Did a revolt against Rhode Island’s affordable-housing law start in Barrington Monday night, Dec. 17?
The Town Council decided to raise the issue at a joint meeting with the Warren and Bristol town councils on Wednesday evening, Dec. 19, in Barrington Town Hall.
“It makes sense to find out how Warren and Bristol feel about this,” said Mike Ursillo, Barrington’s solicitor. “Then you can decide the next step.”
Town Councilor Bill DeWitt could go down as the first revolutionary. He brought up the idea of pushing back against legislation that was a bit of an election campaign issue in Barrington.
“I’d like to see some push back,” he said. “The 10 percent mandate is completely arbitrary. And what we’re getting may not be what we need.”
“Let’s make a statement for a change,” he said. “Let’s ask the legislature to seek a change.”
DeWitt got some immediate support from Town Councilor Ann Strong.
“Ten percent does seem like such an arbitrary figure,” she said. “Towns should have more opportunity to craft more friendly legislation that meets individual needs.”
“I agree in principle,” said Town Council President June Speakman. “But it will be hard to change the law.”
Strong suggested seeking out town partners for the revolt, not just legislators. Town Councilor Cynthia Coyne proposed a workshop or forum of some type for communities to get together to see if they have common ground on which to stand for a revolt.
“I do think there are solutions if we can bring a coalition together,” said DeWitt.
Will Wednesday night be the next step in the start of a revolution against Rhode Island’s affordable housing law?