Barrington Council will discuss future of monastery property

Officials may seek RFP to develop housing on property

Posted 12/4/23

The Barrington Town Council is expected to discuss the former Carmelite Monastery property during its meeting on Monday night, Dec. 4, and could entertain a motion to draft an RFP for the development …

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Barrington Council will discuss future of monastery property

Officials may seek RFP to develop housing on property

Posted

The Barrington Town Council is expected to discuss the former Carmelite Monastery property during its meeting on Monday night, Dec. 4, and could entertain a motion to draft an RFP for the development of a pocket neighborhood on the seven-acre parcel.

In his memo to the Council, Barrington Town Manager Phil Hervey included two possible motions regarding the former Carmelite Monastery property. 

The first motion would be to authorize the town to develop an RFP (request for proposals) for the construction of a pocket neighborhood on the property; and the second motion would be to authorize the town to engage a real estate development consultant at a cost not to exceed $10,000, to assist in creating the RFP.

But Council member Annelise Conway believes it is too early to draft an RFP to build a pocket neighborhood on the former monastery property. 

Conway said there are too many unknowns — she said the town just passed a $250 million school construction bond with a plan to eliminate one elementary school. That could open up space for a recreation center, fields or possibly the construction of affordable housing units on the former school property. 

She also said the owners of the Belton Court property could potentially develop 350 housing units there.

Conway challenged the current Planning Board-approved development plan for the monastery property. She said that plan “sets the town back by increasing our denominator of market rate housing,” she wrote in a message to the Barrington Times. 

“It does not reflect the suggestions of the Watson Ave. Ad Hoc Committee which sought to leverage the building or the footprint of the building to provide affordable units. The building still remains on the property and will need to be removed to accommodate the Planning Board plan.”

Conway said it is premature for the town to seek any development proposals without first securing citizen approval for the removal of the monastery building. 

Conway said the issue needs to be tabled until the town has fully researched all other options for the property and allowed more time to better understand how the Belton Court development will impact the town and school department. 

Conway also said Barrington officials have not done their due diligence to identify other uses for the property.

“In August, we were unable to get the votes to research land and conservation grants within the council,” Conway wrote. “We have a list of potential granting opportunities that could preserve the property as well as private individual donations that would allow the town to recoup the sales price and preserve the property.”

The Barrington Town Council meeting is set for Monday, Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. inside the Town Hall. 

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