We are focused on issues that impact the everyday lives of Little Compton's residents, including
Affordability for lower-income homebuyers and seniors
Climate change and its effects on our coastline
- Local farmers
Check back for updates on these and other issues. Stay informed!
In January 2024, broad new affordable housing laws will take effect across RI (RI General Laws 45-53-3). The package of bills focuses on tenant protections, creation of a statewide rental registry, adaptive re-use and issues specific to affordable housing. Although the new laws were shaped for the state's larger cities and towns, town officials in Little Compton (LC) are in the process of reviewing and amending their zoning and building regulations to make sure LC complies where applicable.
A proposed law related to Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) was excluded from the 2023 legislation but is likely to be enacted at a future date. The topic of ADUs is of importance to LC residents who already have or may wish to add an additional unit on their property.
The issue of affordability in Little Compton has been simmering for several years as market prices soar. In 2021-22, The Housing Trust had the foresight to conduct a survey to gather comments on housing needs in Little Compton, which was followed by a presentation to the Town Council.
Scroll alphabetically to The Housing Trust section on the Town of Little Compton website to view additional documents that were produced during the survey and data gathering process, as well as the mission statement for The Housing Trust. The survey results have formed the basis for LC's initial steps in addressing the very real problem of affordability.
In 2024 the Housing Trust is planning to begin construction on 4 affordable housing units on a parcel of land purchased in 2023 in conjunction with the Planning and Zoning Boards. Stay tuned as this project progresses and, in parallel, our town officials respond to the requirements of the new housing laws.
For more information at the state level, see: HousingWorksRI
Be prepared! There is no question that climate change is already impacting Little Compton's coastline.
It's also important to keep in mind the potential damage that can be caused by a single hurricane to our coastline and town. Check the CRMC's Hurricanes and Coastal Storms site which includes practical storm-related tools and a climate predictor for potential storm patterns.
The following sites offer up-to-date information on climate impact to our community:
The RI Coastal Resources Management Council crmc.ri.gov/strategicplanning.html
Check the site for updates on acquaculture, wind energy, climate change, and other topics of concern to LC.
An ongoing project by the CRMC involving many other regional institutions to study sea level rise, coastal erosion, etc.
SLAMM map (Sea Level Affecting Marshes Model) specific to LC crmc.ri.gov/maps/maps_slamm/slamm_littlecompton.pdf
This shows current coastal areas with projections of 1, 3 and 5 foot sea level rises.
A really great example of public outreach about climate change affecting a Rhode Island community can be seen in this PDF booklet. We see the singular character of Rhode Island and its citizens thinking progressively about a massive problem that looms ahead.
Historically, Little Compton has been a farming community since inhabited by the Sakonnet Native Americans and later settled in the late 17th century by Europeans. Although there were few surviving farms by the late 1900s, in recent years the number of farms has grown significantly and now provide an abundance of products sold locally or transported to urban markets. In addition to farming enterprises, LC residents sell their own eggs, garlic, vegetables, flowers, and berries from driveway stands. We are fortunate to have so many farmers as our neighbors and so many neighbors who support local farming.
Yet purchasing land and attaining housing for farm families and farm workers has been a challenge given the real estate market, zoning requirements, and limited housing stock in LC. Young farmers, in particular, have a steep climb to access the capitol needed to buy or lease land, earn a livable wage, and find nearby affordable housing.
The local organization Keep the Farm in Farm Coast is driving attention to the challenges faced by next generation farmers. Join their initiative to actively support farmers in Little Compton.
Inquire at Town Hall about the Planning Board's vision and efforts by The Housing Trust and Agricultural Conservancy Trust to address issues faced by our farming community. You can support our farmers by making your voice heard by town officials!
View the Little Compton Historical Society's 2021 exhibit titled Everyone Was a Farmer. The Little Compton Historical Society publishes and sells books on local history, much of it focused on aspects of the town's origins as a farming community.
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