The “Bluemead Farm” subdivision in Rumstick got another nod from the Barrington Planning Board Wednesday night, Jan. 2.
There were some definite concerns raised by members of the board, a member of the Housing Board of Trustees and affordable-housing critic Gary Morse about the location of the affordable housing units on the nine-lot, 13.6-acre site off of Chachapacasset and Beach Roads.
But the six members of the Planning Board at the meeting in Town Hall reached a consensus that is expected to lead to a vote to approve the master plan at the next meeting in February. Chairman Mike McCormick asked Town Planner Phil Hervey to draft a motion for approval.
The plan presented Wednesday night by engineer David Gardiner and attorney Bruce Cox was an “alternative application” that boosted by one unit to three the number of affordable homes in the subdivision. The affordable units will be built as a single-family home and a two-unit duplex.
The two lots set aside for the affordable homes both sit off of Chachapacasset Road. The lots are not seen as being integrated into the subdivision as both Barrington and state law mandate.
Molly Lee, a member of the Housing Board, said she does not feel that the developer, Bluemead Family L.P. of 211 RumstickRoad, is blending in the affordable units so they would not be recognizable from the market-rate homes to be built on the other seven lots.
Morse said he believes the development is in direct violation of the law, which mandates that affordable homes be integrated throughout the development. He also questioned the “timing” of the construction of the affordable homes, which under the law are to “be built and occupied prior to or simultaneous with the construction and occupancy of any market rate units.”
Andrew Teitz, the solicitor for the Planning Board, said restrictions can be imposed that address the timing, location and architectural style of the affordable units. But the board walks a fine line of imposing restrictions that are so onerous that they might be ignored.
McCormick indicated that a vote of approval next month might involve placing some restrictions or conditions on the developer for the affordable homes.
The subdivision previously was referred to the Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission for a possible archeological study because it sits adjacent to a spring-fed pond along Beach Road that dates back to pre-Colonial days.
A response from the heritage commission indicates that although there is a reasonable assumption that the site might have some historic significance, it did not advise that an archeological study be completed.
The development’s infrastructure – water, sewer and utilities – will be built by the developer. The subdivision includes a new 623-foot long street at Lewis Street that ends at a cul de sac.