The Barrington Housing Board of Trustees took a look at a pair of proposed housing developments Tuesday night and, according to chairman Steve Martin, the group had a few questions on both plans.
Bluemead Farm is a nine-lot subdivision slated for 13.5 acres of land on Chachapacasset Road. Mr. Martin said the board’s concern with this project centered on two issues, including the proposed location of a bioretention basin. Mr. Martin said the plan includes one basin to serve the entire subdivision, which is located on one of the properties. The problem, Mr. Martin said, is it appears as though maintenance of the basin would fall to the owner of that respective lot.
Additionally, Mr. Martin said there were concerns with what appears to be a plan to sell the lots as opposed to selling entire area as a development. Mr. Martin said this could potentially lead to compliance issues with aspects of the town’s comprehensive plan such as requirements that affordable properties resemble other market rate homes in a development and that affordable properties are constructed at a similar pace to market rate homes.
On Sowams Road, the housing board was given its first look at a proposed 50-unit development known as Palmer Pointe. Mr. Martin said the group had a couple of ideas for the area, such as questioning if it would be possible to alter the development’s one story structures to two story buildings. Mr. Martin said this would allow for more green space. The housing board also wondered if there were any plans to create public access to the Palmer River, located in back of the development.
In both instances, Mr. Martin noted that the housing board’s role is advisory and without review authority. The housing board’s comments will be forwarded on to the town council and the planning board.
On George Street, Mr. Martin said the housing board continued work on a request for qualifications. Mr. Martin the RFQ, which has not yet been issued, is aimed at finding a developer that may be able to work with the town towards an affordable housing project on George Street, where the town owns a parcel of land.
Mr. Martin said the housing board is aware of the neighborhood characteristics on George Street and any development would fit in with what is currently in place.
Outside of developments, Mr. Martin said the housing board’s meeting featured a good turnout. Prior to discussion of a possible development on Sowams Road, Mr. Martin said attendance for housing board meetings was sparse, at best.
“It was rare that anyone was ever there,” he said.
Last week, however, Mr. Martin said the evening came with a “fairly good size” crowd nestled in the library board room. The Republican candidates for town council were all hand, said Mr. Martin, who also noted he’s glad the issue of affordable housing is getting some attention in town.
“I’m quite certain it’s going to be a major political issue in the coming election and it should be,” Mr. Martin said.
“People should be paying attention to it.”
The planning board and the town’s technical review committee are scheduled to review the Palmer Pointe plans at a meeting on Thursday, Sept. 27.