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RICHMOND — Responding to complaints of large gravel trucks using Canob Lane to avoid a busy intersection, the Town Council approved an amendment to its through trucking ordinance at a public hearing during its council meeting on Tuesday.

Commercial vehicle through traffic is now prohibited at all times between Nooseneck Hill Road (Route 3) and Spring Green Drive and on Spring Green Drive between Canob Lane and Route 138.

Chief of Police Elwood Johnson said an additional sign would be posted notifying drivers of the prohibition. 

“A resident of Canob Park, which is just behind the police station, behind the Hess and the YMCA, had complained about large trucks carrying gravel basically bypassing the intersection of 138 and Route 3, and using Canob Lane to get from 138 to go to a site that they were excavating,” Johnson said. “We agreed that the roads weren’t sufficient for that type of traffic and we noticed that it was not in the current code of ordinances to enforce, so we asked that it be added.”

The amendment, drafted by Town Solicitor Karen Ellsworth, passed unanimously.

“The problem is, even though the sign is up, the police department can’t enforce it unless there’s an ordinance to match it, so that would allow them to enforce that sign,” Ellsworth said.

In other business, Town Administrator Karen Pinch announced in her report to the council that the latest Chariho enrollment figures indicate that Richmond has five fewer students in the district. The Chariho Act determines the amount each of the three towns will contribute to the school district based on their respective enrollment figures, and Richmond will save about $85,000 in the next Chariho budget.

“Our number is down by five kids, so that’s approximately $17,000 and change, times five kids,” she said.

Charlestown’s enrollment has declined by 17 students, but Hopkinton’s has increased by 24, a jump that is already the topic of discussion in that town because of its expected impact on taxpayers.

Pinch predicted that there would be renewed calls, especially from Hopkinton, for changes to the act.

“That’s going to have a huge impact on their budget and I’m sure it’s going to stir up the conversation again about how do we change the Chariho Act and make this more equitable, or at least steadier,” Pinch said.

All three towns must agree to changes to the Chariho Act and Charlestown has not agreed to previous proposals to open the act to amendments.

“We’re not going to change until it hurts Charlestown,” Councilor Mark Trimmer said.

Also on the agenda was a proposal made at a previous meeting by Councilor Nell Carpenter to make video recordings of Planning and Zoning Board meetings. Pinch had been exploring options for recording the meetings, which included creating a YouTube channel for the town and buying a camera.

The Beaver River Valley Community Association, a group of residents which has opposed commercial solar energy projects in residential and historically significant areas, has offered to contribute $2,400 to the cost of recording Planning Board meetings. Pinch said she had requested an opinion from the Rhode Island Ethics Commission on whether the town could accept a contribution from a citizens’ group. 

Carpenter ended the discussion by proposing that the matter be included in the town’s upcoming budget workshops.

“I’ve been thinking about this, too, and thinking about all taxpayers,” she said. “We just got pummeled with snow and thank God nobody lost power, but in terms of the tree removal and in terms of the snow … I would actually ask council to consider perhaps putting this off until the budget cycle so it can be appropriately budgeted versus taking from contingency, which we may very well need for something.”

The matter was postponed until planning begins on the town’s new budget.

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