WARWICK, RI — The Warwick City Council approved abandoning portions of Arnold Neck Drive and Staples Avenue at the request of Duncan Ley & Christopher Ley, owners of 212 Arnold’s Neck Drive, who stood to lose significant value to their property and limit its marketability due to the proximity of City roads, requiring them to list the City as a co-insured party.
Attorney Joseph Brennan with Shekarchi Law Offices explained the dilemma, and pledged on behalf of the owners that the change expanding the parcel’s square footage, would only be used for the purposes of avoiding the undue insurance hardship, and would not be used to build a wall or fence that would restrict access to the roadway.
The property is described in the resolutions abandoning the portions of the street as City Assessor’s Plat 365, lots 154 and 155. Google Maps lists that parcel as 212 Arnold’s Neck Drive, though the map shows it as #213.
“They’re not going to build a drive-through window over there?” asked Council President Joseph Solomon Sr. Brennan assured him there were no plans for building on the land to be abandoned.
Two men spoke against the proposal, which would abandon about 144 sq. ft. of land on Staples Street and 577 sq. ft on Arnold’s Neck Drive.
Richard St. Jean, a developer and civil engineer who owns 209 Arnold’s Neck Drive, said the assurance that the abandoned land wouldn’t be used to narrow the road was unlikely to be honored by new owners if it was sold. He pointed out that the section of Arnold’s Neck Drive is already pretty narrow, and warned against opening the door for future owners to narrow it further.
John Green of 300 South Avenue, East Greewnich, a former Warwick Engineering Department employee and consultant to the DPW, said the City would be foolish to risk future narrowing of the road. He warned that access to the nearby Apponaug Harbor Marina could be restricted if Arnold Neck Drive and Staples Avenue are narrowed, which would be exacerbated in the winter with snowbanks piled to either side of the roads.
“I don’t know how many of you people have ever seen a fire in a marina. You have to get to it,” Green said. Without speedy access to fight such a fire, he said, a blaze can quickly consume the entire marina and threaten the neighborhood.
Council President Joseph Solomon reiterated Brennan’s promise that the road would not be altered.
“It’s a folly to abandon that road,” Green said.
Brennan reassured councillors that land acquired by the abandonments would not be used for building or to encroach on the narrow street’s current layout. He added that there is another two feet worth of road to expand it if the need arises. In compensation to the City for the loss of the land, the petitioners would pay $2,279 for the Arnold Neck Drive portion and $569 for the Staples Avenue portion.
Both abandonment measures passed 8-1, with Councilman Steve McAllister voting against each.
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