December 14, 2017

Town of Rehoboth Senior Center/Anawan School Project Moves Forward

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Site plans for the Anawan School Project have been posted on the Town’s website, and representatives from the Women’s Development Corporation, along with the Town’s attorney, provided a very comprehensive summary of the status of the project to the Town’s Zoning Board, Thursday night, September 21. While many of the issues raised previously in The Reporter (such as those by Veronica Brickley in the August 2017 issue) are still unanswered, most attendees seem to appreciate the opportunity for dialogue. One of the concerns raised by the hearing on September 21 was the parking issue, primarily whether there would be enough parking for the 82 residents, their visitors, and caregivers. It seems likely that there would often be overflow to available parking at the present Senior Center. There were attendees who were unclear about the plot distribution between the new development and the existing Senior Center. Currently these are all a single property, and apparently will remain so, so that in the near future it appears that our Senior Center will have its own residential annex  82 residents  and our Town fathers will become real estate managers, Big Time.
A number of attendees at the Zoning Board Hearing were concerned principally with the issue of water. Will there be enough water to provide for 82 residents, on a lot size that in this town is typically expected to provide sufficient water for at most 2 homes, with 4 or less people per household? In other words, we would expect 10 times the available water that is typically provided by our bedrock aquifer. There was a question on the radius of influence of the proposed two new wells, which extends well beyond the Senior Center property boundaries, encroaching on a neighbor’s land, as well as a wetland. The latter  wetlands  are a major source of recharge of groundwater in the Town, and it is not clear, at all, how this wetland ties into the local water table, and how the water table will be affected by runoff from a septic system servicing 82+ people a day from the new apartment complex, as well as a varying number of people per day visiting the Senior Center. The question on many people’s minds was, who is responsible for the Town’s water? Probably most people, outside of the presenters, left the meeting feeling that there was still much to do. The Zoning Board, and the Town’s lawyer, left us feeling that much of this is beyond our control; it’s all to be decided by state and federal agencies. It seems to me that it is up to the residents of the town if this is indeed to be the case.
Jack (John F.) Hermance, 75 Ash Street
Professor, Brown University; e-mail: John_Hermance@Brown,Edu

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