By a split vote, the Barrington Town Council last week decided not to ask for a “declaratory judgment” on Rhode Island’s affordable housing tax rate.
The Town Council has been mulling filing a legal motion to determine if the tax rate of 8 percent on rents of affordable housing developments is a legal standard the town most follow under state law.
The councilors finally voted 3-2 against taking that action last Monday, Jan. 6, under advisement from Barrington’s solicitor, Mike Ursillo.
Ursillo said his advice to the Town Council was to wait until after the lawsuit filed in Superior Court last September by the citizens group, CODDER 02806, against the Barrington Planning Board and the developer, East Bay Community Development Corporation (EBDCD) of Bristol, was handled by the court.
The Planning Board has approved a master plan for the proposed Palmer Pointe development on the Sowams Nursery site. The developer has said that it expects to receive the 8 percent tax rate to help make the project feasible.
Voting to pursue a judgment were Town Councilors Bill DeWitt and Ann Strong. Voting against taking action at this time were Town Council President June Speakman, Vice President Kate Weymouth and Town Councilor Cynthia Coyne.
The master plan for Palmer Pointe calls for 42 rental units on 5.6 acres of buildable land – or about 8 units per acre in what is an R25 zone. EBCDC built and operates the Sweetbriar affordable housing development in West Barrington, for which it pays 8 percent of rents as its tax to the town.