Letter – Conflicting PMUD claims

Published 7:23 pm Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

Town officials desire to be in their respective positions to serve. Some of them do other beneficial community activities outside of their official town duties, more so than most of the rest of us. They do the heavy lifting that others are not willing to do, and that part is respected and appreciated.

That being said, I feel that a select few feel that they (and only they) know what is best for the town. In other words, they feel that they somewhat own the town. Their constituent input is for the most part just politely tolerated. Some town officials do really listen and consider citizens input, but the select few.

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I was advised at length by a town official that the PMUD (Planned Mixed Use Development) zoning designation was created by a consortium of many entities. I was further advised that the 60-foot “by right” height originally contained within it was “selected to be in conformance with the Hampton Inn.” However, another town official soundly berated me for repeatedly bringing up the topic at town meetings and told me that I should stop talking about it. Further that it was a “mistake” for it to have been in the proposal.

So, which was it: a collaboration of many, or a mistaken entry by one individual? Strange that it took many meetings and much discussion for the Planning Commission to strike it from the PMUD.

There is a 15-page “Conceptual Master Plan” for the Pierceville project dated December 2021 that shows a four-story apartment building. What developer is going to pay an architect to draw up such plans hoping to “draw to an inside straight”? The Planning Commission, Town Council and Board of Historic & Architectural Review all say accurately that “nothing has been officially submitted.” They will decide if a special use permit is appropriate at such time.

I am certain that all parties above have seen the aforementioned plan. What is a valid reason that the developer cannot simply be told that anything above the current 35-foot code requirements for the Pierceville project is off the table? Exceptions such as clock towers, church steeples, etc., notwithstanding. Wouldn’t it be more fair to the builder not to waste any more architect funds on buildings over the 35-foot limit?


Bob Hines