public Works, as opposed to 23.9 percent in 1990. Public Works includes Administration, Engineering, Highway Department, Snow and Waste Removal, and Public Buildings. Similar to 1990, over 17 percent of the general government budget is allocated to insurance and retirement. This portion of the budget remained constant, even due to the rise in insurance costs and the number of retired employees. This is partly due to the Town employees paying more each year for health insurance co-pays as well as the switch to HMO (Health Maintenance Organization) type health insurance.


Fiscal Analysis




General Government



47 percent



40 percent


School Department



53 percent



60 percent


Public Safety

( percent from General Government)




22 percent



31 percent


Public Works

( percent from General Government)




24 percent



26 percent


Insurance and Retirement



17 percent


17 percent



Percent of Budget from Taxes



79 percent



93 percent


Tax Rate







An analysis of revenue generation reveals that 13 percent, versus 19 percent in 1990, of the revenue needed to operate the Town of Jamestown (including schools) is received from local department revenues. Department revenues include fees for land transfers, document recording, licenses, and applications; camping and boating fees from Fort Getty; inspection fees, parking fees for Mackerel Cove Beach; fines; and investment income. The Town is currently in the process of evaluating the fees from local revenue sources.

A small percentage, 1.8 percent of revenue is received from general revenues. General revenues include State aid to Cities and Towns for schools, interest on late tax payments, and investment income. This revenue is not expected to fluctuate much over time.

The greatest percentage of revenue is received by real estate and personal property taxes. Property taxes include commercial equipment and vehicles. Fully 93 percent of the budget is received from taxes, versus 79 percent in 1990. The present 2000/2001 tax rate is $16.25 per $1,000, versus $18.47 per $1,000 in 1990. Evaluation and property taxation is based upon the1993 evaluation. The interim evaluation program is a statistical update of property values that was last conducted in 1993 and just completed in 2001. Only homes sold within the last five years were inspected and will be effective in 2000 for the 2001 tax rate. A full revaluation will be conducted in 2003.

3. Town Government

The Town is currently operating under a Home Rule Charter adopted by the Town in 1974. The Charter establishes a Town Council and Town Administrator form of Government. The Town Council consists of five members who are elected from the Town at large and serve two-year terms. The Charter also defines the roles and responsibilities of various boards, commissions, and department heads.

4. Community Services and Facilities

a. Administrative/Departmental Services

The administrative and departmental functions of the Town are currently divided among various buildings. Most departments are located either in the Town Hall on Narragansett Avenue or the Town Offices on Southwest Avenue. All buildings are presently occupied to their maximum capacity and do not contain a unified computer system. With the lack of space, the Town Council and many other Boards and committees have to meet in the Library.

William Burgin Architects Incorporated conducted a Space Needs Feasibility Study in October of 1999, looking at the current Town Hall site as well as all other Town owned lots in the downtown area. The Town Hall Site and Town Offices sites on South West Avenue were determined to be appropriate sites for the new consolidated Town Hall. 51.4 percent of the respondents of the 1998 Community Survey preferred the current Town Hall location to the Town Offices site, which gained only 34.1 percent of the vote. The proposed Town Hall houses the Planning Office, Planning and Recreation Clerk, Town Clerk and all functions in the Town Offices and Town Hall.

The preferred site chosen was the Town Hall Site, which would accommodate the proposed 9300 square foot building. The only shortfall for this site is lack of adequate parking. Several options exist to rectify this problem. One is to discuss a shared parking agreement with St Matthews Church. The second is to purchase or lease the lot adjacent (to the west) of the Town Hall on West Street. To accommodate adequate on-site parking, it is recommended that the Town purchase the adjacent lot to the South on West Street as the first option. The second site selected was the Town Offices site, providing 8500 square feet of building. The total cost of each scenario is $1.5 million.

1) Town Hall

The Town Hall is located at 93 Narragansett Avenue in a one-story clapboard structure built in 1883 containing 2,380 square feet. The Town Hall houses the Town Clerk, Tax Assessor, Building Inspector, Board of Canvassers, Town Mapper, a Council Room and Civil Defense. The site offers approximately 30 parking spaces for employees and visitors and is easily accessible from Narragansett Avenue and the parking area on West Street. A handicap access ramp is available in the rear of the building.

The Town Hall building has been well maintained over the years and several additions and modifications have been made to the building to accommodate changing needs. Although the Town Hall is in good physical condition, it is particularly deficient in size. As a result the Town Council and other public meetings must now meet in the library. There are inadequate existing facilities for storage and filing of records, deeds and maps. At the present time, numerous historical archives/records are stored in the vault, which is also utilized as an active public-records research area.

A separate area is needed to serve as a permanent storage area for historical records the Town is legally obligated to retain. Access to the vault located inside the Town Clerk’s office area, requires public access into an active work area.

2) Town Offices Building

The Town Offices building is located at 44 Southwest Avenue at the offices of the former water department. The Town Administrator, Public Works Director, Finance Department, Tax Collector, Water Department Administration, Treasurer, Town Engineer, Recycling Coordinator and an added small conference room are all located in this building. The dog pound and bus storage is also located at this site.

The building offers 3,000 square feet of space and is in fair condition on both the interior and exterior. This shingled two-story wood frame building is handicap accessible although movement within the building is not conducive to handicap needs. The two outbuildings used for storage are also located on this property and are completely inadequate for record or other storage due to rodents and leakage problems. The site has adequate parking and is easily accessible from Southwest Avenue.

3) Town Planning and Recreation

The Towns Planning Office is currently located at 22 West Street, directly behind the Town Hall. The Planning Office is in a small residential structure with adequate parking and storage. This building shares its parking lot with the Town Hall and is easily accessible from West Street, but is not handicap accessible. This small two-story clapboard home is in poor condition and requires routine maintenance. The second floor cannot be utilized as office space due to a steep stairwell and poor structural condition.

4) Animal Control

The goal of this department is to maintain the current site for the pound and continue to use the North Kingstown facility when needed. The Town should investigate the feasibility of a new pound near the new highway garage.


5) Harbormaster's Office/Recreation Center

The Recreation Center is located at the East Ferry area at 41 Conanicus Avenue. The Recreation Department office, equipment storage room, game room, shower room, two rest rooms, gymnasium, platform and Harbormaster's office are all located in this building. Until 1991, the Towns Police Station was also located in the northern portion of the building this is now the Harbor Office. The Recreation Center was built by the Federal Government in 1939 and functioned as a United Services Organization building during the Second World War. The building was donated to the Town during the 1950's.

Although called the "Rec Center", this building actually serves as a community center for Jamestown. Activities that take place here include aerobics, volleyball, junior and senior open recreation, community theatre, community art show, crafts show, basketball and voting. Other activities include the Substance Abuse Prevention Task Force functions, dances, musical productions, gymnastics, weight training, meetings, exercise for physically and mentally challenged, winter baseball training, and road race and bicycle race headquarters. Hundreds of people utilize this facility weekly. Unfortunately, the recreation center is not large enough to meet the capacity of the various programs that are offered to residents. Activities such as adult and youth ballet, dance, tap, morning and evening yoga, tai chi, and body sculpting are offered at the golf course’s country club building.

The Recreation Center building is 4,218 square feet. Approximately 550 square feet is office space and the remainder comprises bathrooms, lobby and the gymnasium. The building is easily accessible from Conanicus Avenue and Union Street. A handicapped accessible ramp is available at the Union Street entrance. The building is presently in fair condition. The Recreation Department has a capital facility plan that is funded yearly based on priority needs.

Renovations to the Recreation Center are needed. A phased improvement program has begun for this facility. The focus of the first phase was renovations to the rooms. These renovations included two interior and two exterior handicapped accessible rest rooms and construction of handicap ramps. Improvements to the electrical and heating system are next to be completed. The second phase is contingent upon funding and is expected to include exterior improvements including replacement of shingles, and additional improvements to the heating and electrical system. Window replacements were completed in February 2001.

The grounds surrounding of the building has its own problems. There is serious erosion of the bank in front of the building adjacent to the steps. The Town was approached by the Quononoquott Garden Club regarding funding a beautification project for the grounds in front of the Recreation Center. Local Architect, Tom Todd volunteered to design the project. The Plan designed by Tom Todd was comprehensive and is estimated to cost approximately $200,000. In response, the Town has formed Friends of the Jamestown Community Center. The project will be funded through Town funds, fundraising and Garden Club funds. As of January 2001, $150,000 of private money has been raised. The Town has budgeted money this year and is expected to budget additional funds next year.

b. Educational Services and Facilities

The Town of Jamestown provides educational services on the Island for pre-school through grade 8. For grades 9 through 12, students are transported to the North Kingstown High School where the Town contracts for educational services.

The school facilities consist of two schools, the Lawn Avenue School and the Melrose Avenue School. The Melrose Avenue School was constructed in 1991 and serves pre-school through grade 4. The Lawn Avenue School serves Grades 5 though 8.

Melrose Avenue School Lawn Avenue School

Past enrollment figures within the school system are in ELEMENTARY AND HIGH SCHOOL ENROLLMENT JAMESTOWN, RI Graph. These figures indicate that both elementary and high school enrollments have increased slightly over the past decade.

The cost of providing education services continues to rise. The total school-operating budget has risen an average of 5.5 percent annually. Simultaneously, State and Federal aid have decreased as compared to 1990. Approximately 30 percent of the 1999-2000 budget was spent on tuition to other schools, including North Kingstown High School, and vocational and special education schools. The number of school employees has increased by 20 employees since 1992 (refer to FULL TIME EMPLOYEES Graph and NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES Chart).

Out of the 94 Jamestown students who attend independent schools, 64 of these students attend catholic schools. Monsignor Clark School and Prout Memorial School have the highest enrollment of Jamestown students of all private schools. Clarks School offers education for grades K through 6 and receives 14 percent enrollment from Jamestown; Prout Memorial receives 31 percent of its students from Jamestown and is attended by grades 7 through 12. The Town is required to provide transportation and science, math, and foreign language books for students to attend private schools within their district. This district consists of Jamestown, Washington County and West Greenwich. The Jamestown School Department does not financially provide for students who attend private schools outside of the district.

The construction of Melrose Avenue School is expected to accommodate students for many years into the future. Based upon information provided by the School Department and the RI Department of Education, the capacity of the Lawn Avenue School is 350 and the capacity of the Melrose Avenue school is 450 for a total capacity of 800 students. Our current enrollment for Lawn Avenue School is 288 and 386 for the Melrose Avenue School.


Source: Jamestown School Department, 1999


Number Employed at Jamestown School

Year Range
























































Source: Jamestown School Department, 1999



c. Library Services

The Town has an excellent library service available to its residents. The Philomenian Library is located on North Road near the center of Town. The facility is approximately 10,500 square feet and is in excellent condition. The original library was constructed in 1971 entirely from private funds.

The Philomenian Library meets and reflects the needs of the community by providing all ages with relevant and appropriate library materials and services. The Library seeks to educate, inform, entertain and enlighten through both tradition and new technologies and also provides a center for meeting and learning.

With the assistance of the Department of State Library Services, Jamestown residents completed a 1.4 million dollar renovation and building addition in October of 1993, so that the Library now has a public meeting room, quiet study rooms, a separate children’s area and a circulation area. Foundation monies and private donations provided half of the funds for the building and furnishings. No local tax money was levied but the Town of Jamestown provides support to maintain, insure, clean, heat, light and staff the building.

In January of 1993, the Jamestown Philomenian Library began circulation through the Internet in the CLAN system with the aid and generosity of the Champlin Foundations and the hard work of the Library’s staff and volunteers. A grant from the Rhode Island Department of State Library Services provided the Library with temporary data entry, which was essential to achieving its goal.

The Library now has three full-time professional librarians, four part-time library assistants and the hours of operation have increased. The Library is open 46 hours per week.

Repairs to the Library are handled through a building committee. A theft detection system was obtained with the Champlin Foundation money in 1996. Additionally, the Library is on its second computer network also funded by the Champlin Foundations. The network now supports eighteen computers, and sophisticated access to the Net and other information products.

In the area of direct service, the Library has started two book discussion groups, began indexing the Jamestown Press, initiated the Towns successful and on-going TV Turn-Off Week program with the Jamestown School. It has introduced the public to on-line catalogs and system-wide holds, created a web page patrons can use to search the CLAN database and also reserve books from home, all while maintaining the tradition of personal service.

The Friends of the Jamestown Library sponsor and coordinate various film and music series. Many children’s programs are available and they offer speakers on various topics for adults. The Friends of the Jamestown Library match the contributions of the Rhode Island Committee for the Humanities in order to make these programs available.

The Library’s strategic planning committee has recognized the greatest challenge for the future will be to maintain quality, personal service for their clientele while becoming a vehicle capable of driving on the "information superhighway".

d. Public Works Services and Facilities

The Public Works Department includes administrative and engineering, highway division, transfer station and recycling, water treatment, and sewer treatment.

1) Administration and Engineering

The Towns Director of Public Works is responsible for the administration of all public works services and personnel. The Town contracts an engineer who is responsible for engineering services as they pertain to public facilities. The Engineer also works with the Planning Commission in the administration of the specifications of the Subdivision Regulations.

2) Highway Department

The Highway Division is located at the Town Garage at Fort Wetherill. This facility is actually a former submarine mine storehouse built during World War II. In the 1970's, the property was declared excess by the Federal government and in 1974, the Town received title to it for public health use.

The building is now used for storage and repair of Town vehicles and equipment. It is constructed of reinforced concrete and contains 9,744 square feet. The building and surrounding land area provides inadequate storage and employee space and parking area. The building is in poor condition and this type of construction would make major alterations difficult and expensive. Single access garage doors are not practical for use as a public highway garage and the salt water is destructive to equipment. The remote location of this facility does not interfere with existing residential development.

The Town has been directed by the US Government to utilize the building in accordance with the original intent of the land transfer or to purchase the property. A Town Council appointed Committee recommends a new location for a Highway Garage on a Town owned parcel east of the current transfer station.

The 1999/2000 fiscal year has allotted $300,000 to be used for the Highway Garage. Monetary estimates given for the full facility range from $600- $800,000. Parts of this money have been used for background studies for the siting of the new Highway garage. The Town Council is still deciding on the size and location of the facility.

3) Trash Removal

The Towns Transfer Station is located off of North Road at the north end of the Island on the site of the former municipal landfill. The facility was constructed in 1985 and is in good condition. Town residents utilize the Transfer Station for trash disposal. A yearly fee is charged to all residents who utilize the transfer station. Trash is compacted into a trailer and hauled directly to eventual disposal at the State Landfill in Johnston. There is $49,200 in revenue from the 1230 households; over 50 percent transport their trash to the transfer station. The remaining households contract with a private trash hauler for curbside pick-up.

Sludge composting involves the composting of sewage from the Towns Wastewater Treatment Plant. As of December of 1998, sludge composting is no longer done on site at the Towns Transfer Station, it is now incinerated in Woonsocket. Composting is available to all residents for disposal of leaves, clippings, and grass. After this refuse is composted, it is available to residents free of charge for grass and garden fertilizer.

The Town also operates a mandatory household recycling program. This program is mandated by the State and includes the recycling of glass, plastic, aluminum and newspapers. The recycling program requires weekly curbside pick-up of the designated recyclable materials. An average of 17 percent of all household trash in Jamestown is recycled. This is approximately 14 tons of recycled material per week, and 16 pounds per household per week.


e. Public Water Supply and Treatment

The Towns public water system dates back to the 1890's when it was run as a private company. In 1969, the Town purchased the system that consists of two reservoirs, two bedrock wells, a water treatment facility, and approximately 20.5 miles of water distribution lines. Jamestown has also been purchasing water from North Kingstown since 1993.

Approximately 99 percent of the water supply from the reservoirs are surface water runoff and about 1 percent is natural spring fed. The North Reservoir is located in the northeast quadrant of the intersection between North Road and the John Eldred Parkway. It has a watershed of approximately 192 acres and a water body area of 28 acres. The net useable storage from this reservoir is 60 million gallons. The South Reservoir is located just north of the Great Creek on the western side of North Road. This reservoir has a watershed of 448 acres and a water body area of 7.3 acres. Its useable capacity is approximately 8 million gallons. The two reservoirs are connected and deliver water to the treatment facility through a 10-inch PVC main. According to the 2001 Fay Spofford & Thorndike Report the total maximum safe daily yield for the North Reservoir has increased from 100,000 gallons (1990) to 321,000 gallons (2001) and 30,000 gallons (1990) to 83,000 gallons (2001) for the South Reservoir. The Water Supply Management Plan prepared by Pare Engineering in 2001 provides more detailed information on water supply. A number of bedrock wells were drilled in the late 1990s and 2 currently supply water to our water supply system.

The Jamestown Public Water Supply has a pre-treatment facility located at South Reservoir. This facility pre-treats between 180,000 to 500,000 gallons per day. This total is 350,000 gallons per day in 1999. Flow monitoring pre-treatment consists of pH adjustment and chlorine dioxide (CLO2) added for disinfection, bleaching for odor, color, and taste. In 1991, the Town constructed a new water treatment and filtration plant with automated controls. The water treatment process is upflow clarafloculator filtration package units, pH adjustments, disinfection, and corrosion control.

The Town presently has 1390 customers (slightly over 60 percent of total Town population) on the public water supply including the following water users: 1 hotel with 32 rooms (Bay Voyage); 3 large multi-family complexes consisting of a total of 85 units; 1 senior housing complex with 46 units, located behind the Portuguese American Club; 67 commercial properties, and Municipal Buildings

The remaining customers are generally single family homes. Linear footage of water distribution lines is 20.5 miles and consists mostly of 6-inch and 8-inch pipe (refer to PUBLIC FACILITIES AND PUBLIC WATER AND SEWER AND SERVICE AREAS Map). Over 50 percent versus 75 percent in 1990, of the pipe are newer than 20 years old and the pipe is in good to excellent condition. Existing pipe is 40 percent cast iron, 35 percent PVC, and 25 percent AC. The Town also has approximately 100 fire hydrants.

Average per capita water consumption is 55 gallons per day for residential users, compared to surrounding Towns 75 gallons/day/person. Commercial use is approximately 250 gallons/day per connection. Total usage on a low day is approximately 180,000 gallons; high seasonal usage is over 400,000 gallons/day, versus 350,000 gallons in 1990. As a result of the increased demand for water and the dry summer months, Jamestown has seen a shortage in their water supply and purchased water from North Kingstown.

The Town has a one million-gallon capacity steel standpipe for storage of water. It was constructed in 1974, refurbished in 1998 and stores approximately 950,000 gallons. It is located at the highest point in the system, Howland Avenue, and distributes water through a gravity supply.

The main service area for the public water supply is the village area. The urban district is the area that has historically served as the commercial and residential focus for the Island. Public services and facilities have traditionally been located in the village area. Water service is also supplied to the rural water district. The current policy of the Town would rather have residents drill private wells rather than dig new connections in the rural district, this is due only to the water shortage problems. Water service connection in this area is subject to the approval of the Towns Board of Water and Sewer Commissioners and must be consistent with the Comprehensive Community Plan.

The Town has taken the following measures to protect the Towns water supply:

    1. Water/Sewer Regulations
    2. Established an Urban and Rural Water and Sewer District that are regulated by the Board of Water and Sewer Commissioners.


  1. Active land acquisition program
  2. Over the past 10 years, the Town has permanently protected through outright purchase, purchase of development rights, or conservation easements over 570 acres in the Towns watershed. This represents permanent protection of 73 percent of the total land in the watershed. With the addition of the Capozzi, the amount of protected land increased by 9.8 acres.

  3. Zoning Ordinance
  4. The existing ordinance requires a 5-acre minimum lot size (RR-200) in the watershed. Also required is a development plan review process by the Planning Commission for all construction in the watershed (Town of Jamestown, Zoning Ordinance, Article 8). Land uses that have potential negative impact on water quality from the RR-200 zoning district are prohibited.

  5. Land Management
  6. An active mowing and land management program has been established to protect and maintain the watershed.

  7. Water Conservation Regulations

Was updated in 1986, 1997 and is currently a component of the Water Supply Management Plan of 1999. The Water Resources Protection Committee has been allotted $100,000 in their budget for water resources protection for 1999-2000. The Town will be developing an Emergency Response Plan consistent with the RI Department of Health and the Water Resources Coordinating Council. Existing emergency response procedures include:

    1. A Water Resources Committee.
    2. A 1,000,000-gallon standpipe water tower, which would supply water in an emergency.
    3. The Town has required that the RI Department of Transportation design a closed drainage system for the new Rte. 138 connector road that will prevent road runoff and any other potential runoff from entering the watershed.
    4. The Town has a Well–head Protection Plan.

The Town enforces water conservation practices. These practices include a requirement by the Board of Water and Sewer Commissioners for water saving devices and multifamily requests for water service. A base rate is established for the initial 5,000 gallons of usage, and the rate increases in increments as consumption increases. Retrofitting to water saving fixtures lower the amount of water needed for dishwashers, showerheads and toilets. Rebates are also given for water saving varieties of toilets. The State building code encourages water conservation. Under this code, all new construction in Town complies with the 1.6 gallons low-flush toilet requirement of the RI Building Code.

To further encourage conservation, the Town has begun an active environmental education program that includes water conservation practices and the Town-wide distribution of water conservation kits. The Town mandates mandatory water conservation based upon the level of north reservoir. Bulk Mailings and stuffers have also been utilized to advise consumers of water conservation practices.

The Town has an established metering policy by which all water for the Town of Jamestown is metered for both commercial and domestic users. Water usage in public buildings is also metered. The Town is systematically replacing existing meters with remote reading meters. Jamestowns Water Department owns all the meters and there are only a few meters left to be replaced.

Since the Towns purchase of the Water Department in 1969, there has been an aggressive replacement program for all inadequate and substandard water lines. The Town has a computer program that acknowledges aberrations in water usage and subsequent checks are made for leaks. Additionally, the Town has an active program of looping water lines and also requires developers to replace inadequate or substandard water lines at their cost.

The Town Council sits as the Board of Water and Sewer Commissioners. This Board is the governing body of the Towns water supply. The Board creates and administers public water policies through the Public Works Director who is the head of the Water Department. The Public Works Department, Town Engineer, and Water Division personnel are responsible for the full implementation and operation of the public water supply. Because the Town does not sell water outside of the municipality, it’s not regulated by the Public Utilities Commission.

f. Waste Water Treatment Plant

The Towns Wastewater Treatment Plant is located on a 7-acre parcel at Taylor's Point in the central area of Jamestown. The Plant was constructed in 1978 of masonry block with a wood truss roof and is in excellent condition. In 1998 a study was conducted to determine what upgrades are necessary to rehabilitate the old equipment. The Plant needs refurbishing and the Town passed a bond referendum in 2000 for $5,500,000 for this purpose. Customers of the system will pay for the entire upgrade.

The Plant receives sewage from the existing sanitary sewers that previously discharged into Narragansett Bay. This facility greatly improved environmental quality and alleviated potential health problems in the Town. The facility provides secondary treatment of sewage from approximately 980 households, versus 925 houses in 1990, located in the Urban Sewer District.

The Towns Board of Water and Sewer Commissioners is responsible for setting policy, as it relates to the Towns sewage treatment. Current regulations of the Board only allow those households with frontage along existing sewer lines to connect to the system. In addition, the Town often may require upgrades to existing lines as a condition of connection approval.

Because of their age, one major problem with the existing sewer lines is the infiltration of groundwater into the lines. The infiltration reduces the amount of the system’s treatment capacity. During heavy rainstorms, up to 1-million gallons per dayinfiltrates the sewer lines. Additionally, the connection of gutter drains and sump pumps to the sewer lines causes a reduction in the treatment capacity of the system. The infiltration has been aggressively reduced by door to door searches during the upgrading of water meters and by smoke testing.

g. Municipal Golf Course

The Town owns a golf course located in the center Island area of Jamestown. The golf course is situated on land approximately 70 acres in size. The 9-hole facility, which includes a clubhouse, is currently leased and operated privately. The clubhouse building also has a second floor leased to sailmaker and the Recreation Department for limited programs.




In 1986, the Town purchased the golf course and building in an effort to prevent future development of this site and to maintain the property as a golf course. Since the Towns purchase, a Conservation Easement preventing future development of the property was sold to the RI Department of Environmental Management. The Town now uses effluent water from wastewater treatment plant for irrigation of the golf course.

    1. Senior Services

The new Senior Center was funded with the help of the Senior Citizen Study Commission’s finding plans. State grants and donations from non-profit foundations were also aggressively utilized. The Senior Center completed renovation of the Grange on West Street in 1997.

In 1995, the Senior Center received funds in the amount of $50,000 for renovations from the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). In 1996, the Senior Center asked again for funding and was denied. Ongoing improvements have been made on a volunteer basis and through additional CDBG funding. Improvements since 1995 have included handicap accessibility including an elevator, replacing the roof, windows, insulation and reshingling the majority of building, landscaping and a new computer system.

i. Public Safety

1) Police Station

It is the mission of the Jamestown Police Department to protect and to provide for the public safety of the general public, and to enforce the laws of the State of Rhode Island and the ordinances of the Town of Jamestown. The Police Department’s mission is also to create a proactive partnership with the residents of the Town of Jamestown that best serves the needs of the community and to attain a high quality of life for all. The department seeks to work with Jamestowns citizens to solve the problems facing our community.

Although the budget for the Police Department has increased from 22 percent in 1990 to 31 percent in the fiscal year 2000, there were many changes and improvements that took place. The new Police Station was built in 1991, and is located across from the municipal golf course on Conanicus Avenue houses a radio room, office space, three cells, confidential office area, locker rooms, photo lab, with filing and storage space. The space is approximately 5,000-square feet. and is easily accessible from Conanicus Avenue with handicap accessibility.

There have been many changes in the department’s capability over the past 10 years. There have been several upgrades including upgraded surveillance cameras and an upgraded computer network.

The Department has 13 sworn police officers. Among them there are two sergeants, one lieutenant, and one detective. In addition to the chief, there are eight patrolmen, four civilian dispatchers, and one administrative assistant/secretary. The fleet consists of two unmarked cars, a four-wheel drive vehicle and five patrol cars.

There are several programs the Police Department provides to the public. Among them are the Bureau of Investigation Unit, an active DARE program, a Community Policing Unit, a Citizens Police Academy, Neighborhood Watches, and Police Bike Patrols.

There are several items the department would like to see in the years ahead. One of the main concerns is the need for more patrolmen in the department. Often times there is only one officer on patrol at night because of manpower deficiencies. Another need would be the innovation of cellular network technology in mobile data terminals. Theses would assist the officers in streamlining the service they provide while staying on the roads as much as possible. There is also a need to have one officer handle all of the prosecution for the department. Adjudication and district court is very time consuming and prevents officers from performing community duty.

2) Fire and Rescue

Fire Protection in Jamestown is provided to its residents through a volunteer fire department of over 60 persons. In a normal year, the Town averages over 600 calls, 90 percent of these are rescue and the remaining 10 percent are for fires. This system has been extremely successful and provides substantial cost-savings to the community.

The Towns Fire Station is located on Narragansett Avenue in the center of the downtown. This building houses the fire rescue equipment, a dispatch room, and a large meeting area on the second floor. There is adequate parking on site and the building is easily accessible from Narragansett Avenue.

The total public safety budget has increased from 22 percent in 1990 to 31 percent in the 1999/2000 budget. This increase is partially due to the fire and rescue departments need to buy equipment every 20-25 years. In the past 10 years they have purchased 2 rescue trucks, engine 3, tanker 15 and Engine 1 was refurbished.

The department has three pumping engines, a ladder truck, a rescue vehicle, an air truck and a rescue boat. Two tank trucks have a capacity of 1800 gallons each. The Oil Skim boat, received from the DEM in 1999, handles minor incidents in the bay. The department also has it’s own air purification system which allows the Department to compress their own air.

Due to the high water pressure necessary to fight fires, the engines are not able to draw from more than 1 hydrant within the public water supply system area. Therefore, the tanker trucks, which hold their own water, are vital to the effectiveness of the department. If there were more than one fire at a time, there would not be enough pressure from the hydrants to fight both fires at once. The department’s service also has diverse teams trained in repelling rescues, underwater diving, hazardous materials, and oil spill mitigation and decontamination (DEM).

There is no immediate need for construction of a new station, but the officers of the Fire Department have indicated that there may be increased pressure for fire protection in the North End as the population continues to grow. A future site should be selected in anticipation of a substation building. Due to future subdivision activity in the North End a site should be selected in anticipation of a fire substation building that is accessible to North Main Road. A site adjacent to, but not within, the Jamestown Shores neighborhood is recommended.

The most difficult problem facing the department is maintaining a full-time volunteer staff. There are not enough able-bodies available during the day because 76 percent of residents work off Island. The Department needs to utilize new and innovative strategies to promote volunteerism in the department.

The Department is very fortunate to have dedicated volunteers with varied skills and talents such as electronics repair, fire alarm expertise, and truck maintenance. In coming years when several of the departments long-time volunteers retire, the Town will be faced with the inevitable increase in budgetary demands from the department due to the services training these future volunteers will require.

3) Ambulance Services

Jamestown provides ambulance service to its residents via a volunteer ambulance corps. The Ambulance Barn is located on Knowles Court and provides space for the ambulance vehicles and an office. This 500 square foot building is in good condition. The Ambulance Corps has identified additional training and storage space as needs and has received a Champlin Grant for upgrades. The facility upgrade and expansion is under construction in 2001.

4) Emergency Management

The Jamestown Emergency Management Agency was formed in 1980 to develop policies for responding to Town-wide emergencies. The volunteer agency wrote the Towns Emergency Operations Plan. This plan describes the Towns response to all manmade and natural disasters. Copies of the plan are distributed to all personnel who are listed in the organizational chart.

The Town Council appoints the Director of Emergency Management. Responsibilities of other Town personnel who will be on duty to respond to a disaster are clearly delineated in the plan. In the event of an emergency or impending disaster, local officials will gather at the Municipal offices to mobilize resources and report on operations.

The Emergency Management Agency has also developed the Emergency Preparedness Plan for Hurricane Defense. This plan, amended in 1992, describes the necessary precautions and actions to be taken in the event of a hurricane.

Jamestown has installed the Lawn Avenue School and the fire station with emergency generators. With these tasks complete, these two are among the first to qualify as a Red Cross Emergency Shelter.

The Towns plan to deal with hazardous spills uses a chain-of-command similar to that detailed in the Emergency Operations Plan. The list of personnel duties is maintained at the Municipal Offices.

First response to spills of hazardous materials is handled by the Fire Department. The Fire Department keeps a listing of hazardous materials being stored or used on the Island. On-site they maintain 2 complete spill containment kits. Each kit contains booms, absorbent pads, other containment materials, and protective suits for personnel.

To better serve residents in the event of a disaster or emergency, Town officials regularly attend State-sponsored workshops on emergency management. This policy has raised the community’s awareness about potential emergencies and should be continued in the future.

The Town has been encouraged by the State to prepare a Hazard Mitigation Plan. The Town Planning Office is spearheading this effort with the Director of Emergency Management. The Plan will be coordinated with the State Emergency Management Agency and incorporated by reference to this plan when completed.

j. Social Services

The residents of Jamestown have a number of social services available through local, regional, and State agencies. Because of its small population, the Town utilizes services of regional and county agencies. The Town has an appointed Welfare Director who is an important link between the community and these agencies. The use of regional and county services generally works well in Jamestown and it is recommended that the Town continue to utilize this type of arrangement.

    1. New Visions of Newport County
    2. This agency provides Jamestown residents with a wide range of social services. The services include Substance Abuse Prevention program for individuals and their families, energy crisis assistance, home weatherization, community health programs, career and employment development programs, and social services information. Jamestown is represented on the Board of Directors of this agency and provides some funding to New Visions.

    3. Church Community Housing Corporation (CCHC)
    4. CCHC provides Jamestowns low and moderate-income residents with housing assistance including home repair programs, down payment assistance and referrals.

    5. Visiting Nurse Services of Washington County and Jamestown
    6. This agency provides pre-natal and parenting assistance as well as counseling to Jamestown residents.

    7. Bridges, Incorporated

Bridges, Incorporated is a non-profit agency which provides residential supports for people with developmental disabilities in the Town of Jamestown. This agency operates group homes and assists people who live in their own homes or apartments. The people who receive services from Bridges, Incorporated have become integral parts of the Jamestown community.

    1. Public Services and Facilities Achievements Based Upon the 1991 Goals, Policies, Recommendations and Implementation Methods

This section lists the goals, policies, recommendations and implementation methods as stated in the 1991 Comprehensive Community Plan. The community achievements since 1991 follow the listing of the Recommendations and Implementation methods and describe what results or actions have occurred on each particular recommendation, and why it has or has not been implemented/successful.

    1. As part of the Capital Development Program, prepare a five-year Public Services and Facilities Plan which provides a framework for long-term funding, planning, siting, construction, and maintenance of public services and facilities.

    1. Planning Commission should review site specific proposed public facilities for consistency with the Comprehensive Community Plan.
    2. Planning Commission should provide guidance to the Town Administrator and Town Council in the development and implementation of the Public Services and Facilities Plan.
    3. Town Administrator should annually assess the Towns progress in achieving the objectives of the Public Services and Facilities Plan.

As part of the Capital Development Program, a five-year Capital Budget Plan was created which provides a framework for long-term funding, planning, siting, construction, and maintenance of public services and facilities. The Planning Commission reviews site specific proposed public facilities for consistency with the Comprehensive Community Plan. The Planning Commission gives yearly recommendations to the Town Administrator and the Town Council for the capital budget, and the Town Administrator annually assesses the Towns progress regarding the plan.





The State of Rhode Island enacted the Comprehensive Planning and Land Use Regulation Act in 1988. This Act modernized the 1920’s era statutes, which were sorely out of date and under implemented. The 1988 Act mandated the preparation of Comprehensive Community Plans in each City and Town in Rhode Island.

A vital component in the comprehensive planning process is citizen participation. Having successfully implemented a citizen survey in 1978, the Jamestown Town Council and the Jamestown Planning Commission decided to distribute another community citizen survey in January 1990. This survey was instrumental in developing the goals, policies and implementation strategies for the 1991 Comprehensive Community Plan; the first Comprehensive Plan prepared under the new enabling legislation.

Under a State mandate to update the current Comprehensive Community Plan, last May, the Planning Commission and the Town Council again solicited responses to a community survey. The survey was mailed to all registered voters in Jamestown and, to taxpayers not registered to vote in Jamestown as requested. Jamestowner’s returned 1116 of the 3615 surveys distributed. This represents a 31% return rate, which in statistical terms is tremendous.

This summary will provide a synopsis of the 1998 survey as well as provide some comparison between the 1990 and the 1998 surveys.

1. Survey Profile

Over 97% of the respondents were year round residents, and the average age was 53. Almost half (44.8%) live in the village and East Shore Road, followed by 24.5% from the Shores and 18.2 percent from the north end.

Over 73% of responders have lived in Jamestown for more than 11 years and 92% own their own home. Almost one-quarter work in Jamestown, 21.5% work on Aquidneck Island, 20% each work in Northern and Southern Rhode Island, and 14.4% work in Metropolitan Providence. The average household income is between $60,000 and $90,000, with 60% of incomes evenly distributed between $36,000 and $120,000. 38.4% of the respondents have 2 wage earners per household.

Survey responders ranged in age from 18 to 89 with an average age of 53. Most children of respondents attend public schools.

Over 40% responded to the 1990 survey and 26% felt that their views have changed very little since that time.

2. Data Summary

Jamestowners overwhelmingly agree (86.6%) that the main goal for Jamestown is to "maintain the Island’s rural character" and feel that the "natural environment" is the most desirable quality (87%) of living in Jamestown. This is consistent with the 1990 response where 77.4% thought that the "natural environment" was the most desirable quality. Other very desirable equalities include "small town character" (79.6%), "access to bay" (76.5%), and Jamestown’s location in the state (61.6%).

The authors of the survey felt that the Town’s drinking water situation was the most important issue facing the Town and requested responses to 8 different water related questions. The majority (92%) of those surveyed thought the Town has a water quantity problem and 55.6 felt that the Town also has a water quality problem. To solve the water quantity problem, 46.4% want to spend the money required to provide a permanent solution. When posed with measures to mitigate the water quantity problem, 79.5% support public education regarding water management, 57.6% want a Town supported rebate program for installation of water saving devices. Similarly (56.3%) support changing the water use rate structure to discourage excessive water use.

Only 27.3 thought the Town should start planning now to provide municipal water to areas of the Island that now depend on private wells. Almost half (45.5%) of the respondents support requiring water saving upgrades, such as low flush toilets and banning automatic lawn sprinkler systems (56.1%); only 2.8% have automatic lawn sprinklers. There was no consensus on whether the Town Council should also act as the Board of Water Commissioners (40.1%) as opposed to forming a separate commission (37% and 20% unsure).

Two times more respondents (56%) supported a required inspection program for private septic systems than did not support such a program (23%).

Responses were tied about creating historic districts on the Island. Those that did support creating districts wanted them (in order of dominance) downtown, all over the island, and Shoreby Hill. The majority (70%) of responders would like to see the scenic views on Jamestown preserved by managing vegetation growth.

Land preservation continues to be supported by the populace. In 1990, approximately 75% favored continued preservation of open space on both Beavertail and Center Island (watershed) areas. Today, 76.6% want additional open space/recreation land preserved, with 19% of those agreeing only if it does not cost anything. Public/Private partnerships (e.g.: the Town in conjunction with the Nature Conservancy) were the most popular response for how to fund this additional open space/recreation land. Other suggestions include development impact fees (33.5%), 1-3% real estate transfer fee (33%) and municipal bonds (26.4%).

It is most important to buy open space for drinking water protection (67.3%), followed by the protection of natural resources (66.3%), limiting new houses (48%), protecting scenic views (41.9%), and preserving agricultural land (40%).

The survey responders feel that Jamestown has adequate active recreation (72%), passive recreation (68%) and facilities for boating (71%). The level of satisfaction for outdoor recreation has increased over the last 8 years, where in 1990 only 66.6% were satisfied with the facilities.

Most (76.1%) were satisfied with the goods and services in Town while others felt that a new and cleaner grocery market with better prices was desirable. The satisfaction rate was slightly higher (84.5%) in 1990.

The majority (70%) have not used overnight rental rooms in Jamestown and therefore were satisfied (51%) with the number of rental rooms available. Bed and Breakfast houses were supported in some residential areas (41%) while others preferred that they be prohibited (33.1%).

Jamestowners did not see the need for a tourism office (73%) but would like to have a community bulletin board in the downtown area for announcing local events and news (64%). The primary focus of the East Ferry area should be a multi-purpose working waterfront. Most responders (61%) support maintaining facilities for the commercial fishing industry. This is again consistent with the 1990 survey where a majority felt that the current fishing activity should be maintained at not only East Ferry, but Ft. Wetherill Boat Basin and West Ferry.

Over half (52.5%) felt that Jamestown only has a parking problem in the summer and 41.6% feel the Town should therefore develop another municipal lot. An equal number of respondents (25%) felt that it should be either a pay-for-park lot or free to all.

A large number (81%) of those questioned are in favor of a tree planting/replacement program along major roads in Jamestown. Specifically, Narragansett Avenue and Southwest Avenue were targeted for such a program in addition to other major roads.

Many (58%) want a system of bike routes developed in Jamestown that are along major roads but separated by a grassed area (22.1%). Except for Carr Lane (42% not wide enough, 39% just right), most respondents were satisfied with the road widths of major roads in Jamestown.

Almost half of the respondents did not want to see additional water transportation encouraged in Jamestown. Those who did want to see additional service (26%) wanted to see it occur to Providence and up and down Narragansett Bay.

46% would support development review of new houses; similar to what the Planning Commission does now for new commercial development. The responses were equal for and against allowing accessory apartments within single family homes.

If constructed, most (51%) of responders want to see the new, consolidated Town Hall in the same location as the existing Town Hall. The majority (52%) do not want utility wires, such as telephone and electric, relocated underground in the Downtown area.

3. Conclusion

Respondents agreed with all the goals of the current Comprehensive Community Plan. This information as well as the above information will be useful to the Planning Commission in forming or reiterating overall goals and policies for the updated Comprehensive Plan. The information, however, will not be used as an all-inclusive indicator of public preferences for land use decisions and policy formulation. Public workshops and hearings will complement the survey. These additional meetings will serve as a verifier of the survey and will allow information to be discussed in more detail.


B. BuildOut

In the spring of 2000, the Town of Jamestown conducted a buildout analysis. A buildout analysis is a method of determining the maximum potential future population under current rules and regulations of a community and environmental conditions. After the maximum population is calculated, the community can plan long-range goals and policies to protect natural resources and provide services and facilities.

  1. Assumptions and Considerations

Jamestown’s buildout analysis was conducted with the following assumptions and considerations:

    1. Current zoning regulations are intact.
    2. Average household size is 2.41 persons per household for 1990 through 2000 (based on 1990 Census Bureau Data). Future projections are 2.41 persons per household based on the State Department of Planning Statistics.
    3. An average of ten percent of the land will be used for roads and infrastructure in subdivided residential area (this percentage was average for Jamestown subdivisions).
    4. Wetland property protected under the Wetlands Protection Act, enforced by regulations administered by the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM), will not be built upon.
    5. Extensions and connections into the Town's sewer or water system are consistent with current 2000 regulations of the Board of Water and Sewer Commissioners.
    6. All new residential development will be single family homes.
    7. All dwelling units are year round, not seasonal, units.

  1. Definitions

The following definitions may be useful in interpreting the Buildout Analysis:

    1. DEVELOPABLE LAND - All land which is currently vacant, not protected from development through deed restrictions, easements, or open space zoning and does not contain natural characteristics which would prohibit development (the presence of wetlands or constraints due to soil type).
    2. DEVELOPED LAND - Land that, no matter what the size, has a structure with value over $10,000.
    3. PERMANENTLY PROTECTED LAND - Properties that are protected by public ownership, ownership by private organization whose main goal is land preservation, deed restrictions, purchased development rights, conservation easements and the like.
    4. DEED RESTRICTION LIMITING DENSITY - Properties that may or may not be developed but will never be developed to their full potential due to a deed restriction limiting density.
    5. VACANT - All land that does not have any structures valued over $10,000 and includes but is not limited to undeveloped residential and commercial lands, water bodies, agricultural land, recreation land, and open space lands.

The tables that follow show results of the Buildout Analysis, including projected future population for each Town plat, projected number of units for each plat, and total potential connections to the Town's water and sewer services. It should be remembered that a buildout analysis reflects the greatest possible growth under current conditions. Other factors such as environmental and economic conditions influence land development and will ultimately influence the rate of population growth






Vacant Land


Developable (vacant)


Developed (includes subdividable properties)



Potential New Units (Based on Current Zoning)


With Sewer and Water

With Water Only

No Services




Potential New Population (Based on 2.41 pph)


2000 Population




Percentage Increase










Single Family Homes




Single Family Homes

in Commercial Districts



































































































* See Plat Map Index on page 237















INCREASE (2.41 pph)























































































* See Plat Map Index on page 237












INCREASE (2.41 pph)









































* - Vacant developable includes vacant lots and does not include subdividable lots.

** - Includes potential units on vacant developable land as well as subdividable land.




















Capacity of Water System 1667


















Hydraulic Capacity of Sewer System Approx. 2750 hookups *

Ideal Capacity of Sewer System 3750 hookups *


Average Daily Usage: 200 gallons/day/family

Treatment Capacity: 0.75 million gallons/day

Current Usage: 185,000 gallons/day

* Due to conditions of existing sewer pipes, groundwater infiltrates pipes adding an additional

200,000 to 1.3 million gallons of water treated per day depending on the season. This reduces the

maximum capacity of the sewage treatment plant from 3,750 to approximately 2,750 units.

3. Findings of Buildout Analysis

According to the buildout analysis, if current building activity is maintained at the present rate of approximately 27 new single family homes per year, the Town could be fully developed in 42 years or about the year 2042. This number could drastically change if the rate of building were to increase or decrease significantly. The average number of new homes built in the 1980s was 48 and it was 46 in the 1970. Total buildout would increase the population to 8,313 persons, an increase of 32 percent over the current estimated population.

Areas, which would experience the highest rate of growth, are the northern end of Jamestown and Beavertail peninsula as well as the center island south of the John Eldred Parkway. These areas with the least current development and are predominately open space, woodlands, farmland and wetland areas. These areas are also very scenic and ecologically sensitive. Current zoning regulations require a minimum lot size of 80,000 square feet for development on the majority of the north end, 200,000 square feet minimum lot size in the center island area and 40,000 square feet minimum lot size in the Shores. Public water service is available to lots that have frontage along Beavertail Road. A large portion of land both in the north end and Beavertail is temporarily protected under the Farm, Forest and Open Space Program.

Many attempts have been made to protect our scenic and ecologically sensitive areas. Of the 508 acres of farmland, 66 acres are permanently protected, not including active recreation, there are 989 acres of permanently protected land in Jamestown. Deed restrictions limit the density of approximately 181 acres and 7 acres have conservation easements over portions of residential property. The Conanicut Island Land Trust (CILT) estimates that we have 1,484 acres of permanently protected land, 88 acres of conservation easement land and over 700 acres of farmland, of which 225 are permanently protected. It is estimated that the discrepancy is due to the CILT having a more complete inventory of lands with conservation easements. Without extensive deed research, this information is not available to the Town.

Another projected area of high growth is the Jamestown Shores neighborhood, which could increase approximately 33 percent. An increase of this magnitude in the Jamestown Shores neighborhood under current conditions will result in the potential for groundwater pollution from numerous ISDS in close proximity to private wells. With the drought conditions in the past two summers, there is a risk of wells running dry and salt-water intrusion. There are already many instances of wells running dry in this area. They are unofficially reported due to the threat of loss of real estate value. To avoid these potentially hazardous situations, local regulation and control over development is necessary.

The buildout analysis predicts that the Dumplings area could increase up to 50 percent over its current population. Large lot zoning of 80,000 square feet minimum lot requirement protects the Dumplings area, and public water service is available to lots with frontage along a portion of Highland Avenue, Walcott Avenue, Fort Wetherill Road and Racquet Road.

The Village area is likely to experience the least amount of future growth because of the limited amount of developable land available. A maximum population increase of 17 percent may be realized in this area.

The buildout analysis is a useful tool in future planning for public services and facilities. The growth potential in the water and sewer districts is extremely important because of the limited capacity of these systems. The buildout analysis shows that, if all land were to be developed, the water use of these units would continue to exceed the capacity of the Town's public water supply. This indicates an immediate need for a strict water conservation policy and for continued investigation of ways to increase the public water supply system.

The current condition of the Town's sewer lines allows for vast amounts of groundwater to infiltrate into the sewer pipes and into the treatment facility. The infiltration reduces the amount of wastewater that can be treated by the facility. If leaky pipes are replaced and all gutter drains and sump pumps are removed from the system, the sewer treatment facility could process waste from approximately 3,750 homes -- this is over 2,800 more homes than are currently being serviced by the system.

It should be remembered, however, that in houses with wells and septic systems approximately 85 percent of water extracted from the ground for use is returned to the groundwater system for reuse. Therefore, it is not recommended to extend sewers into high-density areas, which rely upon private wells, unless public water service is available.

The buildout analysis should be utilized for long range future planning for schools, police and fire protection, recreational facilities, road construction, other public services and facilities, open space protection and potential growth controls. The buildout of the community is not the goal but rather a measure of the maximum future demand on resources and services. The community must recognize and examine the impact of future development on these resources. Proposed changes in Town Ordinances and policy should consider the effect of a 32 percent population increase on community resources. The community should develop innovative controls to accommodate or limit the rate of population increase without further taxing our natural resources, residents and present conditions in Jamestown.