Electing Independent Charlestown Town Council candidates Sheila Andrew, Cody Clarkin, Susan Cooper, Bonnie Van Slyke, and David Wilkinson and Planning Commission candidates Gordon Foer, Walter “Peter” Mahony, Frances Topping, and me, Ruth Platner is important to our environment, our tax rate, and to our economy.
The Southern New England Forest Consortium produced an economic study titled “Land Conservation, Development and Property Taxes in Rhode Island.” This widely respected study of all Rhode Island towns and many other economic studies have shown that increasing the overall density of development will lead to higher tax rates and that development on marginal land will lead to higher tax rates.
Charlestown’s largest real estate developers once dominated Charlestown’s political life. If they had retained their influence, much of the open space lands in Charlestown would be developed now. If they regain their influence, no more land will be conserved.
We currently have a Town Council and Planning Commission who support the creation of public access recreation and conservation areas. The most recent results have been the new hiking area on the Pawcatuck River in Carolina, the expansion of the recreation area behind Town Hall, and the addition to the Pasquiset Preserve on Old Coach Road that connects several existing open-space properties and preserves forever a portion of the Narragansett Trail.
It is important to elect independent town councilors and planning commissioners who will put the interest of the town, its tax rate, and its environment first. These independent Town Council and Planning Commission candidates are committed to our environment and rural character. They understand the connection between protection of our natural resources and our low tax rate.
Electing these candidates will help to keep Charlestown green, both on the land and in our wallets.
The writer is the current chairwoman of the Charlestown Planning Commission and is a candidate for Planning Commission in the November election.