2006-08-17 / Letters to the Editor

Lighthouse housing

To the Editor

The Press article on 10 August concerning Beavertail Lighthouse and its future was mostly well written. However, the comments regarding affordable housing do not tell an accurate story.

This issue has long pitted lighthouse preservationists against those who believe the lighthouse quarters can be used as they deem fit for solving the "inadequate stock of housing "in Jamestown.

Since October of 1983, the town of Jamestown has been licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard to use the premises for "public outdoor recreation, historical display purposes and to maintain the property." The license states that "no other use is authorized." The town has no authority to designate any structure on the site for any use not intended or specified in the license.

The Beavertail Advisory Committee formed to protect and improve the park for public use is made up of independent non-affiliated individuals, representatives of the town of Jamestown, officials of the R.I. Department of E n v i r o n m e n t a l Management and representatives of the Beavertail Lighthouse Museum Association (BLMA). The committee meets biannually to review conditions at Beavertail State Park, including the lighthouse. In May of this year, they voted unanimously to recommend the lighthouse not be used for affordable housing.

The BLMA has continually opposed any use of the premises which could cause visual or structural damage to the 150 year old structure. The BLMA and other preservation organizations believe a single resident in custodian status, versus rotating families with children, will minimize any risk of damage.

During the nationwide Lighthouse Conference held in Newport two years ago, Washington, D.C., representatives from the Coast Guard and the National Park Service voiced strong objections to any contemplated use of this historic site for affordable housing.

Why town officials blatantly disregard recommendations made by the Beavertail Advisory Committee (including their own town-assigned members), the position of the BLMA, and the contractual license restrictions of USCG, yet continue to mandate the wishes of the Affordable Housing Committee is incomprehensible.

Varoujan Karentz

2 Clarke Village

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