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'Palmer Pointe' to Get Another Unveiling

Representatives of the developer of the Sowams Nursery affordable housing project to meet in a 'pre-application' conference with three Barrington boards and residents who already oppose it.

The developers of the proposed Palmer Pointe affordable housing complex at the Sowams Nursery site in Barrington will continue to test the waters Tuesday evening, Jan. 15, in a rather atypical venue. 

Representatives of the East Bay Community Development Corporation will meet with the Planning Board, the Technical Review Committee and the Housing Board of Trustees in the library gallery room. It starts at 7 pm.

This session – known as a “pre-application conference” – also is expected to draw scores of residents opposed to the housing development, particularly a group that calls itself COD 02806 – Community Opposed to Development.

Residents will be allowed to ask questions, said Town Planner Philip Hervey.

A pre-application conference rarely draws this type of interest, said Hervey. Typicially, it takes place only with members of the Planning Board in attendance. 

“It’s not normally this type of get-together,” Hervey said. 

The pre-application conference usually provides the developer with feedback about the apparent feasibility of a project before filing an application to get the “master plan” approval process started. Tuesday’s session is expected to get way more feedback than is typical at this stage of the process.

EBCDC actually held its own public session for residents of that neighborhood on Nov. 27 in the Barrington library auditorium. See Patch story.

A variety of questions were asked at that meeting of EBCDC’s Frank Spinella, Don Powers of Union Studio – the architect for the project, and Shawn Martin – the Fuss & O’Neill engineer for the project. They are expected to be on hand for the pre-application conference.

EBCDC is the same organization that developed and runs the Sweetbriar affordable housing complex in Bay Spring.

Gary Morse January 14, 2013 at 12:57 PM
“It’s not normally this type of get-together,” Hervey said. That's because this is not a normal project. 1) The developer wants a property tax abatement paid for by town residents where the property tax rate will be less than 10% of the average tax bill in town, and where Barrington residents are already the highest taxed in the state on a per capita basis. 2) Nobody can explain why the 10% affordable mandate does not count existing low cost homes in town. The RI Supreme Court recently ruled the affordable housing "fee-in-lieu" payments illegal by citing the definitions from the 2004 Comprehensive Housing Production and Rehabilitation Act. That Act does not specify "deed restrictions" in the definition of affordable housing. Has the Planning Board addressed this with RI Housing? http://www.courts.ri.gov/Courts/SupremeCourt/OpinionsOrders/opinions/09-93.pdf 3) This project is a waste of a valuable town resource being high end waterfront property.
Barbara Donovan January 15, 2013 at 02:48 AM
Perhaps all the senior home owners could receive a property tax abatement. I know a lot of them who would appreciate that. If the town cannot help with senior housing this would be a wonderful way to maintain our senior population. They are a lot less "taxing" on the town. Barbara Donovan

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