To the editor:
There is a gnawing point of view, outwardly shared by an admittedly small number of members of our community, yet sometimes aired at town meetings, that the Hampden Meadows section of Barrington, an already densely populated residential community of privately owned houses, is appropriate for even higher residential density and development because it is, well, already densely populated.
Objective logic for this point of view is hard to find, but the implication is clear: that residents who live on smaller plots of land are not entitled to the same privileges concerning open space and relief from developmental congestion as are those living on larger, and generally more expensive, plots.
This point of view is shared by a few members of our town council, both past and present.
What it ignores, logic notwithstanding, is relevance to fundamental notions of equality, buttressed by a litany of purposes and pledges contained in both the town ordinances and the Town Comprehensive Community Plan that preach exactly the opposite point of view, and which apply equally to all of our citizens.
* The provision of well designed circulation systems;
* Adequate provisions of open space;
* Mitigation of negative impacts of any proposed development on the existing environment;
* Land developments and subdivisions well-integrated with surrounding neighborhoods;
* Affordable housing that blends well with existing neighborhoods;
* Protection of open spaces, shoreline areas, and environmentally sensitive areas, and
* Preservation of the special qualities of Barrington’s neighborhoods.
It is not logically possible to equate the above purposes and ambitions with the East Bay Community Development Corporation’s proposed $14.5 million construction on the Sowams Nursery property comprised of 42 to 50 rental apartment units literally “covering” 5.6 acres of land that is likely contaminated; abutting the Palmer River; on property zoned R25 (i.e. 2 units per acre); housing more than 100 residents (some with cars); using a communal laundromat; with setbacks of 14 feet from abutting landowners all of whom live in detached single-family owner occupied residential homes on one side, with R25 zoned privately owned homes on the other side; without nearby infrastructure support; lacking sidewalks on the Sowams Road; one-half mile from public transportation; contributing to traffic congestion at both the Sowams and New Meadow roads which intersect with County Road producing potential gridlock especially when coupled with Barrington River bridge construction and massive reconstruction of the Samsonite buildings across the bridge in Warren; and EBCDC’s intention to hook into an aged sewer line with limited capacity that runs through and upon the wetlands, conservation area, and flood plain of the already environmentally compromised Palmer River abutting the Sowams Nursery property.
PLEASE DON’T LET THIS HAPPEN
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(Community Opposed Detrimental Development and for Environmental Responsibility)