Affordable housing and Little Compton

Posted 5/27/22

To the editor:

Little Compton's Agricultural Trust is a national treasure and a model for how to protect open space and environmental quality against overdevelopment. I watched the costs of …

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Affordable housing and Little Compton

Posted

To the editor:

Little Compton's Agricultural Trust is a national treasure and a model for how to protect open space and environmental quality against overdevelopment. I watched the costs of high-density development along the Treasure and Space Coast of Florida during the early 2000s. Ecosystems flattened, and housing communities mushroomed at every patch of bare ground, all at the expense of water and land.

The Ag Trust wasn't just happened upon; it was a proactive, thoughtful approach to preserving open space. Unfortunately, the same town that has maintained its sense of a farm community has utterly failed to maintain anything close to 'affordable housing.' You cannot look at the thoughtful design of the Ag Trust and the complete absence of affordable housing in Little Compton and not conclude that both of these are intentional decisions by town leadership. Suppose affordable housing had been given a real effort, as has been the case with the Ag Trust. In 2022 we'd have a community where teachers, firefighters, police officers, farmworkers, and ordinary everyday working people could live. What if we funded affordable farming communities in the same way we protected the land? We could encourage folks to farm and maintain a vibrant community where you could afford to live and raise your kids in a unique little town with a wonderful school.

Last week during the annual Financial Town Meeting, Andrew Moore asked town residents to allow the Housing Trust to act without the town council's obstruction; perhaps this is the first step in finding a solution to the objective absence of affordable housing. Little Compton needs to seek a similar funding mechanism that has served the Ag Trust well.  We should take the same pride in providing affordable housing as we do in maintaining open space.

Andrew L. Rhyne, Ph.D.

Little Compton

 

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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.