PRARI has not given up the fight against the federal law that removes local zoning authority. The liberals and the state planning department in RI continue to move RhodeMapRI forward by providing tax credits to their cronies and forcing you to pay for your neighbor’s property taxes.
However, there is some hope with U.S. Senator Mike Lee. Lee is going to work with a Republican majority in the House and Senate, a Republican Executive branch, and with any luck, Dr. Ben Carson as HUD secretary, to attack the outrageous power HUD has given to local elected officials and administrators who accept federal money - the power to ignore your local zoning laws and the power to force you to subsidize others in your neighborhood.
Included here is a link to sign a petition supporting his efforts to stop the social engineering of our neighborhoods by halting both the implementation and funding of the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule. Please pass it along to your family and friends to sign!
In the past we explained how AFFH would impact our RI neighborhoods, how it would come to fruition in RI through RhodeMapRI. Speaker Mattiello told you RhodeMapRI would be ‘shelved’. Take a look at the projects and giveaways below. Speaker Mattiello knows full well that RhodeMapRI and its destructive forces were not shelved.
NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley RI: Mixed-Use Developments
Heritage Place, Woonsocket
Clocktower Apartments, Burrillville
ArTech Hub, Woonsocket
3 projects seeking Rebuild R.I. tax credits
Prospect Heights, 560 Prospect St., Pawtucket
Union Trust Company Building, 170 Westminster St., Providence
78 Fountain St., Providence
Rhode Island Housing Awards LIHTCs to 3 Projects
"Rhode Island Housing has awarded more than $2.5 million in low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs) to three developments as part of its 2015 round: Greenridge Apartments development by NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley in Burrillville, the Revitalize SouthSide development by SWAP, Inc., in Providence, and Amherst Gardens by Olneyville Housing Corp. in Olneyville."
Raimondo Announces New Construction Projects
"Governor Gina M. Raimondo and the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation Board of Directors last evening approved incentive agreements for over $9 million in tax credits and grant funding [YOUR MONEY] to spur new construction and support research and development."
Why would a developer want to build mixed-use, high density affordable housing? If it is affordable, how can they profit??
MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN TAX CREDITS that can be used to offset ANY tax bill.
Millions of YOUR TAX DOLLARS given to developers to subsidized housing you have NO RIGHT to question.
And not only will developers profit from this scheme, they will be able to determine where they might profit the most, without concern for local zoning.
Page 123 of the RhodeMap "Economic Development Plan"
"Adopt mixed-use development zoning which incorporates village-like amenities, services, and housing options for a mixed-age, mixed-income residential population, and includes by-right multi-family or other denser housing models for rural and suburban centers."
The phrase "by-right development" not only implies statewide "on-demand" approvals in favor of developers, but such developments may soon contain forced local property tax breaks subsidized by local residents, not the State of RI. Such property tax breaks paid for by local residents was already attempted in 2015 under House Bill H6107A, and is expected to be pushed again in the future.
In other words, without ANY say from you and your neighbors, Gina Raimondo and the rest of the Establishment in Rhode Island want construction development companies to build and expand mixed-use, high density housing anywhere they want without your approval.
Do you think you'll have a choice?
From RI Planning, April 28 2015:
"The decision to make a local inclusionary housing ordinance mandatory or voluntary is an important one. Based on discussions with planners and developers, it seems clear that voluntary programs are FAR LESS LIKELY TO BE USED. Therefore, the policy recommendation is for mandatory provisions that are triggered by a certain threshold."
RhodeMap RI / RI Rising depends upon an important State initiative: Getting you to subsidize your neighbors property taxes, even when your neighbor is financially better off than you!
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.