To the editor:
Why hasn’t the Barrington Town Council had an up or down vote on granting a property tax abatement to the Palmer Pointe affordable housing project?
It has been reported that the East Bay Community Development Corporation views this project as financially infeasible without the abatement. It is a complete waste of everyone’s time and resources for this proposal to be moving through the permitting process only to have it rendered impractical by a council vote to deny the abatement.
Do the developers and council leadership know something we do not?
Recent events make it clear that there is overwhelming opposition to this type of high density housing, let alone providing tax subsidies from town residents. In the Nov. 2012 election every community in Rhode Island, except Barrington, approved a bond to fund affordable housing. Even though it was not directly tied to any Barrington projects, town voters rejected it, in what can only be viewed as a protest vote against the way the affordable housing mandate is being implemented in Barrington.
Furthermore, a routine resolution to fund tax abatements was defeated by a two to one margin at the recent financial town meeting after it was pointed out that the money could be used to fund the abatement for the Palmer Pointe project. Normally this resolution would have passed with little or no opposition.
As taxpayers, we need to pressure the council to take a vote on this issue. The type of high density affordable housing being proposed is bad for Barrington. It is bad for our finances, bad for our schools, and bad for our property values. It is completely out of character with a town that is predominantly owner-occupied single family homes. It is also contradictory to our core values to have residents who may be living on moderate incomes subsidizing those in affordable housing who may actually be financially better off than the residents doing the subsidizing.
Please plan to attend the June 3 town council meeting to let our council know you care about this matter and the future of Barrington.