Burrillville’s comp plan approved through 2028; Work to receive special recognition

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BURRILLVILLE – The Division of Statewide Planning has granted official approval to Burrillville’s new comprehensive plan, a policy document that is expected to guide growth and development in the town through 2028.

And town officials’ “hard and dedicated,” work on the plan – submitted in August after nearly four years of drafting – will receive special recognition from state officials at a meeting next month.

The plan is required under state law through a process that aims to help Rhode Island communities manage land and natural resources, and to encourage strategic decision making by municipal leaders. Prior to the recent version, Burrillville’s plan had last been updated in 2004, and since that time, state standards had changed.

The new plan, passed on to state officials for approval after extensive revisions by town planners, focuses on further development of bike paths in town for recreation, and improvements to the village of Nasonville. It was passed by the Town Council in August.

In a letter to Council President John Pacheco, DSP Associate Director Meredith Brady outlines seven criteria used to evaluate the document, noting that Burrillville complied with all of the requirements under Rhode Island’s Comprehensive Planning and Land Use Regulation Act.

“I certify that the Burrillville Comprehensive Plan is consistent with the goals, findings, and intent as established by the Act,” noted Brady.

The plan officially went into effect as of the date of approval. It takes specific aim against new fossil fuel energy production centers, a significant addition as state officials must soon rule on Invenergy Thermal LLC’s proposal to build a power plant off of Wallum Lake Road.

Burrillville’s new comprehensive plan lists discouragement of fossil fuel energy production, particularly outside the town’s industrial zones, as a goal.

“I’m just hoping that Meredith Brady looks at the part of the plan having to do with rural areas of the community and takes that to heart when she’s making a decision on the power plant,” said Town Manager Michael Wood.

Town Councilors Amanda Gingell and Stephen Rawson during discussion of the state certification of the Burrillville’s Comprehensive Plan.

Town Councilor Stephen Rawson noted that the plan has been well received, and that Planning Board member Marc Tremblay received verbal comment from one official at the Department of Environmental Management.

“Her comment to him was it was the best arranged plan she’s seen so far in the state,” said Rawson. “I want to give kudos to the Planning Department, and to the administration, for doing a bang up job on that.”

Brady also acknowledged town officials in her communication to Pacheco.

“I greatly appreciate the level of hard and dedicated work that went into the production of this plan,” Brady wrote.

The state planning leader invited Pacheco, along with Town Planner Ray Goff, to attend a presentation of a Certificate of Recognition to Burrillville at a meeting of the State Planning Council scheduled on Thursday, Jan. 10.

“Congratulations and on behalf of the State of Rhode Island, we look forward to working with your community in realizing the desired future as expressed by the residents of Burrillville through your Comprehensive Plan,” wrote Brady.

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