Letter: Entire monastery process has been a bit of a sham

Posted 5/25/22

To the editor:

I’m writing in support of preserving and renovating the monastery building at 25 Watson Avenue in Barrington. The town council has decided to go to the Financial Town Meeting …

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Letter: Entire monastery process has been a bit of a sham

Posted

To the editor:

I’m writing in support of preserving and renovating the monastery building at 25 Watson Avenue in Barrington. The town council has decided to go to the Financial Town Meeting with a proposal to allow the building to be demolished.  

I would like to point out that they made this unanimous decision after a multitude of local Barrington individuals pleaded with them to hold to the Financial Town Meeting vote to preserve the building. The speakers included parents with premie babies, parents with asthma and asthmatic children, and elderly neighbors; all asked the Town Council to just go forward with plans to preserve the building for the safety and health of neighbors and the Barrington town environment. It was clear that the members of the Town Council were unmoved by the speakers and had already made their decision before anyone spoke.

Demolition of the building has a high potential risk to the health of the surrounding area. I spoke with a professional in the asbestos and environmental hazard abatement business, and it does not seem possible to guarantee that the building can be demolished without risk. Although there is a process in place whereby the developer must test the site in order to get a demolition permit, the work of remediation and abatement is only as good as the company that is hired to do the work. There is no guarantee that the developer will have our health as their highest priority; it will be a financial decision first and foremost.

This entire process from proposal of purchase at the Financial Town Meeting to exploration of development options has been a bit of a sham. There is something suspicious about a “transparent” process that continues to ignore the will of the community at large who have participated in the surveys, zoom meetings, in-person meetings, and who have voiced their preferences, their concerns, and their vehemence about 25 Watson Avenue site.  

I implore the Barrington townspeople to come to the May 25 Financial Town Meeting and vote to PRESERVE the monastery. Not because it’s beautiful. Not because it’s the perfect solution for senior housing. But because it’s what the public voted for the fist time AND demolishing the building puts all of Barrington at risk. Which way will the wind be blowing that day?

Respectfully,

Paige Barbour

Barrington

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Jim McGaw

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.