To the Editor:
I want to first start off with saying that this isn’t a battle necessarily against Westbay Community Action. This is a battle against the city, the mayor and our absent Ward 4 Councilman McElroy. Right now, it’s Westbay, but in three years it could be another establishment, and we would fight it as well.
The current property of Holden Elementary School is zoned as Residential use not commercial usage. We do not ever want it zoned for commercial usage, whether it be Westbay, U-Haul, Walmart, Dave’s, etc. We are a neighborhood of families, children and single adults. We all bought our homes paying a premium because of the school location in the first place. Now, Mayor Solomon wants to assist his “friend” (Westbay Community Action) get the property zoned for commercial use, and then the mayor can then use it for whatever he wants without notifying the neighborhood of anything because it will have already been possibly zoned as commercial usage.
Paul Salera of Westbay Community Action has no skin in the game here in our community or state and could care less about the families, the homes, the property etc. He would be leasing it not buying it. If he is so concerned about Rhode Island why doesn’t he live in Rhode Island? Are the taxes too high for him here? Why is he so passionate about Rhode Island when he isn’t even a resident of the state? We all own our homes and pay high taxes as it is. Westbay will not be paying taxes because they are a non-profit organization. Our home values will diminish, but we are still required to pay taxes to take care of the building no matter if it sits empty or if there is a tenant. The infringement of our property and privacy of our neighborhood, safety of our neighborhood, traffic concerns, already deteriorated roads are all on the list of major affects that we all face as homeowners if this shall pass.
The question was raised, well, if Westbay doesn’t move in, what would you like to see there? The answer is very simple: if another school cannot go there, keep it zoned as residential and tear down the school so that houses can be built, tear it down and turn it into a soccer field or something for the local neighbors.
The only person that showed up for approval of this was Clayton Shackleton, aka Clay Shackleton, the owner of the Gateway Plaza. We want to know why? What does it bring to his business as he stated at the zoning meeting? He is friends with Mayor Solomon as well, according to his Facebook. What are the kickbacks that are taking place? Something all around this is quite fishy.
Many neighbors were not notified of the zoning meeting via the city, and the city has no proof either that all the required homes 200 feet surrounding the property were notified. The people that showed up for the meeting on Oct. 8 were there because most of them were informed from a homeowner that passed flyers out. The city’s response…well, we sent letters. We are sure you did…to a few people so it looks like you did what you are required to. Let’s see certified mail receipts. Ohhhh, that’s right there are none.
The picture behind the blur is that we all take pride in our community, neighborhood, homes, families and property. By allowing this space to be used for commercial use will interrupt our peaceful enjoyment of our property and demonetize our community.