Make voices heard about development

Make voices heard about development


To the editor:

An underlying issue in the controversial proposed construction of a multi-unit rental apartment complex on the Palmer River at the Sowams Nursery is the question of whether or not the residents of Barrington are ultimately responsible for the character of the neighborhoods we move to and live in.

The Sowams Nursery was once zoned for farming and is presently zoned R25, which means two dwelling units per acre including areas which are planned for future development at this density. R25 zoning is in keeping with zoning of the entire surrounding community.

The proposed rental apartment complex, as it stands, is not.

At this writing 309 residents of Barrington have signed a petition opposing the proposed development. There are substantial arguments that militate against such a construction, and they can be aired at this stage only by a concerned citizenry.

The first step is to attend every meeting of any board or committee that deals with these questions — and make our voices heard. A “pre-application conference” between the planning board and the East Bay Community Development Corp. was scheduled by the planning board at its last meeting for Sept. 27, at the Town Hall at 7 p.m.

Please attend that meeting.

We were told at the last planning board meeting that attendees will not be able to pose questions. Therefore we presented prepared questions to the town planner requesting that they be asked by the board.

It is important that we all are familiar with the details of the proposed plan. The next monthly meeting of the planning board is Oct. 2.

If any resident wishes to sign a petition in opposition to the proposed plan of development at the Sowams Nursery please write to [email protected]

William D. LeMoult


Note: The Sept. 27 meeting has been canceled. The developer plans to hold a meeting with residents and neighbors in the near future.


  1. The current town council has things backwards. They are assuming that federal standards to “receive federal funding” translate into legal town mandates that can be forced upon the residents of Barrington.

    The law does not make that conclusion.

    Town Council members June Speakman and Kate Weymouth also believe that residents earning less should provide property tax subsidies to those earning more.

    The US Census Bureau “American Factfinder” 2010 data shows Barrington household income below $65,000 represents 33% of all Barrington households.

    The average property tax bill on those residents is over $9000 per year, and the median is over $8000. Even an average affordable home in Walker Farm has an annual property tax bill of around $3000 – $4000.

    But council members Speakman and Weymouth believe rentals deserve ultra low annual property tax bills, as low as $500 per year (see December 2, 2008 special town council vote on the Sweetbriar tax rate).

    Councilors Speakman and Weymouth also believe unstoppable town build out is not an environmental problem worth addressing when it comes to affordable housing.

    Finally, Councilors Speakman and Weymouth had no problem making a town ordinance requiring mandated “style and size” monotone development compliance criteria no matter the location in town (Section 185-185(C) ).

    This is a disaster for Barrington