Barrington affordable housing project draws criticism at public hearing


About 60 residents turned out for the first of two planning board public hearings on the proposed Palmer Pointe affordable housing development on Monday night.

The East Bay Community Development Corporation is proposing the 48-rental unit development for a 10-acre parcel on Sowams Road, filling part of the property that currently houses Sowams Nursery. (EBCDC is the same non-profit that built Sweetbriar in West Barrington.)

The majority of residents who commented on the project at the hearing were critical of the work — some were concerned about the traffic implications, while others questioned the density of the development. Some also touched on the tax abatements that will be needed by EBCDC to make the project financially viable.

The 48 units at Palmer Pointe are slated to include 13 three-bedroom apartments, 22 two-bedroom apartments and 12 one-bedroom apartments. The entire development will be rental units except for two homes currently located at the front of the property, which will be renovated and sold at market rate.

Those eligible for housing at Palmer Pointe must make less than 60 percent of the median income in Barrington, or less than $49,000. Officials have said 20 percent of those already living in Barrington would qualify.

Officials have said construction is estimated to take about 14 months with potential occupancy in 2016.

The planning board, which will reportedly make a site visit to the Sowams property in the near future, is hosting a second public hearing for Palmer Pointe on Thursday, May 30.


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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.