More affordable housing woes

Fri, 05/06/2022 - 8:45am

The following was copied to The Block Island Times.
To the: Chair and Board, Block Island Land Trust,
This communication is in response to the letter in The Block Island Times by the Block Island Land Trust, The Block Island Nature Conservancy, and the Block Island Conservancy organizations, and is primarily directed towards the Block Island Land Trust, as we believe the BILT can be more immediately part of the solution to addressing the affordable/attainable housing (AAH) problems in our community.
The letter in last week’s paper was very similar to the discussion we had on February 10, 2022 specific to AAH. I was more than disappointed to see that the BILT failed to put forth any new ideas in the past two months despite our request.
Let me be very blunt. No organization, business, or person really cannot change with the times and be successful. We have afforded and supported the BILT the mechanisms and means to conserve open space land as you described. What we asked was basically, “What can you suggest to change for the future that is now before us?” and you failed to offer even one suggestion.

Have you implicitly rejected all suggestions that we made to you? Have you no ability to devise intelligent means by which the BILT could participate more in
solving this crisis? It seems so, and that is unacceptable and frankly indicates a need for change from outside in your direction and leadership, since you will not suggest changes from within. I think you would find it hard to find residents of Block Island who do not have some degree of appreciation for our open spaces. Nor would you find it difficult to find anyone who does not see the need for affordable housing, and the possibility that the BILT could morph into an organization that could contribute more to solving this problem.
The BILT needs to change. The land available for AAH gets constrained with every purchase you make, and you have offered no off-ramp to change this. You
apparently won’t consider agreements that allow for more AAH, or for changing the amount of funds received to better incorporate AAH. In addition the BILT continues to unintendedly, but obviously increase the cost of land. The BILT purchases also shifts a tax burden to the rest of the property owners, also increasing AAH.

I had stated in my previous letter that if you stone-walled, and would not respond to our plea for ideas, we would take action to see that suggestions at least are put forward and discussed. Therefore, you really leave us no option but to work to change BILT to more proactively participating in AAH, while also conserving important land in our community. Without a change, you will be doing the same thing by rote that you have been doing since your inception, and in effect turning a blind eye and deaf ear to all that we see and hear with respect to AAH every day no matter how unintended.

Alicia Miro,
Christopher Warfel,
Copied to: Editor, Block Island Times, Town Council, Town of New Shoreham, Town Manager, Town of New Shoreham.