Why is the Town of Barrington working so ambitiously to develop the former Carmelite Monastery property ?
There are many facets to the proposals currently under consideration — density, …
Why is the Town of Barrington working so ambitiously to develop the former Carmelite Monastery property?
There are many facets to the proposals currently under consideration — density, type of housing, affordability, the monastery building itself. Opinions vary widely.
But why is this even happening?
When a municipality purchases property, it is typically hoping to fulfill one of several objectives. The most common is preservation of open space, something that serves the public interest and ranks highly in a community’s value system.
This has been the case throughout Barrington’s history and has helped create what is today a wonderful array of open spaces.
A municipality might also purchase property for infrastructure or public services — like expanding a school complex, installing a boat ramp, creating a recreation center or constructing a new public safety complex.
A municipality might act in the best interests of the environment, acquiring property to prevent development that would impair a watershed or a fragile ecosystem.
In all these cases, there are clear and obvious public interests for the residents of that municipality.
Rarest of all is the situation on Watson Avenue. For reasons not fully transparent or explained, the Town of Barrington is developing a plan to saturate the seven-acre property that it purchased two years ago with a dense array of small homes — denser than seen anywhere else in this community.
The site for this obscenely dense development, the Nayatt-Rumstick section of Barrington, is one of the most attractive and desirable neighborhoods for single-family homes in all of southeastern New England. If a private developer were pitching this proposal, there would be understandable outrage, accusations of unchecked greed.
Yet in this case, the town is doing this to itself — and most importantly, to its own citizens.
Why behave in ways it has never behaved through its long and proud history? Why develop plans incongruous with its own zoning codes and Comprehensive Plan? Why take actions detrimental to the best interests of its own citizens and taxpayers? Why did it buy this property in the fist place?
Seriously, why? Can anyone — government official or private citizen — explain why?