Thursday, December 14, 2006

More Luxury Homes Boost Economic Development

So states the Portsmouth Econ. Advisory Committee. "Luxury homes owned by part-year residents could provide a tax boost to Portsmouth, according to projections from the town's Economic Development Committee." (Daily News) Well, duh. Expensive recreational homes bring in lots of money & don't send kids to school. They also tend to use few town services. So build more!

All communities in R.I. are required by state law to provide a minimum of 10% affordable housing for its residents. Guess what the percentage in Portsmouth is - slightly over 2%. Middletown meets its quota, Newport far exceeds it, Tiverton & Little Compton have little. One reason is that these town lack infrastructure - sewers. Portsmouth also has no emergency shelter for those without any kind of housing. Yet last year 25 people required such shelter while claiming Portsmouth as their last residence.

Responsible economic development requires affordable housing for its workers. While Newport shoulders much of this for the State, what about Portsmouth? It's time that other towns & cities stepped up to the plate. I proposed the State providing incentives for communities to do so.

To stray slightly from this topic, my husband spotted rental ads for the Anchorage this weekend. What happened to the proposed sale & affordable condos? GMH is having financial problems, but supposedly the deal was still going to happen. Any deals that the town has made with GMH regarding tax payments could go up in smoke. The rental market here is depressed & so are affordable condos. It's not beyond possibility that the deal with Church Community could still happen. Or that you could see this turn into a public housing. This has the potential to turn into huge economic problems for Middletown. As I've learned after many years in real estate, it ain't over till it's over.

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