1/13/2006

Seawinds, The next Disaster!

I haven't followed the saga of the Seawinds fiasco too closely so I don't really feel qualified to make any comments on it other than to say that it is an abomination to the Island, and to the area for which it has been proposed. It continues to sound like business as usual as far as D Packer is concerned. For some reason or other he thinks he IS one of the council members himself and acts accordingly. It is time for him and that other useless being to be shitcanned, and somebody with at least a first year law students knowledge of the law to be hired. If it wasn't for BI, these guys would be in the bread and soup lines somewhere! Comments anyone?? TIFN

9 comments:

Everett said...

Just an update if you haven't seen the paper yet. The Council voted to let them put up 12 units and 1, I think, affordable unit. It is virtually a done deal now. BI loses again and the frickin' developers win. I don't know why we have all this zoning bullshit, 'cause it seems to affect only the small guys!!

Anonymous said...

Everette it is 12 units, 9 market value & 3 affordable.

Many other communities across the state were caught in this same situation and were smart enoough to negotiate and not to fight it in court.

The general public may night like it but the council did the RIGHT thing. I hate to agree with this council but i feel I have to on this.

If people chose to learn all of the facts not just the ones that a few people (SM & DH) chose to let become the focus I think many other people would agree with the compromise.

They got it reduced by half. Have they received any thanks for this?

The Town when Seawinds (and the other two still out lurking in court) did not have 10% affordable housing or any plan to have it happen. Period. End of Story. We were vulenerable just like many other communities accross the state. Most of those communities got smart and worked to reduce the projects and make them more reasonable. Just like BI did.

We now will have the 10% when the West Side Road project is finished. The island will be protected from other projects coming. And for some of us with short membories DH was against the West Side Road project because I heard him speak against it. Nice guy.

Sam said...

I've heard that argument and I don't have a problem there ... but something in the back of my mind still nags. See, the RI Constitution gives towns and cities the powers to regulate their communities through zoning and planning, for all lands not under the direct control of the State. At least that is my understanding.

So when the RI Lege voted to allow the developers to circumvent local planning & zoning, for land not under its control, it did so in defiance of its own constitutional powers.

I hope that made some sense, and I despise lawyers who could argue it either way depending on where the bucks are. It's like taking drugs: JUST SAY NO.

Lacking adequate judicial and constitutional review at the state level - and I emphasize the word "adequate" - I suppose the Town did the easiest thing, call it the "right thing" if you so desire.

That's like winning by losing, though. /Sam, Sam the Barbasol Man

Anonymous said...

you cant just make up what you to believe the law because you think more people will come to your cause-
Zoning powers were given to the local communities by the legislature not the constitution.
the legislature reserved the right to use "zoning" to limit property rights themselves and did so with the low to moderate income housing act.

Sam said...

I see your point, and we can have different views as we think we should. I must say I'm not an Islander and don't have a real case about Seawinds one way or another.

That said, look up Title 45, "Towns and Cities," Chapter 45-23 (Subdivision of Land) approved by the RI assembly in 1991.

I didn't see any, and not a single word, that would lend itself to the State intervening in local matters of this kind, other than the "local procedures for review and approval of land development and subdivision is [sic] the same in every city and town." § 45-23-29 (c)(4).

By again, let me reiterate I'm not giving legal ammo to any particular group. I am not a lawyer. But I have been a periodic "summer seagull" on Block Island since 1972 and it was obvious that since that time, employee housing in general has gone become a large problem. I should know because I slept for two summers in an old carriage barn.

I would go as far to say that while having a few quarter-million dollar shacks for "low income workers" is a laudilble goal, it does not solve any of the root problems that exist with the May to October high season and all the workers that are needed for the restaurants, hotels, and other service industries.

Or am I totally wrong once again? At one time I suggested using large hotel barges to combat some of the illegal employee housing on the Island, which was a good laugh as I expected, but what really can be done, other than setting up a giant Hooterville with FEMA tents?

To me, Seawinds does not address that summer employee housing problem in the least, and is just a richie-boy conclave constructed under the rubric of false pretenses and motives that will not solve the main problem. Just my opinion.

pinkoislander said...

Sam,
Zoning is a local issue. Affordable housing is a statewide issue. When these 2 issue conflict, the state law will trump the local control.

Anonymous said...

Sam seawinds has nothing to do with the summer housing issue,it never did.

Sam said...

Well I never claimed to know everything and even at almost 50 I'm still learning. I'm getting my feet wet (literally) in the local politics of our Island town and boy did I have a bunch to learn there.

Once I wrote an article about preserving some of the old Island houses, some of which had distinctive "Bali" roofs. It seemed like a nice thing to write and many appreciated it.

Then I got calls and emails from developers who basically said they would hunt down every last one down and bulldoze them for high-rise condos. And they proved they could do it, since money talks loudest.

So I've been having lots of those "Charlie Brown" moments lately!
-Sam

Anonymous said...

Well I guess this what we deserve as a community for not tending to the needs of our less wealthy.

Sure there were boards created and several projects completed...but it was only a drop in the bucket. The fact is that there is still a desparate need for affordable housing on the Island...even with MJ' project.

I am sure that everyone has a close friend or family member who will still be doing the "BI shuffel" for years to come.