The Block Island Times

Housing board selects architect

By Gloria S. Redlich | Nov 08, 2013

The Block Island Housing Board recently announced the selection of architect Frank Karpowicz for its affordable housing project on the Brown-Smith property on West-Side Road.

Of the selection, which was made in a closed session of the board on Oct. 10, Housing Board Chair Cindy Pappas said it had been “a very difficult decision because we had four very qualified candidates. All of them were committed to the island and the concept of developing affordable housing.”

She added that the selection was “a unanimous decision [that] came down to finances. His [Karpowicz’] turned out to be the lowest bid, and we felt we had to be responsible because we were using taxpayer dollars. In the end, he was offering a full range of [options] at a great price.”

When reached at his office in Wakefield, Karpowicz said, “I’m very excited about it and about getting started on the project. We’re looking forward to helping the organization [the Block Island Housing Board] with their mission.”

Having been the architect for the Jacke property project, which the Housing Board also managed, Karpowicz is not new to the island or to working on affordable housing projects. He has also worked with such developments in South Kingston and Narragansett, where he has “designed not only market-rate housing but affordable ones,” as well.

State and island formulas

At the open portion of the Oct. 10 meeting, the board discussed the state formula for establishing affordable housing criteria on the mainland and the differences that occur when working on the island where costs are so much higher, as Pappas pointed out. The state regulations were more stringent than the formula generally used on the island, she said.

She explained that the Housing Board had used the same formula that Block Island Economic Development (BIED) used in developing many projects on the island. Because the Jacke property had recently been left off the state list of affordable developments, Pappas felt there had been a simple oversight that could be easily corrected.

On managing the Jacke property as affordable housing she said, “All state guidelines were met and conditions were approved by Washington Trust.” She considered that a precedent on island for working within some latitude had “long been established.”

The next Housing Board meeting is set for Nov. 13.

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