I’ve put a post up on Tiverton Fact Check that takes up an aspect of the mixed-use Tiverton Glen project — which opponents are calling “the Mall,” now “the MegaMall” — that hasn’t been mentioned.
The issue and, especially, the opposition have really picked up steam in the past few weeks, in part perhaps because the process has set off a number of alarms. Notably, after a long and controversial planning-board process, the developer submitted additional requests for zoning changes to the Town Council just before a town hearing.
Still, as often happens around here as issues heat up and a local political action committee called Tiverton 1st turns on its machine, personal attacks are poking through discussion of issues and there’s a frenzy for conformity that makes a too-simple “yes” or “no” question into a heated single issue under which all substantive discussion is rolled.
One larger question that’s been lost is what sort of development will ultimately go in that location. Somebody’s paying around $20,000 in taxes on that land every year. Making its sale and development a question of raw political power raises the possibility that the next proposal will come from somebody with more political power and less regard for the interests of the community.
With the state continuing to expand its push for affordable housing — including cut-rate tax bills for affordable developments — those opposing every commercial development that comes down the pike may be setting up a new neighborhood that, far from promising at least some fiscal benefit in the long term, comes nowhere meeting the costs of the government services it uses.