WARREN, R.I. (WPRI) — An East Bay town is getting creative in addressing its housing crisis.
Bob Rulli, director of planning and community development for Warren, told 12 News municipalities can be innovative in addressing the affordable housing crisis through administrative changes.
“Rather than rely and go through the process of trying to access some of that state money, we’ve looked at areas that are underdeveloped and what we could do locally in terms of increasing density, changing the zoning, to allow for mixed-use, mixed-income housing, more than one level of building,” Rulli explained.
While more state funding can help alleviate the problem, towns face infrastructure constraints that prevent them from building more affordable housing. Rural areas may lack sewer or water connection which can stop a development from even being considered.
Redeveloping existing areas, like the Metacom Avenue corridor, can create housing opportunities. The Metacom Avenue corridor is a commercial area that is predominantly one-story.
“If I now say you can do five stories and have a lot more lot coverage, I’ve just put money into that developer’s pocket,” Rulli added. “So the town doesn’t have to give any financial incentives, we did that administratively through zoning.”