PRARI is a citizens group of volunteers concerned that our property rights are being undermined. We believe the ability of municipalities to look out for their communities' best interests must be protected. PRARI was established after the public became aware of the RhodeMap RI plan and worked to thwart its subsequent adoption by unelected officials amidst great controversy.
RMRI is alarming because it is clearly not an "economic development plan." The application for the grant clearly states the funding will be used to develop a “Regional Plan for Sustainable Development”. The Plan possesses no proven economic metrics and included no economists in its drafting. In fact, RMRI is actually a "social equity plan" or if you like a social experiment. This social experiment threatens actual economic vitality and undermines the ability of municipalities to govern in ways they see fit for their respective districts and unique economic circumstances.
At the core of RMRI is HUD and its partners, the DOT and the EPA, but HUD policies are the principle drivers. In fact when the General Assembly passed legislation to mandate the creation of an economic development plan in 2013, it included 6 specific plan components. What they got instead were the "6 living principles" directly from HUD and the Federal Partnership for Sustainable Communities, a HUD, DOT and EPA consortium.
At issue is HUD's interpretation of the FAIR HOUSING ACT of 1968 which produced the "affirmatively furthering fair housing" policy, or AFFH. Also it must be noted that under the current administration, HUD has become much more aggressive in the enforcement of compliance with AFFH.
In fact, under this administration, HUD's goal is to "deconstruct America's suburbs" in favor of the more densely populated urban model.
In RMRI, the plan points out the necessary behavior modification "challenges," and calls for a "carrot vs. stick" approach in achieving their objectives. The "stick" is a punitive higher tax level verses the "carrot," a substantially lower tax rate for rewarding the "good" behavior.
The City of Woonsocket has actually been forced into a disparate taxation system. Because Woonsocket was a willing “entitlement community” which liberally accepted HUD funding to build-out affordable rental housing, it was ultimately forced to implement a supplemental property tax in addition to its regular property tax.
Senator Mark Gee of East Greenwich told of a case involving the housing authority superseding the E. Greenwich Town Council to build a multi-family unit on Route 2 without even consulting with the Town Council and in violation of local zoning rules, yet because of HUD funding, they completely ignored the town's authority with impunity.
While many communities in RI have participated in CDBG programs, most do not realize that today's HUD has become much more aggressive at ramping up enforcement of compliance to the AFFH mandate. HUD’s more recent interpretation of compliance is much different than what HUD recipients have understood in the past. In fact HUD is actively changing its enforcement criteria and updating their "Fair Housing Assessment" tool. New rules are due in March 2015 (deadline of December 2014 was extended, meanwhile see Fair Housing Assessment tools 2014)
Make no mistake, RMRI and AFFH policies are one in the same and have a direct correlation. RMRI's adoption provides HUD policies the necessary enforcement mechanism that, up until now, did not exist. Rhode Island is the first state to adopt this scheme and therefore open the door to HUD enforcement. It is noteworthy that compliance to AFFH today will mean local zoning rules will be superseded by HUD’s vision of AFFH. HUD’s plans for neighborhood integration will require compliance of AFFH be based on low-income rental housing side-by-side with single family neighborhoods throughout the municipality.
The problem: this will not only deconstruct housing, but also, the property tax base, pushing higher taxes down the tax roll as the higher end neighborhoods are “deconstructed”. These neighborhoods have traditionally paid the lion’s share of property taxes in every community.
Questions also remain as to whether the state is responsible, or the municipality, is legally liable for ensuring HUD AFFH compliance. Inquiries on this question were submitted as far back as last September 2014. The RI Department of Administration has not yet provided an answer. The consequence of the lack of clarity is exactly what has happened in Westchester County, NY and more recently in the city of Dallas. (see HUD vs. Westchester case references).
In case you have not caught the article, even PolitiFact has written on the confusion created by the Division of Planning surrounding “the strings attached” to HUD money as it relates to RhodeMap RI and its adoption.
Deconstruction of 200 years of neighborhood evolution throughout Rhode Island without regard to the impact to property values, or property taxes, is irresponsible to the residents of this state. A new replacement state plan, consistent with what the General Assembly asked for, must be developed.
The facts about RhodeMapRI: Social Engineering and the destruction of property rights in Rhode Island
These pages are dedicated to a full analysis of the RhodeMap RI plan and the Transfer of Development Rights document that is cited seven times by the Plan. The facts recognized once one understands fully these two documents is the realization that it is the goal of everyone who supports RhodeMap RI to transfer as much ownership of property from individual citizens to the government.
This is evident by the Plan's recommendations:
- To create a statewide agreement to transfer development rights.
- To create a politically run "State Infrastructure Bank" (cited seven times in the RhodeMap RI plan) to buy the development rights of all those who are willing.
- To create a "mandatory rezoning strategy" throughout Rhode Island
Recognizing of course that the development rights to a property is de facto all rights to a property, it is imperative that all Rhode Islanders read, verify, and understand this entire analysis.
RhodeMap RI is a social engineering plan which plays upon the desires of most Rhode Island citizens' for a healthy environment and inclusive society in order to take the right to develop property throughout the Ocean State, destroy the single family home, and force people into communal living.
The analysis performed by the Gaspee Project cites only exact text and messages from the RhodeMap RI plan as well as the Transfer of Development Rights doctrine the RhodeMap plan cites seven times. The Gaspee Project recognizes that Rhode Island citizens, when informed about the fact surrounding the two plans, Ocean State citizens would be appalled.
RhodeMap RI and the Transfer of Development Rights documents are long and complicated, yet everyone in Rhode Island must make every effort to understand them due to the huge impact both have on the future of our state.
The video above will help RI citizens understand these plans by citing key quotes throughout both documents and then explaining their relevance and effect on our lives. The citizens of PRARI urge all Rhode Islanders to watch this video as soon as possible due to the urgent nature of taking action against these plans.
Sal Carceller's analysis of Rhode Map RI where he answers the questions, is this plan is a economic recovery plan? Who's plan is it? Was it planned by RI citizens and businesses?
Local expert on RhodeMap RI Gary Morse's presentation on Rhodemap RI for members of PRARI [Property Rights Alliance of Rhode Island]:
Mike Stenhouse spoke at the RhodeMap RI public forum in North Kingstown, RI.
According to Transfer of Development Rights Plan:
1. Pg. 13;
" This type of TDR program would require much closer, hands-on involvement by the local government or by a non-profit organization dedicated to achieving the specific transfers, rather than depending on the workings of the real estate market."
Conclusion: Laws must be drafted to prevent non-profit, non-governmental organizations from acquiring such power over citizens.
2. Pg. 16 ("ISSUES AFFECTING TDR FEASIBILITY IN SOUTH COUNTY" and now all of Rhode Island now that RhodeMap is approved):
" Under Rhode Island statute, overlay districts may only be used to add more restrictive requirements to the underlying zoning, and not to allow more flexibility. Therefore, while the sending area could be restricted through the creation of an overlay district, it is probably not possible under the current statute to use an overlay district approach for receiving areas. Instead, it would be necessary to provide for an increase in density (with the acquisition of transferable development rights) through the land development project process, either by amending the existing zoning district regulations or by creating a new zoning district. (Another alternative would be to seek an amendment to the definition of “overlay district” contained in the General Laws.)"
Conclusion: These laws must be strengthened and the definition of an "overlay district" must be clearly established.
This petition expresses the serious and grave concerns Rhode Island citizens have about RhodeMap RI, the legalization of transferring development rights to government, the threat of a politically controlled state bank, and the establishment of a Rhode Island statewide property tax system.