TOWN COUNCIL
JAMESTOWN, RHODE ISLAND

Proposed Land Bank Work Session

March 12, 1998

A work session of the Jamestown Town Council was called to order in the
conference room of the Jamestown Philomenian Library, 26 North Road, at
7:40 PM by Council President Craig A. Amerigian. The following members
were present:
David E. Dolce, Vice President
William H. Murphy

(Recusing and seated in the audience: Ellicott Wright)
(Arrived late: Fred F. Pease)

Also present were:
Maryanne Crawford, CPA, Interim Town Administrator/Finance Director
Theresa C. Donovan, CMC, Town Clerk
Lisa W. Bryer, Jamestown Town Planner
J. Christopher Powell, Jamestown Conservation Commission Chair
Quentin Anthony, Esq., Town Solicitor

Council President Amerigian gave a summary of the last work session
(02/02/98).
     Mr. Anthony: If a land bank is to be funded by any form of tax, it
can only be created through enabling legislation.

Matthew F. Clarke, 23 Keel Avenue: If there will be an exemption, it
should not apply to vacant land; if that is not done, that would be a way
to avoid the tax; the result would be counterproductive by increasing the
community impact by encouraging building instead of purchasing existing
homes; also, if a property is under a sales contract and then voters at
the financial town meeting change the rate, that will violate the
contract; I ask Council to include language that would avoid that.

Jean Z. Lambert, 20 Maple Avenue: I support establishment of a land bank,
as a registered civil engineer and RIDEM employee; it is the best way to
protect water quality and quality of life; it protects the community from
fullest development.

(Councilor Pease arrived at this point; 7:55 PM.)

Ms. Lambert: I do not feel we should go into debt to accomplish this (bond
issue); I would rather we bank the money and be ready when a parcel
becomes available.
     Council President Amerigian: All of us pay each time a new person
moves to town as the cost of services goes up.

Dennis H. Webster, 22 Mount Hope Avenue: I support it; the options of
increased property tax and bond issues will still be available; I am
concerned that Section 12 is too limited because we may want to acquire
smaller parcels.
     Mr. Powell: The Conservation Commission agrees. Mr. Anthony: This was
in the 1986 draft; I recall that the thinking was that there was a 10 acre
minimum for agriculture.

Arek W. Galle, 35 Clinton Avenue: Did you ever discuss a graduated fee
structure? Mr. Anthony: The electors would have an opportunity to choose a
rate between 1 and 5%; a smaller percentage for transfers under $100,000 
was not considered. Council President Amerigian: We are trying to make
first time home buying easier.
     Councilor Dolce: We are also trying to keep it similar to the
proposals of other communities; changing it too radically could kill the
bill.

Mr. Powell: Section 19(m) is confusing. Mr. Anthony: This proposal has a
number of exemptions; the formula generates a sale price which a family
with moderate income can afford to buy; that price will change according
to the dynamics of the marketplace; the formula allows for that; I think
this has more legislative appeal because it makes things easier for
working people.
     Council President Amerigian: It is not an exemption for the first
$150,000 of every sale, as had been discussed before.

Gloria J. Kurz, Simsbury, CT (owner: 24 Orient Avenue): I support a land
bank in concept, but wonder if there is a more equitable way to create the
trust, such as a sliding scale assessment or a flat fee instead of a
percentage; people can support the concept, but never contribute to it if
they do not sell their property.
     Council President Amerigian: The means to raise funds may not be
limited to the transfer tax.
     Councilor Dolce: There is already a transfer tax; we get a very small
percentage of that; we are trying to get that raised; many other towns are
attempting  land bank legislation, so its chances of passage may not be
good; we are willing to look at alternatives.

Mr. Powell: There will soon be $3.2 million available from the State, but
it will need matching funds.
     Mr. Webster: Once a committee is in place, then a proposal to raise
the taxes one year for seed money may get better support.
     Mr. Powell: There is a plan in place even though there is no
committee yet.
     Mr. Anthony: Putting this in place sets up the fund without relying
on the Council raising the issue of imposing a tax at any given time,
considering whatever factor might inhibit them from doing that;  in 1986,
there was a sense that it was elitist legislation.
     Council President Amerigian: If approved by the legislature, we would
probably put the ordinance and the rate on the ballot in November.
     Council consensus: put this matter on the March 23 agenda.

There being no further business before Council, the work session was
informally adjourned at 8:54 PM.

Attest:

Theresa C. Donovan, CMC
Town Clerk