Letter: Vote yes on Watson Avenue

Posted 5/25/22

To the editor:

I write to encourage all voters in Barrington to attend Wednesday night’s Financial Town Meeting at the Barrington High School Auditorium at 7 p.m. and to vote …

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Letter: Vote yes on Watson Avenue

Posted

To the editor:

I write to encourage all voters in Barrington to attend Wednesday night’s Financial Town Meeting at the Barrington High School Auditorium at 7 p.m. and to vote “yes” on allowing full consideration of all options for the abandoned monastery on Watson Avenue. 

The ad hoc committee, composed of Barrington residents representing a wide variety of constituencies in town, voted 11-3 in favor of a full investigation of options.

Last year at the FTM, our goal was to gain community control over the property, allow an opportunity to explore options for senior housing (some affordable), and preserve green space. An ad-hoc committee was created to engage the community and empower Barrington to meet each of those objectives with broad community engagement.

At this week’s FTM, a “no” vote would short-circuit the thus-far productive process by preventing a proper, transparent analysis of how we could meet the agreed-upon objectives, each of which is consistent with Barrington’s Comprehensive Plan. A “no” vote would also increase the risk of a suboptimal outcome regarding fiscal, environmental, and traffic effects. Finally, a “no” vote would increase the chances that the building will remain undeveloped, leading to an unproductive continuing maintenance investment.

The objection of some members of the community that the asbestos in the building should prevent consideration of demolition is unfounded. Renovation or demolition of the building would require a similar, if not the same, remediation effort to comply with the Rhode Island’s strict removal, disposal, and testing requirements.

Let’s embrace the full opportunity before us, rather than be saddled with limited options and greater risk. Let’s pass item 10 and ensure that the community can maximize the potential of the property and take significant steps forward on senior housing, preserving green space, and maintaining our neighborhoods.

Carl Kustell

Barrington

Kustell is a member of the Barrington Town Council.

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