The EGRTC Blog
Check Out Our LTE in The Providence Journal (11/25/23)
EG School Bond Passes Despite Community Concerns
Special Election Updates
(October 31, 2023) Some have been wondering what will happen if the school bond fails. The EG Town Council and School Committee are now stating that if the bond does not pass, while it would be difficult, it is possible for them to revise the school construction plan and be able to submit Stage 2 plans to RIDE by the February 2024 deadline. This means that voters should not feel pressured to vote for something simply based on the “once in a lifetime” offer of the 20% bonus incentives. This does not mean that voters should stay home on November 7th; in fact, any revision to the bond would depend on how the election results break down. Read more about this here: https://eastgreenwichnews.com/what-if-school-construction-bond-fails/
Misleading Media About the School Bond
(October 17, 2023) Why are our elected officials spreading misleading information about the upcoming school bond? Two weeks ago, Town Councillor Caryn Corenthal commented on social media that, if the bond fails, EG taxpayers will have to shoulder the entire burden of school construction in the future. And Vice Chair of the School Committee Nicole Bucka shared the same disinformation on her Facebook page.
This is false. As we have shared in previous statements, the RI State Legislature voted to fund school construction at a base rate of 35% in East Greenwich, and this funding will not go away next year. It is called “Housing Aid.” What will be expiring is the potential for an additional 20% in bonus incentives that we may be eligible for. This amounts to $30M on a bond of our size.
After we corrected Ms. Bucka and several days had passed, East Greenwich News finally edited these misleading statements.
Make Your Voice Heard About the School Bond
(October 1, 2023) Now is the time to become informed and ask questions about the upcoming School Bond Referendum. The EGRTC wishes to promote community engagement about this topic and will continue to highlight opportunities for voters to have the data they need to make a knowledgable decision at our special election on November 7.
Mark Your Calendars & Vote on the School Construction Bond
(September 23, 2023) Did you know that special elections typically have low voter turnout? East Greenwich residents, please make your voice heard by voting on our town’s most consequential municipal spending of a generation. Here is some important information regarding the upcoming $150M East Greenwich School Bond Referendum.
Let's Talk About the Upcoming School Construction Bond
East Greenwich Needs Heroes
(August 24, 2023) In 1981, President Reagan inspired us with this reminder about what makes our nation unique- “We are a nation that has a government, not the other way around, and this makes us special among all the nations of the earth. Our government has no power except that which is granted it by the people.” We sometimes hear from Democrats that constituents must live with the egregious policies that have been enacted because the voters have spoken. However, voters who sent Democrats to elected office did so because they believed their dishonest promises. As we have described in previous posts, your elected officials have failed to uphold their promises and advocate for your best interests.
East Greenwich Sent the State a Message
(August 5, 2023) After months of hearings, the East Greenwich Planning Board voted this week not to approve Ned Capozzi’s Division Road development. They were persuaded by the compelling testimony of a host of residents who described the likely negative impacts on the health, safety, and environment of the community, as well as the fact that the project would be in contradiction to our Comprehensive Plan that sets aside the western part of town as rural. Most interestingly, the Board found that the evidence provided by the traffic expert hired by the residents about the impacts to the surrounding roads and neighborhoods was more convincing than that of the town’s own traffic expert.
While the developer will almost assuredly appeal the decision, and the state has the power to override our local boards, it is encouraging that so many East Greenwich residents came together to push back against state overreach. What is unfortunate is that our own elected officials have long been silent on this topic, albeit a few Town Councilors have spoken out in their personal capacities. We have already demonstrated that, during campaign season, our state reps misrepresented their intentions to uphold local control at the statehouse. However, please remember that our Town Council didn’t make any empty promises regarding pushing back against developer abuse of our affordable housing laws. In fact, they signaled that they would simply allow it to happen. It was Republican Town Council candidates who sounded the alarm about this development and the need for better advocacy on your behalf: https://mailchi.mp/e223152fdc54/read-our-town-council-candidates-lte-on-affordable-housing?e=[UNIQID]
Progressive Control or Local Control?
(July 24, 2023) Progressives who criticize concerned residents for their supposed NIMBY attitudes about the Division Road project ignore the fact that it is not the affordable nature of the development that concerns them. It is the high-density quality of the project and the inevitable change in the rural, western side of town that is supposed to be set aside as such in our town’s Comprehensive Plan. Overdevelopment of rural areas in East Greenwich, combined with the deforestation of nearby West Greenwich to create solar farms, is an ecological nightmare.
A Message From our Vice Chair of Candidate Development
(July 9, 2023) Hello, East Greenwich! My name is Peter Carney, and I recently accepted the role of Vice Chair of Candidate Development for the East Greenwich Republican Town Committee. The time is NOW to start planning for our town’s 2024 election cycle. With three School Committee seats open, all five Town Council seats, one State Rep. seat, and two State Senate seats, 2024 presents a great opportunity to address the total lack of balance representing East Greenwich.
Who's Fighting For You?
(July 6, 2023) If you missed our recent pieces about how your state representative and state senator broke their campaign promises to fight state overreach with regard to planning and zoning, check out our expanded Letter to the Editor which was published today in The Pendulum.
"The neighbors don't get to decide."
(June 30, 2023) At the June 21 EG Planning Board meeting, Bill Landry, the lawyer for the Division Road project developer Ned Capozzi, stated, “The neighbors don’t get to decide.” Never was this more the case than now because your State Senator, Bridget Valverde, just voted to approve several affordable housing bills which further erode local control over zoning and planning. Mr. Landry may have been referring to who gets to decide whether another traffic study is done, but it could easily have been the General Assembly’s slogan for this legislative session.
Promises, Promises, Promises
(June 25, 2023) If you are concerned about the 410+ unit development on Division Road, you should be aware that Representative Justine Caldwell, who represents East and West Greenwich, has not kept her campaign promise to fight state overreach of housing/zoning/planning. Last fall, during the candidate forum, Rep. Caldwell stated that she would "go up to the Statehouse in January… and say this actually isn't working for East Greenwich. It’s probably not working for a lot of cities and towns. I speak to people at their doors, I talk to people on the phone about some ideas that we could do to have more local control, and I work very closely with our town council. The idea that we have wrested away local control from East Greenwich is simply untrue.” (Her remarks begin at 29:50 in this video: https://youtu.be/2SbVp6cwgt8).
School Safety NOW
(April 12, 2023) Introducing School Safety NOW- a non-partisan group of Rhode Island parents, educators, and community members, advocating for school safety. Their mission is to ensure the presence of an armed law enforcement officer at our elementary and secondary schools so our staff can teach and our children can learn without fear for their safety.
This grassroots organization formed recently in the wake of yet another school shooting tragedy. East Greenwich and Warwick parents met to plan how they could work together to protect our children while spreading this message statewide.
Even if you don't have children in our schools, we know that you care about East Greenwich families and teachers. Together we can make our schools a safer place in which to teach and learn now, because tomorrow may be too late.
Division Road 410-Unit Development
(March 16, 2023) The 410-unit residential development proposed for Division Road between Westfield Drive and Moosehorn Road by Developer Ned Capozzi is progressing to the next stage in the approval process. The EGRTC is extremely concerned about this development for the following reasons:
Because of our state affordable housing laws, our local control will be circumvented by the State Housing Appeals Board. According to EG News, "Capozzi has applied for what’s known as a 'comprehensive permit,' where in exchange for offering at least 25 percent of the plan as deed-restricted affordable housing units, the developer gets a density bonus. The General Assembly made this law to promote more affordable housing, removing some local regulatory oversight in the process."
It would add hundreds of new students to our schools, but RIDE won't allow us to project our population needs beyond the next five years. This means that our brand new schools will soon be overcrowded.
Our town must bear the financial burden of the increased need for fire and police services.
Hundreds of cars will be added to the area's daily traffic patterns which are already becoming congested, especially at the intersection of Division and Rte. 2.
No accommodation is being made regarding the impact on wildlife or loss of green space.
Here are some recent articles which explain more about this development:
(March 16, 2023) Senator Gordon Rogers, of District 21 which includes Coventry, Foster, Scituate, West Greenwich, has formed a coalition of rural RI communities which are working together to fight state overreach and developer abuse of our affordable housing laws (https://www.valleybreeze.com/news/rogers-to-form-coalition-of-rural-communities-to-combat-overreaching-state-zoning/article_c2cf4e0c-95fc-11ed-9c08-3b86eb68b20b.html).
Our Republican candidates for Town Council in 2022 offered other creative solutions to help ameliorate this problem. https://eastgreenwichnews.com/affordable-housing-egs-town-council-hands-are-not-tied/ Although none of our candidates were elected, it is still important to stay engaged and ask your local leaders what they are doing to solve this problem.
What can you do?
Attend the Planning Board Meeting scheduled for April 19th at 7:00 PM. Location will likely be in Swift Gym, but check back for updates.
Write to the EG Town Council to ask them to join Senator Rogers' coalition to push back against the state and regain local control of our town planning.
Write to members of the EG Planning Board to ask them to deny approval for this development.
Write to our State Representative and State Senator to persuade them to amend affordable housing laws that remove local control.
Join us for our April 17 EGRTC meeting at Safehouse Restaurant at 6:30 PM to hear from Senator Rogers, who will be our guest speaker.
East Greenwich Town Council
Council President, Democrat
Council Vice President, Democrat
Council Member, Democrat
Council Member, Democrat
Council Member, Democrat
East Greenwich Planning Board
State Senator Bridget Valverde, Democrat
State Representative Justine Caldwell, Democrat
East Greenwich School Building Bond Referendum
Reason #1 to Attend Building Subcommittee Forums: Their Math is Wrong
(March 4, 2023) Option C*, which the subcommittee seems to be favoring, has a price tag of $130M, not the $120M they have been advertising since last year. Apparently their math is wrong, and none of our elected officials, town employees, or even the builder noticed it until we brought it to their attention. This means that the tax impact for this option, which was shared with the Town Council in February, cannot be accurate either. Taxpayers are not being given accurate information about the cost of this project and the impact it will have on family budgets.
The School Building Oversight Subcommittee has planned two community forums on March 21 & March 30, at 5:30 PM, at Cole Middle School (in addition to PTG meetings) in which they will share the three options* they are considering for the construction and renovation of our schools. Please consider these concerns and make your voice known.
*Please note that the subcommittee has since modified their options and corrected their error, in addition to raising the prices of all options on the table. See Reason #5 for more information.
Reason #2 to Attend Building Subcommittee Community Forums: Does "Newer and Fewer" Mean Better?
(March 7, 2023)- RIDE's vision for schools is "Newer and Fewer," and it is incentivizing districts to close older school buildings and consolidate students into fewer buildings. The School Building Oversight Subcommittee has planned two community forums on March 21 & March 30, at 5:30 PM, at Cole Middle School (in addition to PTG meetings) in which they will share the three options they are considering for the construction and renovation of our schools. Please consider these concerns and make your voice known:
By June, the School Committee will be voting to approve one of those options, and a bond referendum will be voted on by taxpayers in the fall. NOW IS THE TIME to share your concerns and ask your questions before the impact on your family is irreversible.
Reason #3 to Attend Building Subcommittee Community Forums: The Choice of Colliers Engineering & Design
(March 8, 2023) Did you know that the School Building Oversight Subcommittee chose Colliers Engineering & Design to handle our district's proposed school construction and renovations? Let's take a closer look at this decision:
The School Building Oversight Subcommittee has planned two community forums on March 21 & March 30, at 5:30 PM, at Cole Middle School (in addition to PTG meetings) in which they will share the options they are considering for the construction and renovation of our schools. By June, the School Committee will be voting to approve one of those options, and a bond referendum will be voted on by taxpayers in the fall. NOW IS THE TIME to share your concerns and ask your questions before the impact on your family is irreversible.
Reason #4 to Attend Building Subcommittee Meetings: Timing
(March 11, 2023) Did you know that our School Committee plans to vote on which building/renovation option our district will use by June? That is so RIDE can approve our plans, and the state can prepare the bond referendum that EG residents will vote on this November. Let's look at the issue of timing and how that has affected your ability to have a say in these decisions:
The School Building Oversight Subcommittee has planned two community forums on March 21 & March 30, at 5:30 PM, at Cole Middle School. NOW IS THE TIME to share your concerns and ask your questions before the impact on your family is irreversible.
Reason #5 to Attend Building Subcommittee Community Forums: Cost
(March 14, 2023) There's no question that our schools need work. But how much will the school bond cost your family? Since our message dated March 4, the School Building Subcommittee has already increased its estimates for school construction/renovations, and added some options.
Don't miss your opportunity to have a say about the impact this decision will have on your family budget. The School Building Oversight Subcommittee has planned two community forums on March 21 & March 30, at 5:30 PM, at Cole Middle School. NOW IS THE TIME to share your concerns and ask your questions before the impact on your family is irreversible.