New Housing--Disaster in the making!

Well folks, this is addressed to the 20 to 50 young familes who are vying for one of the twenty homes to be built next to the E. Searles Ball complex. You had ALL better get out your letter writing materials, and in your most earnest and vociferous voice, let this Council know in the strongest terms you are able to muster, that you are incensed by what is going on behind the scenes! Your elected by 'proclamation' Council member, Mr Robert Ellis Smith has taken it upon himself, to inject himself into the process of bringing the project to fruition. Only in his case it seems he is working in the opposite direction. He is trying to get this project killed by putting himself where he was not asked to go, and has no business being! I don't recall Council members having to be in the vetting process for any of the other housing complexes that are now completed. Which of them was it that sheparded the Ambrose lane project? NONE! If you are one of the hopefuls, you NEED to get those letters written and it needs to be done and hand delivered to the Town Hall TOMORROW! This is not something that can be put off! There is to be a meeting between the people who wield the money, and MJ Balser and the aforementioned Council member sometime in the VERY NEAR future. The whole project could hinge on what he says to these people up in Providence. He is up there all the time and is in 'bed' with some of them to some degree. You all know how he feels about the project by his deeds and actions. He has forgotten just exactly what the hell he is supposed to be doing in that office! You are supposed to be looking out for the people of this town who live here, not kow-towing to the amorphous crowd of monied people from everywhere else! Look to your own backyard and stop trying to stab a bunch of fine, hardworking, young families in the back! STAND UP AND BE COUNTED MR. SMITH!!! I'M TOTALLY PISSED!! Everett


Island Worker said...

Hi Everett,

I am sick of Smith. I feel sick to my stomach everytime I remember I voted for him. I don't know what is problem is. He has his piece of the Island (when he chooses to be here) why doesn't he want other people to get theirs. I have read his letter that is floating around. I almost exploded. First I was mad because he didn't check his facts first. If he had a problem he should have been at the zoning and planning meetings. Beleive me I was there and didn't see him. Zoning had no problem with the plan. Most of Planning has no problem with the plan. What is his problem?

Doesn't he have anything better to do. If he is so conserned about conservation, who does he plan on conserving the land for? Young people that work hard and live here year round or seasonal tourists.

Bob get a life.

I have made many posts but now I will give myself a name

warbler88 said...

Um, okay, I admit I don't go to meetings and I should, etc. But could we skip past the part where I get (and rightly so, I'm sure) lectured about my lack of attendance and get straight to the part that says what Bob Smith is actually doing? I know y'all are pissed, but I could understand things a lot better if you could take a deep breath and give some fact based examples as to how he's being subversive against the housing, etc. I'm just looking for some info so I can make up my own mind. Since I haven't been there, I'm not really sure what you un's are talking about.

Everett said...

To Island Worker: If you can get a copy of that letter and send it to me via the USPO, I'll make damn sure it gets posted here where every one can read it and not just a select few. Funny that if he is putting out letters trying to sway public opinion on this project, that it is not a 'boxholder type mailing! What's up with that Bob? Is there something you don't want ALL OF US to see? TIFN

Island Worker said...

I will do my best to get you a copy of the letter.

Anonymous said...

Mr Smith has his own piece of land because he paid market price for it . It is not because some one bought it for him . Affordable housing should be for teachers,police not for cooks, construction workers, and all the others who would like to live someware they can not afford to . There are lots of places I would like to live but just cannot afford those towns or areas . Perhaps if the those towns would like to give me a home for 2/3 the going price . It would of course have to come with property and a view, I would move.

blockislandblog said...

To anonymous,
In case you haven't noticed, Block Island is surrounded by water. It is not as though we could choose to live in a less expensive suburb. Just as vital to the workings of Block Island are the construction workers and chefs, etc. Who is going to fix your roof when it leaks, or mow your 2 acre lawn, or cook dinner for the very important tourists and their dollars.
Yes the housing should go to teachers and police. But if that is all it went to, Block Island would be a dismal place.
No one is GIVING anything to anyone here. That lot was purchase for 2 million dollars. Divide that by 20, $100,000 per family for land. The highest price for each house (depending on income) is $320,000. I think the lowest is $175,000.
Far from a gift.

Island Worker said...

To Anonymous 11:23

He did pay full market value for it.I am not sure but 10, 15, 20 years ago. At that time there were still deals here that everyday people could buy property.

Let me ask you a few questions? Do you like to go out to dinner? Do you like to go to the grocery store? Do you go to the bank? Do you get sick? Who responds to fires and rescue emergencies? Who builds you houses, fixes your toilets, or puts new wiring in when it needs to be fixed? Who cleans the houses of the people who live in these houses?

Do you have a clue what makes up a community?

Sam said...

I'm not local but BIB and Island Worker make persuasive comments. Block Island has been in a housing crisis since the island was first settled, probably. The Island was discovered in the 1970's and 1980's, creating a miniature "gold rush" that snapped up much of the available land. In addition, for all its intents and purposes, conservancy groups snapped up many key areas, thus creating more pressure on the workers and working families. I'm sure it was unintended, starting with saving Rodman's Hollow and things like that. But Block island never had a clue as to help with all the support workers that run the public works and hotel functions. Never, until recently, when developers were allowed to "help" Block Island with "low cost" housing. This kind of help usually means having to bend over and grab your ankles so as to assume the position.

I am not going to say a single thing about Mr. Smith. He is the product of 25 years of an island government that didn't have a clue. There's not much that can be done about this today. Perhaps as a condition to paying for a $300 dollar a night's stay, guests would be required to pull dishwasher, house cleaning, lawn maintenance, plumbing, waiter, code enforcement, or some other menial activity as so directed, based on need and experience. That's about the only way out of the bag, folks!

I don't mean to sound alarmist or extreme but you're talking to a guy who lived on the Island for several years in housing conditions that if on the mainland, would be outright condemned. I mince no words there.

Sam said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Island Worker said...

Thanks Sam. You reminded me of a subject I forgot to touch on. The Conservation Issue. Mr. Smith seems to feel that there is no downside to Conservation. A simple reminder of cause and effect.

Conservation is great. I use it for some great walks and love that there is so much on the island, but one has to recognize that has contributed to property values in both positive and negative way.

Newbie said...

Like I have said before, of course conservation has impacted the affordability of land. The conservancies buy up land, wielding tax breaks, and prestige. If I see one more Land Rover with a Nature Conservancy bumper sticker, I'll have to scream.
Mr. Smith might not realize that supply and demand is THE determining factor in land value. All he needs to do is call up some real estate agents and they will be happy to explain the real estate market on BI.
He is a lawyer, maybe he didn't spend enough time studying economics. Since his interests lie in Privacy law, maybe he should get out of politics and give the rest of us some privacy. The housing board has come up with a solution, let them get the job done.
I have to wonder, what is Mr. Smith so worried about? Does he want to keep the Island populated by "his" kind of people (meaning snobby, self centered and ego-centric, oh yeah, and wealthy.)
Block Island is not a social club. It's a town. It's people like Mr. Smith who complain when they can't get decent service at a restaurant, or complain about contractors.
I wish that anyone in the service industry who gets a call from Bob, will hang up the phone when he calls. "You're car broke down...too bad. I have to pack and move off Island because my housing fell through." "You're toilet backed up? Sorry, I'm backed up too. I can't find anyone to work for me, so I'll be there in 6 months or so." "Your house is on fire? Sorry about that. We had to disband the fire department...not enough members, but feel free to come up and pick up a truck!"
Keep it up Mr. Smith and there won't be anyone left to vote for you. I guess it doesn't matter, I can guarantee you will not be re-elected.
Can we impeach this guy?

Sam said...

Island Worker,

Don't get me wrong, keeping things like the old Rodman and new Holmes tracts off the market for commercial condos was one of the best things the Island could have done; I love the squirelly trails in the Maze, too although the gun tower appears to be gone these days. Anyhoo, my idea to bring in barges with summer apartments on top might seem a brilliant idea - at least something to debate and negate, but that would be a great start.

If anyone has any memories about the old gun tower(s) on Block Island, I would love to hear some more. I'm working up to another poem and another song. The gunneries were very special to me, a link to the past and the future.

Anonymous said...

Since we are on the subject of Affordable Housing...and of course everyone is aware of our most recent drug dealer, whose apartment was he living in?

Did Grullon buy the apratment or was he renting from someone who purchased it as affordable?

Do anyone else see it as a problem that an individual purchased a subsidized apratment, and not lives off Island and rents it to a drug dealer?

Whose Apartment was it???

blockislandblog said...

William Grullon owns a condo at the Old Harbor meadows. His brother was renting an apartment at Salt Pond Settlement. I am unsure if it was a subsidized or market value apartment.
Until we know the terms of his home confinement, no one can jump to any conclusions. Home confinement can have stipulations that might allow him to work certain hours, or, that he can not leave the house. Seeing as his hearing was on Friday, he may have just returned to the Island and had to report to the Police station before going home.
Let's let the police do their job on this one. The police don't want to see this guy driving around any more than I do. Adriansisle seems to want to rally the crowds. Grab your swords and pitchforks!
Lets remember he has a wife and small child, they don't deserve to be scared. I am sure they are scared enough.

Ex-Manissean said...

I spent many a summer day climbing those towers. They were not really 'gun' towers but observation posts built during WWI to direct mainland artillary fire against an invading fleet. Used again in WWII to spot submarines. There is a website (dont remember the name)that has photos and history of the RI forts and lookouts

lostonbi said...

to blockislandblog

William Grullon is on home confinement. He is allowed to work, but he has to be home by 7:00p.m.. It is my understanding that the Judge or court could not get the leg thing to work out here.

Anonymous said...

Can someone please tell me what Mr. Smith is doing to sink the West Side housing project?

I think there are legitimate concerns over this project. It seems like it was just rushed though all the boards without any consideration.

What about all the people who live near there on Blueberry Hill whose house values are going to plummet because the parcel was rezoned? Should they be compensated by the town or the RI mortgage and finance Co?

Is Mr. Smith being obtuse or just cautious? I'd just like to know what he is doing that is so invidious to stir up all this controversy.

If there is a memo he wrote out there, put it on the Blog, until then let’s keep all of the vague personal attacks to a minimum. Facts speak much louder than puff and blow Mr. Littlefield!

Anonymous said...

Are you serious house values plummet on Block Island? As a hopeful for one of the houses I attended many of the meetings and informed myself.

The project was not rushed through. After the property was returned to its original zone the project complies with the zoning regs.

As far as Smith he threw the first stone. I have also seen the letter he is distributing to a select few. If he is so comfortable with it he should step up and ask it to be printed in the paper after the paper checks some of the facts.

The Phantom Scrawler said...

which is more likely? housing values plummeting on BI or the paper checking facts?

Everett said...

Hi all, Well I finally received a copy of Mr. Smiths letter and I am slowly and laboriously typing it on to a blog draft. This may take me a day or two, but it WILL APPEAR herevery soon! Stand by! TIFN Everett

Everett said...

This is for Anon at 12:15:47

First off,I have spoken with two members of the zoning board and they concur that the proposal came before them in a timely manner and was handled like any other application. There was no "rushing" it through the process. All abutters were notified and their returned registered mail notifications were logged in. The same applies to the Planning Board!

Next item, The area in question was NOT re-zoned from from scratch. It was RETURNED to the zone it had been broken off of at a fairly recent date. As to the value of the surrounding property "plummeting", I made the rounds of five of the real estate offices and got the SAME unanimous reaction from them all. They laughed at the suggestion and then one of them pointed out to me a recent sale down by the dump,-eerr- transfer station for a cool 1.6 million dollars! Not bad for such a poor location . NO compensation needed by anybody, and none should be given!
In regard to the question wether Mr. Smith is being obtuse or cautious, stick with your first impression.
I also thing that the word "invidious" should have been exchanged for "insidious" (awaiting a chance to entrap, treacherous, harmful). When I get the letter mentioned above all typed in and displayed, you will then find a better place to use the word "invidious" with the words full and complete connotations!
The word "if" doesn't apply anymore, because as I said, I have the misteriously floating around letter in my posession and you will see it, in all it's UNBELIEVEABLE Glory???
So in the meantime until I get it done, I'll be out in my backyard doing all the deep breathing exercizes I can muster, so that I shall be able to keep up with your expections of my ability to 'Puff" and "blow" about things I know nothing about! TIFN Everett

Everett said...

A spelling apology for the words, 'think' and 'mysteriously' in the above post,before I get mercilessly hammered for being so stupid! Bye Now, Everett

The Phantom Scrawler said...

Can't wait to see the letter everybody keeps writing about...but I like you enough to just remind you, Everett, that you have a responsibility when printing such stuff. Please, please, please make sure this letter does, indeed, come from Mr. Smith and is not just floating around with his name attached to it so as to discredit him further. I would very much like to see aforementioned missive, but I would hate to see you learn at a later date that you might have helped perpetuate a rude hoax. That being said...bring it on.

Island Worker said...

Hi Everett & Phantom Scrawler,

Rest assured you have recieved a true copy. It has not been altered by me or anyone else. I am glad to know that you have received it. More people should see his incosistencies.

Anonymous said...

Everette please get that letter to us.

I love Bob Smith and want this to come to a conclusion. I'm sure we'll all see it is not that bad.

Good ol' Bob is fighting for us, the BIRA. Who else is going to represent our interests on the island?

The wealthy off-Islanders need representation to suppress the hardworking business people and the Islanders who cannot afford a market price house. Why should I help subsidize a house for someone I don't know when I paid 3 million for mine? It just is not fair! And Bob knows this. Bob is fighting for what he believes is right, fairness. We should all be put on the same playing field, Bob is a true Republican at heart (that elephant that was next to his name was solely for semantics).

Do you think we, the CT and NY people, want to see all of your pickup trucks, dirty cargo pants and affordable condos when come to BI? NO! We want to see our Tory East Side friends and open space that was preserved for us and our friends.

Do you think we want those noisy bars and nightclubs? What do you think we leave NYC for? TO GET AWAY FROM ALL THAT NOISE. Now thanks to Bob if anyone wants to have an event they need to get permission from the town. You want people to come over your private property? Go ask Bob smith for permission.

See yall, Bob is looking out for us. We need to be represented too. This is democracy at its best!

We need Bob Smith to turn you all against yourself and in the end have a worker ferry! The more islanders that have to move off BI, the higher of a percent Bob’s political base will be...cause’ we aint going anywhere boys and girls!

Lets here it for Bob Smith, this years 4th of July parade leader and future first warden!!!

Anonymous said...

Haha satire is truly effective. Smith sure doesn’t care about the average worker. I’ve met him and must say that my gut told me that he was a manipulative, condescending man.

He truly has an agenda and it does not benefit us Islanders or the hard working business people.

CB said...

To Anonymous who loves Bob Smith,
If you dont like everyday people,go buy a house on Nantucket.Its right up your alley.Do you think this Island(BI) was created for folks like you? Give me a break. Stay in NY.

CB said...

Better yet,why dont you lift your skirt and tell us who you are?