To the editor:
There is a mantra among the few supporters of the so- called “Palmer Pointe” project proposed by the East Bay Development Corporation at the Sowams Nursery to misstate both the law and facts surrounding the project. The letter to EastBayRI.com and the Barrington Times authored by Dan and Tanja Kubas-Meyer posted June 10, is no exception.
It is not a requirement of law that rejection of the project requires “clear environmental and health hazards” as stated in the letter. On the contrary, Section 45-53-4(4)(vii) of the RI General laws establishes five grounds any one of which will operate to effectively deny a proposed construction plan :
“(A) If city or town has an approved affordable housing plan and is meeting housing needs, and the proposal is inconsistent with the affordable housing plan”;
“(B) the proposal is not consistent with local needs, including, but not limited to, the needs identified in an approved comprehensive plan, and/or local zoning ordinances and procedures promulgated in conformance with the comprehensive plan;”
“(C) the proposal is not in conformance with the comprehensive plan;”
“(D) the community has met or has plans to meet the goal of ten percent (10%) of the year round units or, in the case of an urban town and city, fifteen percent (15%) of the occupied rental housing units as defined in §45-53-3(2)(i) being low and moderate housing; or;”
“(E) concerns for the environment and the health and safety of current residents have not been adequately addressed.”
There are many facets to this law, and the many issues that surround it. The language has been interpreted in case law, particularly the Superior Court case of Smithfield v. Bickey decided in 2012, to which appeal was made from a State Housing Appeals Board (SHAB) decision. (Appeals to the RI Supreme Court are also available). In Smithfield, the Superior Court overturned a SHAB decision, based on the language cited above, and other law, supporting the denial of a contractor’s Master Plan application.
The residents of Barrington have a strong case against the EBCDC and feel confident that if our Planning Board bases its decision on existing law and policy the proposed project will be denied.
William D. LeMoult
Mr. LeMoult is a member of the group CODDER 02806.