Thu, 04/26/2018 - 9:15pm

Keep affordable housing affordable

To the Editor:

I would like to share with island residents a recent letter that I sent to the Block Island Land Trust, along with a few notes to provide context to those unaware of the situation on Cooneymus Road regarding development.

Here’s the letter:

Dear Block Island Land Trust,

I would like to bring an excellent opportunity to the attention of the Land Trust. On the west side of the island, located just off of Cooneymus Road extension there is a plot of land that embodies rural Block Island. This secluded spot features a soft rolling natural landscape, evoking the land’s long history as verdant pastureland. The Land Trust will no doubt appreciate the opportunity to preserve this contiguous open space as we all know this is becoming rare commodity on the island.

This plot of land has been very generously bequeathed to the affordable housing initiative on Block Island. Given the rural location’s unique status as unbroken open space, I believe that the most prudent and sustainable use for this generous gift would be to preserve its rural character by using the proceeds of the sale to The Land Trust towards other more sustainable affordable housing initiatives, which have been proposed in the town area.

We have a unique opportunity at hand. We can continue to provide the community and biodiversity a rural sanctuary on the west side, as well as garner funds to focus on responsible development in the appropriate locations on the island as described in the town’s carefully crafted Comprehensive Plan.

We can honor this gift by using the land to its greatest potential, by acknowledging its best qualities; this is the kind of thoughtful and responsible stewardship that the Island Land Trust is known and appreciated for.

I respectfully request that this topic be placed on the agenda for the May 10, 2018 meeting and this letter read out loud at the meeting. I appreciate your time and consideration.

Here are my notes: The proposed Cherry Hill Lane development will carve up an unbroken piece of land on the rural west side of the island, forever altering the landscape. A recent article in The Block Island Times that covered the most recent meeting of the Planning Board discussed the rising and seemingly unbridled cost of the project. This clearly shows that the parcel of land simply is not a good fit for development. I understand and appreciate that this land was designated to benefit the affordable housing initiative, I suggest selling to the plot to the Land Trust to fund other more appropriate projects in the works. I have stated at previous meetings that the location and rural nature of this land is not a good choice for development.

The project is not in compliance with the town’s Comprehensive Plan on many points. The location is far from town, increasing auto dependency, and the project will not be located on town works like water and sewer. There has now been concern raised over the very expensive maintenance of the long rural driveway; this cost will fall on the homeowners.

I believe that we, as thoughtful stewards of the land, can recognize that the maximum worth and potential of this plot of land lies in its unbroken, undeveloped nature. Keeping the parcel intact will allow us to most profitably and sustainably use this gift. We can use the capital to focus efforts on projects with a smaller footprint that adhere to the Comprehensive Plan.

There are a few great proposals in the works, such as the apartments at the Harbor Church, as well as behind the West Side 20, both of which are much more aligned with the town’s Comprehensive Plan.

Let’s work together to keep affordable housing truly affordable and to avoid altering one of the remaining pieces of open space the island has left.


Shannon McCabe

West Side Road


Deer count

To the Editor:

We on Block Island were talking about the deer population 31 years ago, and we still are. Beautiful creatures, and I feel sorry for them being brought here, in the 1960s, just to be killed. However, they have no natural predators on this little patch of land. Last week’s Block Island Times editorial speaks of getting a reliable count of the deer population.

Here, from 1987, is my newcomer’s lighthearted take on it. It appeared in “Works in Progress V: From Houdini to Whodunit,”published by The Block Island Writers’ Workshop:

How many deer 

are here? As many as are seen

by a sailor during Race Week? As many as

are counted (now you see ‘em, now you don’t)

by aircraft buzzing through a sunny hour?

As many as can decapitate with a nibble

forty-six tulips and two azaleas, new

green grass shoots along the wall, and low

slung apples from the wizened tree?

Or as many as still are troops, red and gold, of

tulips, stalwart, defending a neighbor’s border?

As many as you may see shadowed at dawn,

      taking their grass with dew above your pond?

As many as you may not see at noon,

      metamorphosis of a thicket? As many as one

great buck that cracks across your road at night,

hooves flashing, or as many

as may or may not be in the field beyond, how many

pairs of hovering, startled eyes

turn, in a quiver, into fog? As many as can

dance on the head of a pin

by the light of the moon? As many as

cavorted in black tie down High Street last night?

Or as many as you spotted high

near Southwest Point against the sky — and by the way,

those twilit five — were they the same you saw

last week, this morning, too (for now you

see them

            now you


Fran Migliaccio

Sands Pond Road


Blood Drive

To the Editor:

Our next blood drive will be held on Thursday, May 3, from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Block Island School. Please enter at the rear of the school — follow the signs. Please make every effort to donate as there will not be another drive until September. If you have any questions about your ability to donate, simply call 453-8307.  You will talk with a medical expert who can tell you if you are eligible   

- Ages 16 may donate with parent’s permission. Pick up a form at the Block Island School.

- Anyone 17 and older may donate. There is no upper age cut off. 

- Bring your driver's license.

If you would like to make an appointment visit www.ribc.org

Please make an extra effort to donate. In May 2014 we received an amazing 47 units. It would be wonderful to receive that amount again. Amazingly, 370,000 Rhode Islanders are eligible to donate but only about five percent do so. Our highest Block Islander donor has reached 100 units!

Peter Greenman, Coordinator

Rhode Island Blood Center