COD's Take on Town Council Meeting
COD 02806 offers an update on the most recent Barrington Town Council meeting.
COD 02806 submitted this update on the March 4 Town Council meeting as a letter to the editor to Patch.
1. The Town Council meeting was preceded by a meeting of the Trustees of the Amey Tucker Spencer Trust Fund, which is actually the Town Council. They had an abbreviated agenda which they dispatched in short order. Gary Morse, always eloquent, raised several issues concerning the trust and the management thereof, and we would prefer if he gave you a rundown. It was clear that he was extremely well versed on trust matters and ramifications concerning use of the funds.
2. The Agenda for the Town Council meeting contained 30 items slated for discussion. The Council Chamber was packed.
Item 13 was “Discussion with Senator Bates and Representatives Hearn and Malik on the low and moderate income housing act and its impact on municipalities”.
Members of the Town Council questioned the legislators on happenings at the State House. Although there were some initiatives afoot, the bottom line is that there’s very little happening. No legislation has been introduced. Our legislators indicated they would take initiatives to advance discussion of community concerns.
COD 02806 made a presentation to the Town Council and legislators. We gave a folder to each legislator and Chair of the T/C June Speakman, asking her to provide a copy to each of the Board members. The folders contained a blank copy of the petition we have circulated noting on its face that we have amassed 527 signatures to date, and would soon resume circulating the petition. It also contained many of the documents we have published in the media (newspapers, e-mail, Barrington Patch and eastbayri) and delivered to residents. Also included was a newspaper article published n the Westerly Sun about a forum convened by other towns in RI that are seeking changes to the law regarding Low and Moderate Income Housing.
We briefly discussed the contents of each document provided.
In answer to an issue raised concerning a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), we pointed out that a year ago the Barrington Town Council approved a CDBG for the East Bay Community Development Corporation (EBCDC) for $125,000 for construction of the multi-unit apartment rental complex at Sowams Nursery – the project we are opposed to. We pointed out that now, a year later, no application had been submitted to the town by the EBCDC. We referenced our memorandum to Town Boards and Committees concerning perceived bias in some quarters of government favoring EBCDC, and we strongly questioned the relationship between town personnel and the EBCDC and behind the scene dealing. Chair Speakman acknowledged that the funds for that grant had been received. We intend to probe this matter in greater depth at the public meeting on Friday, March 8, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. at the Town Hall where a CDBG for 2013 is being discussed once again for Low and Moderate Income Housing matters.
Finally, our spokesperson was asked what, if anything, was our greatest concern regarding existing LMIH law. We responded that the issue was separate and apart from the Sowams Nursery project which was our primary concern. However we felt the state law concerning the 10% quota was a “one size fits all” approach to the issue, and different towns had different issues that needed to be addressed.