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Date Posted:  August 17, 2018

 

CITY OF EAST PROVIDENCE

RHODE ISLAND

DOCKET OF REGULAR COUNCIL MEETING

August 21, 2018

6:45 P.M.

Council Chambers, City Hall, 145 Taunton Avenue, East Providence, RI 02914

6:45 P.M. Council May Call An Executive Session, Room 101

7:30 P.M. Open Session

 

I.                   EXECUTIVE SESSION

 

The City Council of the City of East Providence may meet in Executive Session pursuant to RI General Laws § 42-46-5 (a)(2).

 

A.    New Claims

1.      Angela Antonian

2.      Church of the Epiphany

3.      Ryan Hellmann

4.      HiRoad Assurance Company (Ins. Kimberly Kollett)

5.      Cesar A. Lubrano

6.      John Mello

7.      James O’Brien

8.      Patricia Olean

9.      Manual A. Ulloa-Germosen; Sileny Almote DeUllo; Alan Ulloa; Seline Lopez

 

B.     Pending Claims

1.      Pierce Field Vandalism

 

C.    Sewer Charge Abatements

1.      Elizabeth Castello

2.      Rhonda Cherry

3.      Candido Esteves

4.      Michael Gagnon

5.      Derek P. Lindia

6.      Jeraldine Marino

7.      Jennifer Perry

8.      Harold L. Ray

9.      Winchester Wood & Park LLC

 

D.    Litigation

1.   Oscar Elmasian vs. R.I. Interlocal Risk Management Trust, Inc., C.A. No.PC-2017-0866

 

II.                OPEN SESSION

 

III.             CALL TO ORDER

 

IV.             SALUTE TO THE FLAG

 

V.                TO APPROVE THE CONSENT CALENDAR

 

All items under “CONSENT CALENDAR” are considered to be of a routine and noncontroversial nature by the City Council and will be enacted by one motion.  There will be no separate discussion on these items unless a Council member so requests, in which event, the item will be removed from the “CONSENT CALENDAR” and will be considered in its normal sequence on the docket.

 

A.    Letters

1.      Notice of New Property Number, 270 Newport Avenue (02916), Map 402, Block 12, Parcel 001.00

 

B.     Cancellation/Abatements

Year

Amount

2015

$518.99

2017

$137.55

2018

$2,864.34

Total

$3,520.88

 

C.    Alcoholic Beverage Class F

1.      East Providence Elks Lodge 2337, 60 Berkeley Street (02914), Memorial Bike Run and Cookout, September 23, 2018, Marcie Mello. 

2.      East Providence Elks Lodge 2337, 60 Berkeley Street (02914), Neighborhood Block Party, September 29, 2018, Susan M. Costa.

 

D.    Alcoholic Beverage Class F-1

1.      EP Elks Lodge 2337, 60 Berkeley Street (02914) Outdoor Cornhole Tournament/Cookout Fundraiser, August 25, 2018, Susan M. Costa.

 

E.     One Day Entertainment

1.   Susan M. Costa for EP Elks Lodge 2337, August 25, 2018, Outdoor Cornhole Tournament/Cookout Fundraiser with small band 4:00PM-9:00PM.

 

F.     Council Journals

1.      Council Journal Regular Meeting July 24, 2018

 

Motion___By___2nd___

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G.    Council Journals

1.   Council Journal Executive Session July 27, 2018

 

Motion___By___2nd___

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VI.             COMMUNICATIONS

 

A.    Geoffrey Smith, 14 Meadowbrook Lane, Mattapoisett MA (02739) requesting to address the Council regarding the Narragansett Bay Half Marathon and 5K on October 16, 2018. 

 

Motion___By___2nd___

Botelho___Britto ___Faria___Sousa___Briden__

 

VII.          PUBLIC COMMENT

 

All persons wishing to make public comment shall sign a public comment sheet stating their name, address, and the subject of their comments.  Said public comment sheet shall be available on a desk at the entrance of the City Hall Chambers no later than forty-five (45) minutes before the call to order of any regularly scheduled council meeting and shall be delivered by the City Clerk to the presiding officer no earlier than five (5) minutes before the call to order of the meeting.  Each speaker will be limited to three (3) minutes.  The order of speakers will be on a first come, first serve basis and the maximum time for public comment shall be limited to thirty (30) minutes per meeting.

 

VIII.       APPOINTMENTS

A.    Traffic Control (by Assistant Mayor Britto)

Harry Edmonds, 95 Lennon Avenue (02914)

Motion___By___2nd___

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IX.             COUNCIL MEMBERS

 

A.    Proposed Addendum to 5 Year Budget Plan:  Safeguarding Ability to Procure TANS in the Future (by Mayor Briden)

 

Motion___By___2nd___

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B.     Rodent Control Problem (by Assistant Mayor Britto)

 

C.    Follow Up to “National Night Out” (by Assistant Mayor

Britto)

 

D.    Congratulations on a Great Season to Riverside Little League (by Councilman Faria)

 

E.     Burnside and Hoppin Avenues Discussion and Update (by Councilman Faria)

 

F.     Pubic Clarification of Lawsuit (by Councilman Faria)

 

G.    Status of LED Conversion Update/Presentation (by Councilman Faria)

 

H.    City Email (by Councilman Faria)

 

I.       Constituent Issues (by Councilman Faria)

 

1.      Drainage Issues Robinson Avenue/Brook (by Councilman Faria)

2.      Small Area of Broken Sidewalk on corner of Willett and Winslow Avenues (by Councilman Faria)

 

J.      National Arbor Day Tree City USA Award (by Councilwoman Sousa)

 

K.    Culvert Project Delay (by Councilwoman Sousa)

 

X.                LICENSES REQUIRING PUBLIC HEARING

A.    B Full Privilege Vict

William M. Lewis, Lucky’s Bar & Grille, 1175 Warren Avenue (02914)

 

Motion___By___2nd___

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B.     Dance/Entertainment

William M. Lewis, Lucky’s Bar & Grille, 1175 Warren Avenue (02914)

 

Motion___By___2nd___

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XI.             LICENSES NOT REQUIRING PUBLIC HEARING

 

A.    Vict Over 50

William M. Lewis, Lucky’s Bar & Grille, 1175 Warren Avenue (02914)

Motion___By___2nd___

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B.     Vict Not Over 25

Proud Mary’s, LLC DBA Proud Mary’s Donuts, 326 Bullocks Point Avenue (02915), Ruarri Miller, 64 Channing Avenue (02915)

Motion___By___2nd___

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C.    Vict Not Over 25

May-Plumflower, LLC DBA Asian Taste 2, 656 Bullocks Point Avenue (02915), Huan Fei Mei, 155 James Street (02914)

 

Motion___By___2nd___

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D.    Vict Not Over 25 - Transfer

Pizza Amore, 2792 Pawtucket Avenue (02914) transfer from Kheir Wali to Haytham Chahed, 112 Warman Avenue, Cranston.

Motion___By___2nd___

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XII.          PUBLIC HEARING – ORDINANCES FINAL PASSAGE

 

1. Request to Amend the Generalized Land Use map of the City’s Comprehensive Plan from “Retail” to “Mixed Use” and to amend the official Zoning Map from Commercial -3 to Commercial Mixed use.

Zoning Map Amendment: Map 501, Block 3, Parcels 1 & 2  - 0 and 52 Narragansett Park Drive (Newport Avenue) from Commercial 3 to Commercial Mixed Use.

Petition for Zoning Map Amendment: 444 Bullocks Point Avenue

Petitioners: Amalgamated Financial Group IV

Attorney:  Moses Ryan

Advertised East Providence Post – 7/19/18, 7/26/18, 8/2/18

Notices served on Abutters

 

1. AN ORDINANCE IN AMENDMENT OF THE CITY OF EAST PROVIDENCE 2010-2015 COMPREHENSIVE PLAN UPDATE

 

SECTION I.  Map 2 of the City of East Providence 2010-2015 Comprehensive Plan Update entitled “Northern East Providence Generalized Land Use,” is hereby amended to identify the property designated as Assessor’s Map 501, Block 3, Parcels 1 and 2 as “Mixed Use.”

 

The Northern East Providence Generalized Land Use Map (Map 2) of the City East Providence 2010-2015 Comprehensive Plan shall be amended accordingly.

 

SECTION II.  This ordinance shall take effect upon passage and all ordinances and parts of ordinances inconsistent herewith are hereby repealed.

 

Requested by:  Amalgamated Financial Group IV

 

Motion___By___2nd___

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2. AN ORDINANCE IN AMENDMENT OF CHAPTER 19 OF THE REVISED ORDINANCES OF THE CITY OF EAST PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND 1998, AS AMENDED, ENTITLED “ZONING”

 

SECTION I.  Section 19-95 entitled “Districts Designated” of Article III entitled “District Regulations” is hereby amended as follows:

Parcel 01 and Parcel 02 on Assessor’s Map 501, Block 03 presently located in the C-3, General Retail Business District and that portion of Narragansett Park Drive abandoned by the City of East Providence on January 16, 2018 pursuant to Resolution No. 38 presently having no zoning designation are hereby changed to “Commercial Mixed Use (CMU)” District.

 

The Zoning Map of the City of East Providence shall be amended accordingly.

 

SECTION II. This ordinance shall take effect upon passage and all ordinances and parts of ordinances inconsistent herewith are hereby repealed.

 

Requested by:  Amalgamated Financial Group IV

 

Motion___By___2nd___

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3. AN ORDINANCE IN AMENDMENT OF CHAPTER 19 OF THE REVISED ORDINANCES OF THE CITY OF EAST PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND 1998, AS AMENDED, ENTITLED “ZONING”

 

WHEREAS, an ordinance entitled “Zoning” of East Providence, Rhode Island, designated as Chapter 19 of the ordinances of the City of East Providence was approved in 1998, as amended, and

WHEREAS, by the terms of said Section 19-71, the regulations, restrictions, and boundaries set forth in the ordinance may, from time to time, be amended, and

WHEREAS, it is deemed appropriate that certain changes be made to the zoning ordinance and zoning district maps and that the public convenience and general welfare will be served thereby, and

WHEREAS, the proposed amendments to the zoning ordinance and zoning district map have followed the procedure set forth in Sections 19-71 through 19-77, and

WHEREAS, the East Providence City Planning Board has reviewed the proposed amendments and found that they are in conformance with the East Providence Comprehensive Plan for Land Use as amended and the general purposes of zoning.

THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF EAST PROVIDENCE HEREBY ORDAINS:

SECTION I.  Section 19-1 entitled “Definitions” of Article I entitled “In General” of Chapter 19 entitled “Zoning” is hereby amended by adding thereto the following:

Electronic Vehicle Charging Station means a public or private parking space(s) that is (are) served by battery changing equipment with the purpose of transferring electric energy to a battery or other energy storage device in an electric vehicle.

Kiosk, Free Stating Exterior means a freestanding exterior structure of less than five hundred (500) square feet for drive-up or walk-up window services or retail sales.

Outdoor Retail – Accessory means retail activity that takes place in an open lot, tent, trailer, motor vehicle, enclosure or structure that is not permanently affixed to the land.

SECTION II.  Subsection (a) of Section 19-95 entitled “Districts Designated” of Article III entitled “District Regulations” of Chapter 19 entitled “Zoning” is hereby amended by adding thereto the following:

Abbreviation

District

CMU

Commercial Mixed Use

 

SECTION III.  Article IV entitled Supplementary District Regulations of Chapter 19 entitled “Zoning” is amended by adding thereto the following:

Division 20.  Commercial Mixed Use (CMU) District

Sec. 19-360.1.  Purpose and Objective.

  1. Commercial Mixed Use (CMU). The purpose of the Commercial Mixed Use district is to encourage more active use and redevelopment of oversized multi-tenant commercial properties by promoting more flexibility of uses and design that is well suited for active economic activity along Newport Avenue.

 

  1. Qualification.  On the date any parcel of land is placed into a CMU Zone, it shall be part of one or more contiguous parcels of land containing a minimum of 45,000 square feet of land that is adjacent to Newport Avenue and that are under common control/ownership, unless otherwise waived by the City Council and the Planning Commission.  The term “common control/ownership” means and relates to either one person or entity, or separate entities in which the underlying ownership is held in part by one or more of the same person, persons, or entities.

 

Sec. 19-360.2.  Dimensional Regulations; Permitted Uses; Additional Criteria.

  1. Dimensional regulations.  Dimensional regulations, as presented in Sections 19-131 through 19-145 of the Zoning Ordinance, as amended below for the Commercial Mixed Use District, shall apply to all uses in the CMU Zone.

 

 

Minimum Lot Size

Minimum Lot Frontage

Maximum Lot Coverage

Minimum Yard Setback Line

Maximum Height of Structures

Zone and Use

 

 

 

Front

Side

Rear

Main

Accessory

 

(square feet)

(square feet)

(percentage)

(feet)

(feet)

(feet)

(feet)

(feet)

Commercial Mixed Use

45,000

50

50%

 

 

 

 

 

Main structures between 46 and 100 feet

 

 

 

10

20*

10

100

 

Main structures up to 45 feet

 

 

 

0

0

5

45

 

Accessory structures

 

 

 

0

0

5

 

45

 

*Minimum side yard setback requirement when directly abutting residential zoning districts only, minimum side yard setback of 10 feet applies when abutting Commercial or Industrial zoning districts.  Minimum side yard setback of 0 feet applies for contiguous parcels under the same ownership.

  1. Permitted uses.

(1)   Uses permitted by right in the Commercial Retail Business (C-3) District are permitted in the CMU Zone.

a.       The following uses, listed in the Schedule of Uses Table, are also permitted in the CMU Zone:

1)            Three-family dwelling* and multi-family dwelling*;

2)            Hotel*;

3)            Sportsmen’s club;

4)            Salesroom for display of motor vehicles, trailers, building supplies, boats, or machinery: (2) With storage and repair facilities;

5)            New or used motor vehicle sales lot shall be limited to the display of a maximum of ten (10) vehicles.

6)            Retail services for employees as detailed in section 19-364, business/technology* development;

7)            Sale of business and/or industrial equipment and supplies;

8)            Wholesale showroom: (2) With Storage and repair facilities;

9)            Wholesale distribution or warehouse, excluding truck terminal facility;

10)        Automotive repair shop*;

11)        Animal or veterinary hospital or kennel;

12)        Business or industrial services: (2) With storage and repair facilities;

13)        Child day care centers*;

14)        Data processing centers*;

15)        Gasoline filling stations*;

16)        Amusement game centers*;

17)        Radio, television or wireless telecommunication towers and antennas (see definition of antenna in section 19-348)

18)        Communication services and broadcasting offices;

19)        Industrial trade schools

 

*As currently defined in section 19-1

b.      The following uses, not listed in the Schedule of Uses Table, are also permitted in the CMU Zone:

1)            Residence Above First Story Business Use;

2)            Mixed Use*;

3)            Small Fabricating Shops;

4)            Previously Owned Goods and Merchandise Shops, including Antiques, Collectibles, Coins, Consignment And Stamps;

5)            Electric Vehicle Charging Station;

6)            Kiosk, Free Standing Exterior;

7)            Outdoor Retail – Accessory;

8)            Music and Dance Studio;

9)            Garden Center;

10)        Adult Day Care

 

*As currently defined in section 19-1

(2)   Uses allowed by special use permit in the Commercial Retail Business (C-3) District are permitted by special use permit in the CMU Zone, unless allowed by right above.

(3)   Uses permitted as accessory uses in the Commercial Retail Business (C-3) District are permitted in the CMU Zone.

 

  1. Number of buildings on a lot.

(1)   More than one commercial or mixed-use primary structure located on a single lot is permitted in the CMU Zone.

 

  1. Signs.  Any permitted signs for the Commercial Retail Business (C-3) District as set forth in Section 19-438 through 19-446 shall be permitted in the CMU Zone.  Any electronic messaging centers (EMC signs) shall only be permitted by special use permit. Defined in section 19-442.

 

  1. Additional criteria for approval.

(1)   There is no maximum requirement for off-street parking in the CMU Zone.  Parking design standards as set forth in Section 19-282 shall apply. 

(2)   Minimum parking requirements in the CMU Zone are: Residential: 1.5 spaces/unit; Office: 4 spaces / 1,000 SF; Retail/Restaurant: 4.5 spaces / 1,000 SF.

(3)   Maximum impervious coverage is 90%.

(4)   Off-street loading minimum requirements:

Size: Length: 55 feet; Width: 12 feet.

Number: 4,000SF to 20,000 SF = 1 space;

20,000 SF + = 1 space per 20,000SF or fraction thereof

Office uses are excluded from off-street loading requirements.

SECTION IV. This ordinance shall take effect upon passage and all ordinances and parts of ordinances inconsistent herewith are hereby repealed.

Requested by:  Amalgamated Financial Group IV

Motion___By___2nd___

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4. AN ORDINANCE IN AMENDMENT OF CHAPTER 18 OF THE REVISED ORDINANCES OF THE CITY OF EAST PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND, 1998, AS AMENDED, ENTITLED “VEHICLES AND TRAFFIC”

 

SECTION I.  Subsection (b) of Sec. 18-269 entitled “Stop and yield intersections designated; when stops required” is amended by adding thereto the following:

 

Fifth Street (northbound and southbound traffic) at Juniper Street

 

SECTION II.  This ordinance shall take effect upon second passage and all ordinances and parts of ordinances inconsistent herewith are hereby repealed.

 

Requested by:  Councilwoman Sousa

 

Motion___By___2nd___

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5. AN ORDINANCE IN AMENDMENT OF CHAPTER 8 OF THE REVISED ORDINANCES OF THE CITY OF EAST PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND, 1998, AS AMENDED, ENTITLED “LICENSES AND BUSINESS REGULATIONS”

 

SECTION I.  Sec. 8-142 entitled “Application; issuance; expiration” of Article VII entitled “Hawkers and Peddlers” of Chapter 8 entitled "Licenses and Business Regulations" of the Revised Ordinances of the City of East Providence, Rhode Island, 1998, as amended, is hereby amended to read as follows:

Sec. 8-142.  Application; issuance; expiration.

(a)   All persons desiring a peddlers or hawkers license as required in section 8-141 shall make application to the city clerk for such license, and the city clerk, after granting of the application by the council, may issue a license subject to the approval of the chief of police and the state health inspector if food is involved, to such persons to sell the articles and substances mentioned in section 8-141 in such manner as shall be specified in the license and in the permitted area as is designated by the city council and is approved by the chief of police for reasons relating to public health and safety for the period from the date of such license until December 1 next ensuing such date. No licensee shall hawk or peddle in any other area than that to which he/she is permitted under the license granted by the city. Violations of such may result in loss of license and/or fines pursuant to section 8-148 of this chapter.

(b)   An applicant for a peddlers or hawkers license may apply to the city clerk for a temporary license, and the city clerk, after approval by the chief of police, may issue the license allowing the licensee to operate under the same terms as a full license as described in subsection (a) of this section.  The temporary license shall expire on the date of the next city council meeting following the date of the issuance of such temporary license, at which time the city council shall either grant or deny a full license as described in subsection (a) of this section.

(b) (c)  The applicant shall, upon approval for a license required under this chapter, provide two so-called passport-size photographs of the individual authorized to act under such license. The city clerk shall, in addition to the license specified above, issue an identification badge containing one of the photographs of the authorized individual along with the effective dates of the license and such other information as the city clerk shall deem appropriate.

(c) (d)  All hawkers are required to submit with their application a list of up to ten locations where they propose to stop and remain for any period of time so the police chief and the city council can review and approve the locations before the license is approved. If the hawker wishes to add locations at a later date, they must appear again in front of the city council for approval by the police chief and the council of the new location(s).

 

SECTION II.  This ordinance shall take effect upon second passage and all ordinances and parts of ordinances inconsistent herewith are hereby repealed.

 

Requested by:  Councilman Botelho

 

Motion___By___2nd___

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XIII.       NEW BUSINESS

 

A.    City Managers Report  (by Acting City Manager Christopher J. Parella )

 

1.      Purchase and Sales Agreement Hoppin and Burnside Avenues – Old Platt Waters Property – Review and Possible Approval

 

Motion___By___2nd___

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2.      2018 Budget Timeline and Submission of Proposed Capital Budget Plan

 

3.      LED Streetlight Presentation by Seamans

 

B.     Reports of Other City Officials

 

1.   Claims Committee Report (by City Solicitor Gregory Dias)

 

Motion___By___2nd___

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C.    Report of School Committee Liaison

 

D.    Resolutions

 

1. RESOLUTION REQUESTING AND SUPPORTING LEGISLATION TO AMEND TITLE 44, CHAPTER 5 OF THE RHODE ISLAND GENERAL LAWS REGARDING MUNICIPAL TAXATION OF REAL ESTATE

 

WHEREAS:  in 1997, the R.I. General Assembly enacted legislation (P.L. 1997, Ch. 179, §1) which overhauled the statutory revaluation process for municipal taxation of real estate, to require that “each city and town shall conduct a revaluation within nine (9) years of the date of the prior revaluation and shall conduct an update of real property every three (3) years from the date of the last revaluation”; and

 

WHEREAS:  the new revaluation process was based on the General Assembly’s recognition that the prior ten (10)-year cycle was “the longest revaluation cycle in the country;” the new revaluation cycle, with its three (3)-year updates, was designed “to provide more reliable and up-to-date property values in each of the cities and towns” and “to ensure that all taxpayers in Rhode Island are treated equitably”; and

 

WHEREAS:  in 2001, the General Assembly enacted legislation (P.L. 2001, Ch. 365, §1) amending R.I. Gen. Laws §44-5-15 regarding the filing of an annual account and R.I. Gen. Laws §44-5-26 regarding tax appeals; and

 

WHEREAS:  as amended, §44-5-15 requires that a taxpayer, as a prerequisite to seeking relief from a tax assessment, must file with the assessor an annual account “specifying the value of every parcel of the real estate as of December 31 in the year of the last update or revaluation and personal estate as of December 31 of the tax year”; and

 

WHEREAS:  as amended, §44-5-26 requires that the mandatory statutory form for appealing a tax assessment give a taxpayer a right to appeal an assessment “if your property is: (1) OVERVALUED (assessed value is more than the fair market value as of December 31 in the year of the last update or revaluation for real estate and as of December 31 of the tax year for personal estate for any reason, including clerical and data processing errors” and further requires the applicant to state the taxpayer’s “opinion” of the property’s value “as of December 31 in the year of the last update or revaluation for real estate and as of December 31 of the tax year for personal estate”; and

 

WHEREAS:  on May 2, 2018, the Rhode Island Supreme Court issued an Opinion in Michael A. Balmuth et al. v. David E. Dolce, in his capacity as Tax Assessor for the Town of Portsmouth, Supreme Court Case Nos. 2017-6-A, 2017-8-A, 2017-9-A, 2017-11-A, and 2017-12-A (“Balmuth”); a copy of the Balmuth Opinion is attached to this Resolution and incorporated herein; and

WHEREAS:  in Balmuth, a group of Portsmouth taxpayers challenged their real estate tax assessments on December 31, 2008 (for tax year 2009) and on December 31, 2009 (for tax year 2010).  The taxpayers conceded that the Assessor did not overvalue their properties on December 31, 2007, when he conducted a full revaluation of all real estate in the Town; rather, the taxpayers alleged that they were entitled to relief because their property values had fallen following the last revaluation due to a declining real estate market; and

 

WHEREAS:  the Tax Assessor and the Tax Assessment Board of Review denied the taxpayers’ appeals based on the provisions of R.I. Gen. Laws §44-5-15 and §44-5-26, as amended in 2001, because the properties were not overvalued as of the date of the last revaluation on December 31, 2007; and

 

WHEREAS:  the taxpayers filed appeals to the Newport Superior Court which ultimately entered judgment for the taxpayers in five consolidated cases; and

 

WHEREAS:  the Tax Assessor appealed from the Superior Court to the R.I. Supreme Court, seeking a de novo interpretation of the intent and effect of the 2001 amendments to R.I. Gen. Laws §44-5-15 and §44-5-26; and

 

WHEREAS:  the Rhode Island League of Cities and Towns as Amicus Curiae submitted a brief to the Supreme Court which supported the Tax Assessor’s statutory interpretation and positions; and

 

WHEREAS:  on a vote of 3-2, the Supreme Court affirmed the Superior Court judgment for the taxpayers, ruling that the taxpayers were not confined to the property values established at the last revaluation of December 31, 2007 and were permitted to appeal their assessments for tax years 2009 and 2010 based on valuations of the properties as of December 31, 2008 and December 31, 2009; and

 

WHEREAS:  the majority opinion found that it was unclear “whether plaintiffs are, as defendant argues, confined to the values of their properties as of December 31, 2007.  Based on our thorough review of the language contained in Chapter 5 of Title 44, the only thing that appears clear to us now is just how unclear the conflicting language is….  [T]here is no shortage of doubt about whether the General Assembly intended to restrict plaintiffs to the values of their properties as of December 31, 2007, the year of the revaluation at issue.  Unfortunately, neither the 2001 amendments to §44-5-15 and the form required by §44-5-26(b), adding the phrase ‘in the year of the last update or revaluation[,]’ nor the legislative findings contained in §44-5-11.5 are determinative in discerning legislative intent….  [B]ecause we are confronted with a tax statute so plainly afflicted with significant ambiguity, we are firm in our view that we are best guided by the maxim which directs that ‘taxing statutes are to be strictly construed’ with doubts resolved in favor of the taxpayer;’” and

 

WHEREAS:  the dissenting opinion stated: “Our review of the relevant tax statutes leads us to conclude that real estate property taxpayers are not entitled to appeal the valuation of their property each year, but may only challenge it ‘in the year of the last update or revaluation….’”; and

WHEREAS:  the dissenting opinion considered the “possible ramifications of the majority’s interpretation.  Some taxpayers could seek a revaluation every year, requiring municipalities, such as defendant, to expend funds in justifying them.  Interpreting the statute in that manner would unnecessarily burden already strained municipal budgets, ultimately passing the costs on to taxpayers.  Likewise, loss of revenue, which occurred in this case, would leave cities and towns attempting to recoup their losses by, again, looking to remaining property owners.  In these times when most owners do not have expendable income, we cannot fathom the General Assembly wanting to do that”; and

 

WHEREAS:  the majority opinion noted the dissent’s “cautions of such a descent into fiscal disarray.  Besides noting that appealing a tax assessment is in and of itself rather cost-prohibitive, we nonetheless conclude that such a policy concern is best addressed by the General Assembly, not this Court”;

 

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the East Providence City Council hereby urges the Rhode Island General Assembly to draft, introduce and pass legislation to amend the provisions of Chapter 5 of Title 44, as necessary, to address the ambiguities noted by the Supreme Court in Balmuth, in order to provide with clarity that real estate property taxpayers are not entitled to appeal the valuation of their property each year, but may only challenge the value in the year of the last update or revaluation, as indicated in the 2001 amendments to §44-5-15 and §44-5-26; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the City Clerk submit a copy of this Resolution to the City of East Providence’s State Senators and Representatives, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the President of the Senate, the Rhode Island Governor, and every Rhode Island municipality.

 

Requested by:  Councilman Botelho

 

Motion___By___2nd___

Botelho___Britto ___Faria___Sousa___Briden__

 

 

2. RESOLUTION CORRECTING SCRIVENER’S ERRORS IN THE EAST PROVIDENCE CITY CHARTER

 

WHEREAS, throughout the recent process which amended and the City Charter, including but not limited to the Charter Review Commission review, the East Providence City Council’s review, voter ratification, and Canvassing Authority review, many sections of the Charter were altered or otherwise codified; and

 

WHEREAS, this process altered the numeration of several sections of the Charter; and

 

WHEREAS, scrivener’s errors are defined as typos or instances whereby superseding authority such as the Rhode Island Constitution or Supreme Court or some other state authority regarding elections, requires an amendment to the Charter in order for the Charter to be a legally supported and accurate document; and

 

WHEREAS, the correction of a scrivener’s error has no legal impact whatsoever on the interpretation the Charter; and

 

WHEREAS, the City Solicitor’s office has discovered and identified scrivener’s errors in the Charter, said scrivener’s errors are detailed below; and

 

WHEREFORE, the following are scrivener’s errors identified by the City Solicitor’s office:

 

·         Table of Contents

o   Corrections to Update the Numbering and Labeling of the Sections of the Charter to reflect the Charter Amendments Passed by the voters of East Providence.

 

·         Article II – City Council Section 1, Number, selection and term.

o   The Council shall have five [5] members, one to be elected from any by the electors of each of the four [4] wards of the City, and one to be elected at large, for a term of four [4] two [2] years or until a majority of the newly elected Council have qualified and have taken office.

o   This codification reflects a finding and decision issued by the East Providence Canvassing Authority

 

·         Article III. Mayor

o   The Section header labels and numbering needed to be updated to reflect the ratified Charter Amendments, no language changes were made.

 

·         Article V. Budget

o   The Section header labels and numbering needed to be updated to reflect the ratified Charter Amendments, no language changes were made.

 

·         Article IX. Personnel

o   The Section header labels and numbering needed to be updated to reflect the ratified Charter Amendments, no language changes were made.

 

·         Article XI. Election Procedure

o   The Section header labels and numbering needed to be updated to reflect the ratified Charter Amendments, no language changes were made.

 

·         Article XI. Election Procedure, Section 15 “Recall”

o         Recall is authorized in the case of a Mayor, Council member, or School Committee member who has been indicted or informed against for a felony, convicted of a misdemeanor, or against whom a finding of probable cause of violation of the code of ethics has been made by the ethics commission or who has committed a willful violation of any provision of the Charter as determined by a preponderance of the evidence by the ethics commission or a state court of competent jurisdiction. Recall shall not, however be instituted at any time during the last nine (9) months of an individual's term of office. Such a recall may be instituted by filing with the canvassing authority an application for issuance of a recall petition against said Mayor, Council member, or School Committee member which is signed by duly qualified electors equal to three percent (3%) of the total number of votes cast at the last preceding general election for that office.

 

The canvassing authority shall within seven (7) days from the date of the filing of such application petition examine it and shall from the voters registered determine the sufficiency thereof. If, upon verification by the canvassing authority the application is determined to contain signatures of the required number of electors, the canvassing authority shall, forthwith, issue a recall petition.

 

o   A close inspection of the first paragraph above will show that the use of the word “petition” within the second paragraph, instead of the word “application”, creates a procedural loophole that could allow for the indefinite extension of the timeline. A review of both the Charter Commission and City Council meetings shows that such loophole was not intended but instead an enforceable “Recall” provision was desired. Upon information and belief this application/petition substitution error was addressed at the Charter Commission level and recommended passage included this proposed language correction, however, the language as presented to the Council did not include this correction and therefore did not reflect the Charter Commission’s vote and recommendation. This substitution conforms with the language passed by the Charter Commission and as presented to the Council, it conforms with the Council’s intention to pass an enforceable recall provision, and it conforms with the ballot question proposed to and ratified by the voters of the City of East Providence.

 

·         Article XIV. Courts

o   The Section header labels and numbering needed to be updated to reflect the ratified Charter Amendments, no language changes were made.

 

WHEREFORE, the City Council hereby finds that codifying the Charter to correct for these scrivener’s errors will have no legal impact on the Charter because either superseding authority requires the Charter to be updated accordingly or the change has no impact on the interpretation of the Charter; and

 

WHEREFORE, if any Court or Quasi-Judicial body with competent legal authority and jurisdiction finds that any of said scrivener’s errors does somehow impact the interpretation of the Charter or otherwise does not accurately reflect superseding authority, said scrivener error corrects shall be void ab initio; and

 

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that these proposed corrections to scrivener’s errors within the Charter be codified.

 

Requested by:  Law Department

 

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E.     Introduction to Ordinances

 

1. AN ORDINANCE IN AMENDMENT OF CHAPTER 8 OF THE REVISED ORDINANCES OF THE CITY OF EAST PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND, 1998, AS AMENDED, ENTITLED “LICENSES AND BUSINESS REGULATIONS”

SECTION I.  Section 8-5 entitled “Closing hours for businesses” of Article I entitled “In General” of Chapter 8 of the Revised Ordinances of the City of East Providence, Rhode Island, 1998, as amended, entitled “Licenses and Business Regulations” is amended to read as follows:

Sec. 8-5.  Closing hours for businesses.

 

(a)        Generally.  No shop, store or other place of trade or entertainment in the city, with the exception of licensed taverns, pharmacies, victualing houses, laundromats, gasoline stations (including gasoline stations with victualling), and bowling alleys, and such other businesses as may be approved by the city council, shall be kept open between 1:00 a.m. and 4:00 6:00 a.m. during the last six days of the week.

(b)        Victualing houses and bowling alleys; Permit required for extension of closing hours. No pharmacies, licensed victualing house, laundromat, gasoline station (including gasoline stations with victualling), or bowling alley, or such other business as may be approved by the city council shall be kept open between 1:00 a.m. and 4:00 6:00 a.m. during the last six days of the week without first obtaining approval a special permit from the city council extending the closing hour beyond 1:00 a.m.  Such special permit may be granted for a probationary period or with such conditions and terms as the city council may provide.  The city council shall make any inquiry, inspection and investigation as it considers reasonably required to ensure that the health, safety, welfare, peace and tranquility of the public will not be adversely affected by any such permit and the city council may fix such conditions to the permit as it deems reasonably required for the protection of the public.  The fee for such permit shall be $100.00 $125.00 per annum, payable to the city clerk.

(c)        Bowling alleys on Sunday.  No bowling alley shall be licensed to operate on the first day of the week between 1:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon of the first day.

SECTION II.  This ordinance shall take effect upon its second passage and all ordinances or parts of ordinances inconsistent herewith are hereby repealed.

Requested by:  Councilwoman Sousa

Motion___By___2nd___

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XIV.       ADJOURNMENT

 

Motion___By___2nd___

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*If communications assistance is needed or any other accommodations to ensure equal participation please contact the City Clerk’s at 435-7590.

 

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