I don't speak for the Portsmouth Economic Development Committee even though I'm a member, but I do think that we need to look at the Briggs' farm issue as a major economic turning point for Portsmouth.
Do we want to be a community that is business friendly or not? I'm not saying that we give developers anything they want, but I do think that we need to accept the need for some business development in town.
It comes down to tax revenues. If we say no to businesses or development then either our taxes will go up (although they are already one of the lowest among Rhode Island towns) and/or our services will drop below the dangerous levels they are already at.
Read Bob Gilstein's comments in Sunday's Newport Daily News - it comes down to bringing businesses in or raising taxes.
As much as I don't care to see a "big box" store in town, if a developer needs one to make a cluster of other stores viable, then the Briggs' property would be a good place to put it. Such a development would be off the highway (West Main Road), provide jobs, opportunities for small businesses to make money and a place in Portsmouth for all of us to shop.
Without it, it will remain an open field, providing zero revenues in taxes. The people who bought houses next to the area should have looked at the zoning for the open area they seem to care so much about.
Would they rather have a light industry manufacturing plant or a shopping mall? Either one would work for me.