News & Event
Pleased by the favorable reception the Planning Board gave the Cherry Hill Lane affordable housing development on May 9, the members of the Block Island Housing Board turned toward implementing that project and others at their May 15 meeting.
“We were thrilled with the Planning Board's support, and look forward to their decision,” Housing Board Chair Cindy Pappas said. The five-home subdivision off Cooneymus Road has been the target of neighbors' objections throughout the permitting process.
Once the Planning Board issues a decision — expected at its June meeting — the next pending issue will be preparing Requests for Proposals for construction, Pappas told the Housing Board. She added that Town Manager Ed Roberge has volunteered to help, drawing on his expertise in developing RFPs.
An infrastructure RFP comes first, and will include the access road, drainage and septic systems, wells, water lines and other underground utilities.
“We know the road standards,” Pappas continued, referring to engineering protocols for the right of way that will serve the new homes and provide a throughway to abutting properties. The septic system design is done and awaiting approval by the state. Member John Spier advised including the final landscaping in the infrastructure RFP, to ensure that the first site work will not have to be redone at the end. Landscape design has been one of the sticking points with the abutting property owners.
To view the complete article, visit The Block Island Times
Courtesy of The Block Island Times
Whether the new homes will use modular or stick-built construction is also yet to be determined. Pappas said she will follow up with a modular home builder in Connecticut, and Spier said he will keep in contact with the project's architect, Frank Karpowicz.
Consulting on Merck project
The Housing Board is working with island property owner Josie Merck on the sale of two existing homes, converting them to affordable housing units in the process. Kim Gaffett represented Merck at the meeting to discuss agreements and covenants that will apply to those homes. The homes will be occupied by the current tenants.
“It's well in Joe [Priestley]'s hands,” Gaffett said, referring to Merck's attorney; “he has all the templates.” Gaffett said some “site-specific” conditions may be added, such as limiting mowing of open space and agreements to share maintenance costs of a well and an access road.
Other provisions could establish precedents for future affordable housing projects on the island: Requiring a homeowners' association be created — even for a two-unit development — with a member of the Housing Board serving as an “arbitrator” between the owners, in Spier's phrase; and allowing the owners' children to inherit the property, with the original covenants and conditions continuing to apply.
“We will say the kids can inherit unless told otherwise,” said Gaffett.
Pappas replied that while the Housing Board hasn't taken a position on inheritance policies, “The point is to keep the house in the affordable pool in perpetuity.”
“That's what we're striving for,” Gaffett said. “We're still optimistic that the details will all work out.” Merck's proposal will go before the Planning Board in June.
The Housing Board commented briefly on two other housing matters. Spier said of a parcel recently acquired from the Ball-O'Brien families, “We'll decide what we want to do, and then find out what we can do.”
Pappas replied that she was “still hoping for a mix of homeownership and rental housing” on that parcel, which is adjacent to the E. Searles Ball rental apartments on West Side Road. Spier noted that “homeownership tends to produce a better neighborhood than just rental.”
Pappas also reported that Town Manager Roberge had recently convened a meeting to talk about housing. “Obviously, the town is very interested in housing issues,” she said, noting the vote at the Financial Town Meeting to issue bonds to construct housing for town employees on the Thomas property across High Street from the Block Island School.
However, the Thomas property is not an affordable housing project as described now, she said.
Wednesday, November 1, 2017
2200 Southwood Drive, Nashua, NH
We invite you to be a part of the second New England Lead Conference taking place on Wednesday, November 1, 2017 in Nashua, NH. Hosted by the New England Lead Coordinating Committee, the conference will include a variety of educational sessions focusing on lead prevention, policy, model programs, outreach, the EPA’s Renovation, Remodeling and Repair Rule (RRP), lead abatement, compliance, and the economics of lead poisoning.
Read more >
October 4, 2017 in Events, Local Interest
The Narragansett Times: Dziobek steps down as Welcome House director
By KENDRA GRAVELLE Sep 29, 2017
SOUTH KINGSTOWN—When Joseph Dziobek accepted the position of executive director of Welcome House of South County nearly three years ago, he had expected the job would make for a simple transition into retirement.
But what was intended as a part-time gig turned into much more than that for Dziobek, who this week left his post.
“It’s been a challenge,” said Dziobek, whose last day on the job was Monday. “And it’s been very satisfying—I feel very close to the people who have been a part of it.”
Dziobek, 66, took the job at Welcome House after retiring from his career as CEO of Fellowship Health Resources. He said he intended only to stay for two or three years.
October 4, 2017 in Local Interest
Final Days to Register: 2017 Housing Fact Book Release
Date: Wednesday, October 11, 2017
Luncheon: 12:00pm - 1:30pm
Location: Rhode Island Convention Center, 1 Sabin Street, Providence RI
October 3, 2017 in Events, Local Interest
Rhode Island College: The Defamation Experience
Monday, October 30, 2017
5:00PM - Doors Open
6:00PM - Performance
SPONSORED BY: THE DIVISION OF COMMUNITY EQUITY AND DIVERSITY AND THE DIVISION OF STUDENT SUCCESS
THE PLAY * THE DELIBERATION * THE DISCUSSION
September 27, 2017 in Events, Local Interest
NLIHC: Sign Letters to Support Equitable Housing Recovery after Devastating Hurricanes
Help ensure that low income people and neighborhoods are treated fairly after Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. A broad coalition of national, state, and local organizations is calling on Congress, FEMA, and HUD to ensure that the federal response to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria is complete and equitable for everyone, especially families and individuals with the lowest incomes who are often the hardest hit by disasters and have the fewest resources to recover afterwards.
September 27, 2017 in Local Interest, National News
Roger Williams University: Social Justice Month Events
Thursday, Oct 19
Mary Tefft White Center
How Housing Works
4:00pm – 6:00pm
Sponsored by Housing Works RI and RWU Chief Diversity Officer
Keywords: socioeconomic status, race, jobs, housing, equity
Workshop with Brenda Clement, Director of Housing Works Rhode Island and Ame Lambert, RWU Chief Diversity Officer.
An overview of housing issues in Rhode Island and connections to the larger social justice agenda.
September 25, 2017 in Local Interest
Providence Journal: People on the move for the week of Sept. 17
Posted Sep 13, 2017 at 5:34 PM
Updated Sep 13, 2017 at 5:34 PM
Rhode Island LISC
Rhode Island Local Initiatives Support Corportation has welcomed two new employees. Jeremiah O’Grady, of Lincoln, joined LISC as program officer after spending more than 12 years at ONE Neighborhood Builders as real estate project manager and director of asset management and operations.
Liz Klinkenberg, of Warwick, was hired as communications director. She brings more than 15 years of public relations experience to her new position, including work for The Miami Herald and The Providence Journal.
The Providence American: Reed Announces $300k in Community Development Grants for NeighborWorks Affiliates
WASHINGTON, DC – In an effort to promote healthy, vibrant neighborhoods across Rhode Island, U.S. Senator Jack Reed today announced an additional $300,000 in federal funding for three Rhode Island-based affiliates of NeighborWorks America (NeighborWorks). These federal funds will help NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley, ONE Neighborhood Builders, and West Elmwood Housing Development Corporation to provide affordable housing opportunities, generate job growth, and enhance economic stability for working families. Earlier this year, Senator Reed also helped to secure over $750,000 in federal funding for NeighborWorks affiliates in Rhode Island, bringing total NeighborWorks investment in the state to above $1 million for fiscal year 2017.
September 21, 2017 in Federal News, Local Interest
The Providence American: Providence Unveils PVD Gives Donation Station
PROVIDENCE, RI – Mayor Jorge O. Elorza today joined members of the City Council, public safety officials, and community leaders who have been named to the PVD Gives commission for the unveiling of the City’s first Donation Station at Kennedy Plaza. The retrofitted parking meter is one of ten stations that will be installed across the city to collect funds that will support local organizations that provide housing and services to those in need.
“PVD Gives and the new Donation Stations make it easier to give back,” said Mayor Jorge Elorza. “Our collective generosity can make all the difference in the lives of those striving to get back on their feet. I encourage visitors and residents to chip in and be part of the solution.”
September 21, 2017 in Local Interest
Providence Journal: Report: New England losing 65 acres of forestland per day
By Steve LeBlanc / Associated Press
Posted Sep 19, 2017 at 11:21 AM
Updated Sep 19, 2017 at 11:21 AM
BOSTON — New England has been losing forestland to development at a rate of 65 acres per day — a loss that comes at a time when public funding for preservation of open land, both state and federal, has also been on the decline in all six states.
That’s the conclusion of a report released Tuesday by the Harvard Forest, a research institute of Harvard University.
The study found public funding for land conservation in New England dropped by half between 2008 and 2014 to $62 million per year, slightly lower than 2004 levels.
The Block Island Housing Board is seeking to expand the affordable housing applicant pool on Block Island. In order to do so the board needs to do something that might seem counterintuitive; raising the island’s median income bracket. Increasing the medium income limit could provide more people on the island with the opportunity to apply for affordable housing.
Speaking at the Town Council’s August 1 informational exchange work session, Housing Board Chair Cindy Pappas said expanding the applicant pool would mean regrouping Block Island in the same income limit category as the towns of Newport, Middletown, and Portsmouth. She noted that the median income limit for Newport, Middletown, and Portsmouth is higher than Block Island — currently grouped with the towns of Hopkinton and Westerly — which have lower income limits.
According to the State of Rhode Island’s median income limit chart for 2017, regrouping Block Island with Newport, Middletown, and Portsmouth would raise the town’s income limit for, as an example, a married couple from $77,100 to $89,950. Anyone making more than that would not be eligible for the town’s affordable housing units.
The Ocean View Foundation is converting its two rental properties into affordable housing units. The non-profit is splitting a minor subdivision located off Cooneymus Road into two separate lots to establishing two single-family dwellings that will go toward the island’s affordable housing inventory.
New Shoreham Building Official Marc Tillson explained to The Times that the property contained “one old home, and a new home. The Ocean View Foundation wants to now refurbish the old building,” and split the lot into two separate lots that will be “dedicated to the island’s affordable housing initiative. It’s a win-win.”
“They’re changing the use of the property for that purpose,” said Tillson. “There will be two brand new homes to go toward the 10 percent of the island’s affordable housing” inventory. The project is being presented as a joint venture between the Ocean View Foundation and the Block Island Housing Board, which was recently granted approval for its five-dwelling Cherry Hill Lane development that includes three three-bedroom homes and two two-bedroom homes priced under $250,000.
The difference with the OVF’s project is the Foundation has been renting to two tenants on the property for several years who will have the right of first refusal for purchasing the dwelling they currently occupy. If the tenants opt not to purchase the properties, the Housing Board will sell them through the affordable housing lottery system. The OVF will also gift the properties to the Housing Board at no cost, with the net proceeds from the sale of the homes going to the OVF.
The project was granted a unanimous (5-0) favorable ruling at the Planning Board’s meeting on July 11, with board member John Spier recused, as he is a member of the Housing Board. The project now goes before the Zoning Board of Review for hearings.
By: Cassius Shuman, Friday, 10/20/17
With the current travails of Edward Roberge, the Town Council appointed Town Manager, whose negotiations are on hold until he finds housing on Block Island, the Town of New Shoreham is facing what Town Councilor Chris Willi says is a “critical issue” that should be addressed by providing a “housing stipend.” (Roberge told The Block Island Times on Wednesday that he feels he’s getting closer to finding housing.)
“Securing any credentialed employee, or employees in general, for any position in the private or public sector requires housing,” said Willi. “It’s obviously much harder here, so it is critical to retain someone. Case in point; look at the (Block Island) Medical Center and Dr. (Mark) Clark — no different.”
The Town Council appointed Roberge by unanimous vote as its new Town Manager on Sept. 25. The problem is Roberge has been unable to conclude negotiations with the town and move into office at Town Hall because he has not secured housing; a dilemma that the town and many of its hires have been burdened with in the past.
Courtesy of The Block Island Times
Thu, 04/12/2018 - 9:00pm
Category: Opinion, Letters
To the Editor:
I'd like to weigh in on the housing issue for the town manager. We have to realize that a few key positions on the island in the 21st century need to be filled by persons with skills not commonly found on the island and some of these positions have a fairly high turnover rate. At present, there are two such positions on the island: The doctor and the town manager.
We all know that our housing stock is grossly overpriced due to pressure from people from “away” looking for the perfect summer house. Therefore, in order to attract applicants with the needed credentials, we need to either grossly overpay them so that they can compete in securing housing in the open market, or provide such housing as part of the employment package. Such housing, of course, is to be terminated when the party departs the island. We already supply a fine residence for the doctor.
So how do we accomplish this without breaking the bank? Our costs for building on the island are astronomical for two basic reasons: 1) The price of the building lot, and 2) the cost per square foot to construct a house, given The Block Island Factor.
Pariseault Builders, Inc. of Warwick, R.I. was selected to build the five single-family homes in the B.I. Housing Board’s Cherry Hill Lane affordable housing subdivision on a parcel off Cooneymus Road.
The board and its project manager, Herman Mast, compared the bids submitted by Pariseault and Connecticut Valley Homes of East Lyme in open session at the Board’s June 25 meeting. Board Chair Cindy Pappas made the motion to award the contract for construction of the homes to Pariseault pending successful negotiation of a contract that will include “upgrades” to the bid specified by the Board. Member Stacey Henshaw seconded the motion. Michael Kiley and Kay McManus joined in the unanimous vote in favor. (Members Millie McGinnes, John Spier and Rosemary Tobin were absent.)
On June 11, the Board had awarded A. Transue Corp. of Block Island a contract to prepare the site for the homes, including pouring concrete for five full foundations, installing shared septic and water supply systems, building a new access road and all landscaping. Transue’s successful bid was a collaboration with two other island-based contractors, Mike Ernst and Bill Rose.
Connecticut Valley and Pariseault had proposed to build the homes without bidding on the site work. Both companies had also submitted proposals in an earlier round of bidding on the project. This time, both proposed to use modular construction; Pariseault’s earlier bid was for “stick-built” homes.
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