Sustainable Warwick releases its 'Green Screen' village candidate results

06 Mar 2020 | 01:29

Sustainable Warwick (SW) has inaugurated the “Green Screen,” a new procedure that we hope will be of interest to all Warwick residents, Village and Town. The idea is to pose sustainability-related questions to all candidates running for local office — Village Board, Town Board and School Board.

What we asked

Of the two main questions we asked for the upcoming Village elections, one had to do with managing the Village’s “carbon footprint” and steps to make it “greener."

The other focused on development, growth and zoning, with a particular focus on some of the controversial projects currently in the pipeline.

We conducted interviews with three of the four candidates on the ballot — Barry Cheney, the incumbent Board member, and two newcomers, Corey Bachman, who is active in the Lions Club, Historical Society and other Warwick organizations, and Stephen Kitar, the developer of the proposed Pulpit Rock hotel.

The fourth candidate, Alfonso Gonnella, did not respond to our request for an interview.

With the Village Board elections coming up on March 18 this year, we are making the results of our interviews available to the general public so that they can be considered as voters make these important choices.

What they said

In a very condensed form, here’s where the candidates' stand:

Barry Cheney is proud of the progress that Warwick has made towards being designated a “Clean Energy Community” and looks forward to achieving the even more exacting standards of a “Climate Smart Community.”

In terms of development, Cheney says “The biggest challenge is to manage the always-tricky interface between commercial and residential uses in a way that balances economic growth and the character of the village.”

He feels that the new Village Master Plan, and the zoning review that will go with it, will be the best opportunity to address that challenge.

For Corey Bachman, in answer to the first question on making the Village “greener,” the focus should be on improving its infrastructure. He wants to focus on things like repairing and improving sidewalks, adding bike lanes ,more solar in the Village and a robust “buy local” program.

As for growth and development, Bachman’s main goal is to “protect the neighborhoods.”

Bachman sees a need for greater transparency about decisions affecting local residents and, when he is on the Board, he will advocate for a more open process.

Finally, he sees the new Village Master Plan as a great opportunity to address many of these issues, including the designation and protection of historically significant Village sites.

Stephen Kitar, the third candidate, cites his positive experiences with two local businesses: the organic and locally grown foods he introduced at the Spring Street Market and the conversion to “green dry cleaning” at Ledo Cleaners as evidence of his commitment to keeping Warwick green.

On the question of growth, the name of his Party says it all: GROW (Growth Respectful of Warwick). He feels that “growth is going to happen” and the key is not to fight it, but to “embrace and control it.”

He feels the need to sustain people and local businesses, in addition to open spaces.

Further, he is strongly in favor of local businesses thriving and is deeply concerned over the rapid turnover of Main Street businesses in Warwick.

He sees the Village of Florida as an example of “positive change” more than Warwick.

The full write-ups of these interviews can be found on the SW website —sustainablewarwick.org/green-screen — and we urge readers to checkthere for “the rest of the story.”