Affordable Housing Tax Abatement, Municipal Court Judge Top Agenda

The Barrington Town Council meets at 7 pm in the Council Chamber in Town Hall after starting at 6 pm with an executive session.

A request for a tax abatement for the proposed affordable-housing development at Sowams Nursery and the appointment of Barrington’s first Municipal Court judge head the agenda of tonight’s Town Council meeting.

The meeting starts at 6 pm in the Council Chamber in Town Hall although the first hour will be devoted to an interview for a Municipal Court bailiff and an executive session selecting a bailiff and the judge. In effect, the meeting starts at the regular time of 7 pm.

The councilors also will hear a report from the Conservation Commission on the town’s plastic bag ban, review guidelines for memorials on town property, act on the request from the Dellefratte family for a memorial, and hear an update on the proposed Community Center project.

East Bay Community Development Corporation is seeking a tax abatement for its proposed 48-unit “Palmer Pointe” rental development of of Sowams Road. The tax abatement is considered critical for the financing of the property by EBCDC. Without it, the development would probably not be financially feasible.

A petition opposing the tax abatement for the project will be presented by Gary and Mary Ann Morse of Barrington. It asks the councilors to deny the abatement primarily because it is seen as creating an unfair burden on property owners with similar incomes who are not given similar consideration on their property assessments. 

Two Barrington attorneys are being considered for Municipal Court judge: Francis “Frank” Connor and Dean Robinson. Each was interviewed by the Town Council on May 13 after being selected from among 10 attorneys who applied for the post.

Connor is a partner in the Taylor Duane Barton & Gilman law firm in Providence. He concentrates on medical professional liability defense, business disputes, insurance, and catastrophic personal injuries. He lives with his wife and three children on Harbour Road.

Robinson has been operating a private law firm since 2004 on Willett Avenue in Riverside. He concentrates on business law, probate and civil litigation. He lives with his wife and three children on New Meadow Road. 

See the Patch story for more information on the two candidates.

Here is the complete agenda for tonight’s Town Council meeting:


MONDAY, JUNE 3, 2013 @ 6:00 P.M.


1. Call to Order

2. Interview Candidate for Municipal Court Bailiff 

3.  Executive Session in Accordance with RIGL 42-46-5 (a) (1) Personnel (Municipal Court Judge and Bailiff)

4.  Pledge of Allegiance – NOT BEFORE 7:00 P.M.

5.  Announcements: 

  • Girl Scout Gold Award Recognition to April Marion Harff, Carlene Niguidula and Molly Williams
  • Town’s Recycling Program

6.  *Adopt Town Council Minutes of May 6, 13 and 17, 2013 Meetings

7.  *Utility Petitions

8.  *Monthly Department Reports: 

Fire Chief, Police Chief/Animal Control Official, Building Official, Public Works Director, Town Planner, Town Solicitor, Finance Director, Tax Assessor, Senior Services Director, Library Director, Barrington Adult Youth Team Coordinator and Recreation and Leisure Services Director (Town Clerk report for May will be on July agenda)

9.  *Abatement List

10.  *Surplus Property

11.  Public Comment (two minute statement) –

To the public:  This agenda item is for members of the public to speak regarding a topic that is not already on the agenda. Please indicate that you would like to speak by raising your hand. When you are recognized, please approach the microphone in front of the Council.

12.  Bristol County Water Authority Report

13.   Appoint Municipal Court Judge and Bailiff

14.   Report from Conservation Commission on Reusable Checkout Bag Initiative (Plastic Bag Ban)

15.   Park and Recreation Items

  • Review Guidelines for Memorials on Town Property
  • Discuss and Act on Request from Dellefratte Family for a Memorial on Town Property
  • Public Hearing on Ordinance #2013-5 Amending the Code of the Town of Barrington Chapter 134 Parks and Recreation, Article I:  Private Tennis Lessons Prohibited
  • Resolution for Fees and Fines:  Tennis Programs and Land Use Processing Fee 

16. Resolutions: 

  • To Oppose Bills H5703 and S0544 which would Impose a State Mandate Requiring Property with Slopes be Measured a Certain Way Permitting increased Density
  • To Oppose Bills H5425 and S0672 Prohibiting Local Governments from having a Wetlands Buffer More Stringent than the State buffer
  • To Oppose Bill S0322 Occupancy Permit Legislation
  • To Support Bills H6060 and S0733 Historic Tax Credit
  • To Support Municipal Streetlight Investment Act
  • To Amend Sewer Use Rates 

17.  Public Hearing:  St. Andrew’s School’s Request for Zone Change

18.   Set Affordable Housing Workshop

19.   Discuss and Act on Palmer Pointe/East Bay Community Development Corporation Tax Abatement/Exemption 

20.  Update on Community Center Project

21.  Public Hearings for Ordinances Amending the Code of the Town of Barrington:

  •  Ordinance #2013-2, Amend Chapter 63 Alcoholic Beverages, Article IV:  Possession of Alcohol by Underage Persons.
  • Ordinance #2013-3, Amend Chapter 131 Disorderly Conduct.
  • Ordinance #2013-4, Amend Chapter 124 Licenses and Permits, Article I:  Peddling, Soliciting, and Transient Merchants.

22. Bids: 

Department of Public Works: One (1) Four Wheel Drive Loader

One (1) Tub Grinder Services

Tax Assessor for 2014 Revaluation

Town Planner for Wayfinding/Streetscape Consultant Proposal 

23. Discuss and Act on Establishing Charter Review Committee

24.  Discuss and Act on  RFP for Assessing Standards Expert Consultative Services

25. Introduce Ordinance #2013-6

Amending the Code of the Town of Barrington Chapter 45 Salaries and Compensation, Non-Union Employees 

26.  Set Agenda for July 1, 2013 Council Meeting 

27.  Adjourn

Gary Morse June 03, 2013 at 07:27 PM
Steve, I had to go back to the EBCDC (Sweetbriar) vs Barrington case to get the specific arguments in that case (summarized) 1) That the space was needed for business zoning to "to expand the town's economic base" to which the court pointed out that - "lot No. 110 has remained vacant for three decades, is surrounded by residential neighborhoods, and does not have access to any major highways-factors making commercial demand for the site “extremely limited." 2) Barrington's use regulation prohibiting two-family dwellings in all but the diminutive percentage of the site zoned for “Neighborhood Business” (lot Nos. 106 and 147) frustrated the development of any consequential affordable housing on the site. 3) The town argued that the only alternative to business use for the site suggested in the plan was for elderly housing to which the court rightfully noted that there was no "rational explanation for why the parcels were suitable for affordable elderly housing, as the town conceded, but not affordable non-elderly housing". In short, the town's case was foolish and should have been lost. That is not equivalent to where the town is today.
B/STOCK June 03, 2013 at 09:23 PM
Could someone tell me why the two previous private plans for the Sowams road property were denied? It seems to me the plans were denied because of the cozy relationship EB housing has with the hero's of the the town council. Am I wrong?
Manifold Witness June 03, 2013 at 09:40 PM
Excellent point, B/STOCK. Please see: http://barrington.patch.com/articles/some-history-on-sowams-nursery Excepted: "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”.
Jo Ellen Ojeda June 03, 2013 at 11:54 PM
Steve, I am only a PT resident now but deplore another affordable housing development and oppose any tax abatement. We have many seniors being forced out of town because of the astronomical and disproportionate tax burden. The value of property on the three points of land has been destroyed and people cannot sell their homes because of the tax burden. Let me know how I can help. Jo Ellen Ojeda, 247-4749
Equity June 04, 2013 at 01:29 AM
Manifold: Was this project supported by the neighbors/residents of Barrington?


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