RhodeMap RI Analysis

RhodeMap RI:

1.  Pg. 2:

" This Economic Development Plan was prepared as part of RhodeMap RI, a coordinated, long range planning effort led by the RI Division of Planning. The project was funded under a Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Conclusion:  If HUD is funding the study, it is clear they have goals in mind when it comes to its conclusions.  Obviously, this plan is not a home-grown attempt at economic development.

2.  Pg. 17: 

" The Consortium was the decision-making body of RhodeMap RI."

Conclusion:  Not a single member of the Consortium has a degree in economics, yet they are the decision makers for this "economic plan."  There must be an ulterior motive well beyond a better economy in RI.

3.  Pg. 82 & 115: 

Under "Opportunity Mapping":

Pg. 82; "The opportunity index includes five broad categories: Education, Health and Environment, Economy, Transportation and Mobility, and Housing and Neighborhoods. Each of these broad categories of opportunity, in turn, is comprised of a series of individual indicators which are scored and aggregated by census tract. The resulting score for each individual category, as well as a composite of all categories, can be mapped in a color coded fashion to display a “gradient” of opportunity across census tracts . . . From a statewide perspective, those areas that show the highest access to opportunity are those generally thought of as the more affluent parts of the state. In some cases, these areas of high opportunity cover most or all of an individual municipality."

Coupled with:

Pg. 115; the widespread dominance of single family homes played an enormous role in creating an income and equity gradient across Rhode Island. Lower income populations, predominantly people of color, generally had no affordable housing options outside of the urban core communities, while more affluent households could choose from a wide range of more expensive choices. This pattern of segregation contributes significantly to many of the socioeconomic challenges examined more deeply under Goal 2 of this plan."

Cite:  Goal 2; Foster an inclusive economy that targets opportunity to typically underserved populations.

Conclusion:  RhodeMap RI planners decided that people who have earned enough wealth to purchase a single family home have played a role in segregating minorities in society.  Does the plan cite any proof of this?  No, it only expresses an opinion as if it is fact in order to justify its use of force against citizens who have done nothing wrong.

4.  Pg. 116 & 117

Pg. 116; "The economic pressures on landowners, combined with the limited opportunities of traditional zoning, contribute to a haphazard, sprawling pattern of development.  Interestingly, when reading many local Comprehensive Plans, this pattern of development is at odds with a town’s goals to protect rural character and quality of life while encouraging appropriate economic development. It also works against elements of the State Guide Plan, including Land Use 2025, and the desire for more concentrated growth center development."

Coupled with:

Pg. 117; "Challenges related to public transit and housing in these areas can be addressed, at least in part, by continuing to aggressively pursue a robust growth centers program."

Conclusion:  The RhodeMap RI planners obviously see privacy by way of land ownership as a problem and wish to force people into concentrated living conditions.  They also cite their own futuristic plan for citizen living conditions as being impeded by the "haphazard sprawling" of life in a single family home.

5.  Pg. 120 & 121

120; " Consider exempting Growth Centers from the state’s tax levy cap to remove disincentives for public and private investment."

121; " The statute assumes growth would occur first and then necessitate infrastructure investment, when in fact substantial growth might not be able to take place without first making the public investment in infrastructure to accommodate desired growth.

"The recommendation from this economic development plan is to revisit this issue and add designated Growth Centers to the list of exemptions for the tax levy cap."

Conclusion:  Removing tax caps that protect taxpayers with further expansion of corporatism in our society will not somehow generate economic growth in society.  The obvious fact is that risks should be taken only by those willing to make them, not forced upon every taxpaying family in the state.

6.  Pg. 122

"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."

Clarification/Definition:  By right development refers to projects that are permitted under their current zoning and do not require any legislative action by the Board of Supervisors or the Board of Zoning Appeals. They are approved administratively and do not require public hearings.

Conclusion:  The drafters of this language believe people have a right to live where they wish regardless of zoning, laws, or any other impediment whether they have earned it or not.

7.  Pg. 124

"The following performance measures will be tracked by the State to measure progress toward achieving Goal 4 of this Economic Development Plan. These performance measures will be tracked over time and presented in an annual “report card” by Statewide Planning.

  • Vehicle miles traveled per capita (RI Department of Transportation)
  • Percentage of housing within ¼ mile of transit stop (RI Statewide Planning Program)
  • Increase in non-single-family housing units (percentage by municipality) (American Community Survey)
  • Proportion of household income spent on housing and transportation cost (Housing + Transportation Affordability Index)"

Cite Goal 4:  "Create great places by coordinating economic, housing and transportation investments."

Conclusion:  It is safe to conclude that these report cards will come with consequences for poor grades.  This is the stick to force citizens into these high density, mixed use living conditions.

8.  Pg. 138

" b. Investigate the creation of a state-level Infrastructure Bank or other more innovative models (e.g. Investment Trusts) to fund projects that support critical economic activity."

Conclusion:  A state run bank where our money can be manipulated?  This particular clause must be taken into consideration with regard to the Transfer of Development Rights analysis below.

9.  Pg. 148

Under " Local Regulatory Challenges"

" Another important aspect of local regulation that needs to be addressed in Rhode Island deals directly with what can and cannot be built.  This issue is certainly not unique to Rhode Island municipalities, but there are far too many local ordinances that do not meet the needs of residents and business owners.  Higher density housing, particularly in suburban and rural areas, should be allowed at different scales in every Rhode Island community."

Conclusion:  RhodeMap RI planners feel that business owners needs should take priority over the needs of families and home owners.  High density housing, they conclude, will make this happen.

10.  Pg. 160

" d. Analyze and reform the property tax system

The State should consider the creation of a permanent commission on property taxation to establish a system of universal, understandable and fair standards for the municipal taxation of property throughout the state."

Conclusion:  No more local control over property taxes . . . Less choice, less diversity, less control.

11.  Pg. 163

" This proposal calls for creating a network of neighborhood health stations, where neighborhood residents could receive the majority of their health care services."

Conclusion:  The destruction of private practice and choice in health care decisions for every family in Rhode Island.

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