A decision on the appeal of the Barrington Planning Board’s rejection of a proposed condominium development at Nockum Hill is expected by Jan. 10.
The State Housing Appeals Board heard oral arguments from attorneys for Barrington and the developer, North End Holdings of Wakefield, RI, last Friday afternoon, Dec. 13.
“The merits of the case were presented,” said Andrew Teitz, a solicitor for the planning board.
No decision was made last week. SHAB already had written briefs from the attorneys.
Attorney Bill Landry made the case for North End Holdings. Nancy Letendre, a solicitor for the planning board and in the same law form as Teitz, made the case for Barrington, said Teitz.
“She is the expert on land use and planning,” said Teitz.
Letendre also had to defend a decision by Barrington to build its own affordable housing development on 10 acres of land on George Street about a half-mile from the proposed development. Three of those acres will be used for the housing.
North End Holdings proposed building the 24-unit condominium development, named “The Residences at the Preserve,” on a former horse paddock off of George Street near the Doug Rayner Wildlife Refuge. Eight of the units would have been designated as affordable housing.
The Planning Board rejected by a 6-0 vote the application after a long public hearing. North End Holdings filed the appeal in October of 2012.
SHAB then began the appeals process last May and continued with the hearing on the appeal last September.
The Planning Board’s denial was based on “a 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 proposals also has faced stiff opposition from the Barrington Preservation Society, which believes the location owned by North End Holdings on Nockum Hill, has historic value as the site of the first Baptist Church founded in North America. A large stone on George Street within footsteps of the development’s site indicates that the church was built on Nockum Hill, although the exact location is still a bit of an mystery.