NARRAGANSETT—The Coastal Resources Management Council sub-committee charged with the Downing/Salt Pond Partners housing construction met Wednesday evening to further discuss the impact of the discovery of a major archaeological site on the 67 acre lot behind Salt Pond Plaza. Members of the sub-committee discussed further the validity of the construction firms claims that they should proceed with the project as originally planned.
A U.S. Appeals Court recently rejected a suit from Downing/Salt Pond Partners against the CRMC over construction delays on the planned 76 house project because of the discovery of a major Native American village site. The archaeological find has been considered by researchers as perhaps one of the most significant Pre-Colonial Native American finds on the east coast.
The sub-committee discussed the validity of Downing/Salt Pond Partners’ original permit which the firm states has been complied with. The permit, which was given by the CRMC in 1992, carries stipulations that if any archaeological material is discovered during the project’s construction, it must be properly preserved and documented.
“According to some of the persuasive language that I have read, knowing that this area may be of some historical nature, my review of all the evidence is that we have a valid assent [for construction of the housing project] that was properly given by the CRMC,” said Raymond Coia, member of the CRMC council. “I think that Downing to my understanding has done everything that they’ve been asked to do.”
“The state for economic reasons told that the assent would be extended, but not all of the conditions have been complied with, “ said Paul E. Lemont, Vice-Chair of the CRMC council. “My recommendation is that we receive the assent, the state’s approving continuation of that assent, but that we temper the situation by requiring that before any work is done, all studies that had previously been required be completed. That is where I am on this.”
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