Some History of 'Palmer Pointe' Site
COD 02806 offers in a letter to the editor some history on the Sowams Nursery site proposed for a Barrington affordable housing development; the citizens group opposes the development.
On January 11, 2006 the Barrington Planning Board denied an application for a Major Subdivision consisting of 8 privately owned residences (“Osprey Landing”) on the Sowams Nursery property on Sowams road.
This is the same property on which the East Bay Community Development Corporation (EBCDC) seeks to construct 48 units of low and moderate income rental housing.
In their decision denying the “Osprey Landing” application, the Board (none of whose members are on the present Planning Board) included the following rationale for their denial:
- “The applicant sought to maximize the number of house lots at the expense of good planning design: alternative configurations with fewer lots could have reduced the number of requested waivers;”
- “The Master Plan proposal does not conform to the following aspects of the Comprehensive Plan:
- “Insure that future residential development is done in a manner that preserves Barrington’s character* and quality of life, including sensitivity to important open space areas and significant natural resources”.
- “Insure that new residential development addresses Barrington’s housing goals by rigorously meeting all subdivision and zoning regulations”.
The current edition of the Barrington Comprehensive Community Plan (BCCP) dated December 5, 2011 is rife with references protecting the character*, special qualities and ecology of existing Barrington neighborhoods including the following:
pg. 19 - “Goals, Policies, Strategies and Actions”:
- “Provide for future housing needs, including a range of housing types and prices for families and seniors, in a manner that preserves Barrington’s character* and quality of life through sensitivity to existing neighborhoods, historic resources, important open spaces and environmentally sensitive areas”
- “Ensure that future development is compatible with the character*of Barrington in general and that of individual neighborhoods”.
pg. 116 – “Land Use Goals and Policies”
- “Preserve the predominant residential character* of Barrington, while providing open space and limited commercial industrial and institutional land uses to serve the needs of town residents.”
- “Protect valuable existing natural features, important open space and agricultural land in Barrington, and reclaim areas for environmental restoration including wetlands and waterways, when appropriate.”
- “Ensure that future development is compatible with adjoining land uses, the natural environment, available or planned community services and existing historic and cultural features.”
The question of how we devolved from a Planning Board decision rejecting 8 residential units in an R25 zone on Sowams Nursery as being excessive, and encouraging the development of 48 units on the same property with the same zoning, is deserving of a thorough examination by the current Planning Board in light of existing law and policy.
COD 02806 will continue to probe this and many other issues and report back to you. We feel confident that the law and policy of this state are in our favor.
*Note: The term “character” is defined in the unabridged edition of the Random House Dictionary of the English Language as: “The aggregate of features and traits that form the apparent individual nature of some person or thing.”