To the editor:
As 20-plus year residents of Barrington who work closely with low-income individuals and families, we speak with certainty that decent and safe housing is desperately and urgently needed by low- and moderate- income people in every town in our state, and believe that the minimal goal of including 10 percent housing units in every community that are guaranteed affordable over time is a very reasonable one.
The Rhode Island Low- and Moderate-Income Housing Act addresses a very clear and continuing need to ensure that there is housing for residents with every level of income and assets in every community, and we welcome affordable housing development in Barrington. While we are not abutters to Sowams Road, we live on Chianese Field which is certainly a neighborhood where larger community interests (soccer and baseball) create inconveniences for abutting residents, and we are not unsympathetic to neighborhood concerns.
The Housing Act provides for layers of town and state review such that affordable housing projects will not be approved if they pose clear environmental or safety hazards. We do not know if Palmer Pointe as proposed should be approved– it is the job of our local boards (and the State Housing Appeals Board if it gets to that) to make that determination. We only know that our fine community is part of a larger state community, and that Rhode Island is right in having a process that distributes the opportunity for decent, affordable housing across all its 39 cities and towns.
We fully support those residents of our town who have the resilience to sit on the Barrington Planning and Zoning Boards, and we have faith that they will make a good decision regarding Palmer Pointe. Tanja has served on the State Housing Appeals Board, and residents must be aware that if the project is rejected for reasons other than clear environmental or health hazards as specified in the law, the local decision will be overturned- as it was with Sweetbriar- and residents will lose any advantage in negotiating the final parameters of the project.
Dan and Tanja Kubas-Meyer