2007-01-11 / Front Page

Town eligible to share $50 million voter-approved affordable housing bond

By Sam Bari

Town Administrator Bruce Keiser told the Town Council Monday that the town is eligible for a share of the $50 million state affordable housing bond that voters approved in November's general election.

Keiser attended a Rhode Island Housing Resources Commission workshop with Town Planner Lisa Bryer on the proposed regulations for the distribution of funds for the bond. They learned that the funds will be heavily weighted toward rental housing production with 80 percent of the bond allocated for construction of rental units and 20 percent for home ownership, Keiser said. To develop a financially feasible project, multiple sources of project subsidies, including other forms of federal, state, and local assistance will likely be required, he said. Technical assistance is available through Rhode Island Housing and the Housing Network to prepare financially viable projects, he noted.

Keiser said they were also pleased to hear that the state is committed to geographic diversity in meeting affordable housing goals and will promote awards to small suburban and rural communities. "Bryer will maintain an ongoing dialogue with the state agencies and will work with our Affordable Housing Committee to develop a proposal for council consideration," he said.

During his report, Keiser also noted that the town hall project is three weeks ahead of schedule and under budget.

After speaking to the state Department of Environmental Management, Keiser said the deer count for the month of November was 29 taken by hunters, five by bow and arrow at Beavertail State Park, and 26 by motor vehicle accidents. He noted that the high motor vehicle count was a clear indication that drivers must be more careful and aware of deer crossing roads and highways.

Keiser also reported that he has met with Joe and Harriet Mistowski along with their accountant to review the financial statements for the golf course operation. "We are continuing to discuss lease proposals for the golf course and hope to place a recommendation for a lease renewal on the agenda for the Jan. 22 Town Council meeting," Keiser said. The golf course is owned by the town and leased to a private operator.

In other Town Council business, F. John and Charlotte Zarlengo, members of the Jamestown Shores Association, submitted a letter to the council requesting the town to submit a letter of objection to the state DEM concerning the individual sewage disposal system proposal of David and Marina Thurston of Seaside Drive. The Zarlengos are also abutters to the Seaside Drive property. The application was incorrectly reported as denied in the Jan. 4 issue of the Jamestown Press. The application was "rejected" by the DEM as unacceptable because all the required information was not included in the application. However, the applicants were permitted to resubmit an application containing the necessary information.

When matters of this nature go before the Town Council, often because of the schedule of their meetings they do not have time to respond to correspondence within the 20 days allotted by the DEM and the state Coastal Resources Management Council. However, the town has always been granted extensions in the past when it responds with a letter requesting more time. Charlotte Zarlengo said that she talked to the DEM, and they said that an extension will not be granted beyond the Dec. 21 cutoff date, but the DEM said they will read all responses on the matter, according to Zarlengo. She did not identify the party at the DEM who gave her the information.

In an unrelated matter, Town Engineer Mike Gray said that, "on a staff level, they found no technical reasons to reject the application of a proposed ISDS requiring variance from ISDS regulations by property owner Maria Hellen for her lot at Sloop Street and Beacon Avenue in the Jamestown Shores."

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