Westerly Town Council, Tattersall consider swap of two small parcels in Misquamicut

Westerly Town Council, Tattersall consider swap of two small parcels in Misquamicut

The Westerly Sun

WESTERLY — The changing face of Misquamicut’s commercial zone on Atlantic Avenue has produced at least one oddity — a 4.5-foot-wide strip of privately-owned land that runs through the middle of the town-owned parking lot across the street from Wuskenau Beach.

George Tattersall, who owns the quirky parcel, hopes to resolve the situation by trading his land to the town in return for a like-sized piece of land in the southwest corner of the parking lot property. He discussed the idea with the Town Council on Monday.

According to Tattersall, former president of the Misquamicut Business Association, the land he purchased for $2,000 in 2011 was once where the staircase that led to upper level apartments at the Blue Sands club was located. But according to Tattersall, the strangely shaped lot pre-dates James Armenakes, who owned the Blue Sands, the Wreck and other landmark clubs.

Tattersall bought the property from Gloria (Morenzoni) Lombardo, whose family had owned the land since 1954. The town purchased the land and other property owned by Armenakes in a court auction in 2001 after he was sentenced on federal drug charges.

Tattersall said he first discussed the proposed swap with former Town Planner Marilyn Shellman in 2011 but the talks were put on hold when Superstorm Sandy struck about a year later. This summer, concerned about liability issues, Tattersall broached the topic with town officials again but discovered none of the staff were familiar with the situation.

“I asked to be put on the town’s insurance policy as an additional insured but no one knew about it,” Tattersall said.

If approved by the Town Council, the swap would result in Tattersall trading his 1,740-square-foot strip for a same-sized rectangular strip fronting on Atlantic Avenue. Although Tattersall said he has no immediate plans for the property he said it is conceivable that he could apply for a vendor’s license and sell t-shirts on the spot. Tattersall once leased and ran the Bayview Fun Park, which is adjacent to the town-owned parking lot. He also opened Junk & Java, the coffee shop on Beach Street, which his wife, Alexis, runs.

Lisa Pellegrini, director of the town’s Development Services Department, endorsed the plan, telling the council she was “shocked when I saw he owned the property. All I could think of is all the liability we would incur.”

Town Attorney William Conley Jr. said the proposed swap would require an advisory opinion from the Planning Board. As part of the opinion, Conley said, the board must determine the land that Tattersall would receive has no useful purpose for the town.

Councilor Jean Gagnier said the proposed swap would benefit both the town and Tattersall. “You’re taking something that has little value and enhancing it for all,” Gagnier said.



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