Block Island Times

Housing Board contemplates O’Brien property

The Block Island Housing Board is moving into the conceptual phase of planning and general development for its most recently acquired property. The O’Brien property is located on West Side Road, next to the E. Searles Ball Housing development and across the street from Ball O’Brien Park.The town recently agreed to change the zoning for the property to New Harbor Commercial, in order to accommodate a higher density.“We should explore the most we can do, and then scale down from there. If we don’t take the full scale of it, we might not ever get this density again,” Vice Chair Rosemary Tobin told the group as they discussed the number of proposed units.Member John Spier said that the nearby West Side 20 development has 60 bedrooms. “It’s a little more than double the land size (of the O’Brien property), so that puts us in the 30 bedroom range. Eighteen to 25 bedrooms seems about right.” Dividing the bedrooms up into actual housing units still leaves some options to consider. Spier went on to say that “24 bedrooms can be eight units or it can be fifteen units. Smaller units fit a demographic that we haven’t addressed yet.”Chair Cindy

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