Condo Developer Appeals Denial
North End Holdings has appealed the Barrington Planning Board's decision to deny the condominium development proposed in rural Nockum Hill near the wildlife refuge.
The condominium development proposed for rural Nockum Hill in Barrington -- The Residences at the Preserve -- is not going away quietly after all.
The developer, North End Holdings of Wakefield, RI, has filed an appeal of the Planning Board's Aug. 27 decision to the State Housing Appeals Board (SHAB).
The grounds for the appeal are listed as:
- The decision is not consistent with local needs of Barrington and is unreasonable in relation to the town's affordable housing needs.
- The Planning Board improperly applied the incorrect version of Barrington's Affordable Housing Plan, and the decision conflicts with the applicable provisions of Barrington's Affordable Housing Plan and Comprehensive Plan.
- The findings in the decision are not supported by the record.
- Barrington is not meeting its affordable housing needs.
- The decision is clearly erroneous in view of the reliable, probative and substantial evidence of the whole record.
- The decision is arbitrary and capricious and characterized by abuse of discretion or clearly unwarranted exercise of discretion.
The appeal was filed by attorney William R. Landry of Blish & Cavanaugh of Providence.
Barrington Town Planner Phil Hervey said it is the first appeal of a rejected housing development since Sweetbriar in West Barrington, which ended up in the state Supreme Court.
The decision by the Planning Board on Aug. 27 was unanimous -- 6-0. It echoed a straw vote on the housing complex taken at the July meeting.
As planned, the development includes 24 condos primarily in a former horse paddock that abuts farmland and lies just east of the Doug Rayner Wildlife Refuge. Up to a half dozen of the condos are affordable housing units.
The motion that denied the application states:
“Denial is based on the Planning Board’s determination that the proposal’s density, design and location conflict with multiple goals, policies and strategies of the Affordable Housing Plan and the Comprehensive Community Plan, and raise concerns about its potential impact on the environment and health and safety.”
The decision by the board “is based upon the following legal conclusions, each supported by findings of fact.”
- The Town has an approved affordable housing plan, is meeting housing needs through its adoption of the implementation program of the approved affordable housing plan and has made significant effort to accomplishing the purposes and expectations of the approved affordable housing plan.
- The proposal, certified as complete on March 26, 2012, is inconsistent with the Town’s affordable housing plan, as described below.
- The proposal is not in conformance with the Comprehensive Plan, specifically the Future Land Use Map.
- The Town has plans to meet the goal of ten percent (10%) of the year‐round units being low and moderate‐income housing in accordance with the approved Affordable Housing Plan, as contained within the Housing & Neighborhoods element of the Comprehensive Community Plan.
- Concerns for the environment and the health and safety of current residents have not been adequately addressed. The applicant, as stated in a letter from attorney William Landry dated July 3, 2012, has declined to provide the Town an engineering review fee at the master plan stage, which was requested by the Planning Board at the May 2012 meeting. The applicant’s engineer, Scott Moorehead of S.F.M. Engineering, has stated the proposal would have no negative environmental effects. However, peer review by a third‐party engineer would have enabled the Town to more thoroughly evaluate the plans and the issues cited below, as well as potentially identify other issues not listed.