Block Island, Rhode Island

The Block Island, RI, Your Town workshop took place at the Old Harbor Meadow Community Center from June 3-5, 2005. The workshop was a great success bringing to the island a heightened awareness of the issue of protecting community character. There was an emphasis on planning and bringing together new ideas and observations. 

Following the workshop in the fall of 2005, James Bailey, a presenter at the Block Island Your Town, gave an updated version of his presentation to the annual meeting of the Block Island Conservancy in October. Bailey developed a computer program that provides a detailed look at how development proposals would affect the landscape and viewsheds of Block Island. He argued against the importation of mainland values and blockbuster houses that would destroy the historic character of the island. The Block Island Conservancy then worked together to acquire a professional town planner for the island. In 2007, the community was successful in hiring a town planner, Jane Weidman, who has worked toward limiting inappropriate development on the island.  Furthermore, the Planning Board worked on developing new zoning laws and a coastal overlay that could restrict the building mass and height of residential homes relative to lot size.