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Do You Agree With Route 2/102 Rezoning?

Two major areas of the Route 2/102 intersection were rezoned last week to a compact village development.

Rolling Greens Golf Course, the Corner Tavern and the former Bald Hill Garden Center properties were rezoned as a compact village development following a unanimous vote from the North Kingstown Town Council. The changes come following a rehashing of the CVD zone and the conclusion of a stakeholder group tasked with creating a vision for the intersection after a sizable public outcry from residents concerning a proposed village center at Rolling Greens.

Though Mark Hawkins, developer of Rolling Greens, had applied to rezone his land as CVD, the owners of Bald Hill Garden Center and Corner Tavern did not seek out the changes, according to Council Member Michael Bestwick who told the audience he spoke with the owners about the changes.

 

Do you agree with the changes? Do you think the rezoning will help create an identity at the Route 2/102 intersection or do you feel it will ruin the rural character of the area?

 

Still confused about the process? Here’s a brief recap on the Rolling Greens, CVD and Route 2/102 saga:

 

Back in early 2011, a study of North Kingstown growth centers named the Route 2/102 intersection as “lacking an identity.”  Eighteen months later, the North Kingstown Town Council has rezoned portions of the intersection to a newly revamped zoning distract called a Compact Village Development (CVD), which mixes residential and commercial and sets design standards on development.

The aforementioned study, conducted by Horsley Witten Group, predicted that the forecast for the area if action was not taken, adding that the area would likely grow in a “fragmented fashion” if no identity was established. For Horsley Witten Group, an application for a village center at Rolling Greens Golf Course on Ten Rod Road, called “The Preserve at Rolling Greens,” could offer the area some identity.

With its rezoning on Friday night, the Town Council rezoned the Rolling Greens area from residential to CVD, allowing developers to apply for The Preserve at Rolling Greens. The . In the council’s rezoning vote, they moved to allow anywhere between 24,000 and 40,000 sq. ft. of commercial space at The Preserve.

Since its first public information meeting back in December 2010, the Rolling Greens project has come under heavy fire from neighboring residents who oppose additional commercial in the area (even attract business away from the failing Post Road Corridor) and feel the development would ruin the aesthetics of the rural gateway. Neighbors also cited the project would bring additional traffic to the area.

Residents came out in droves to oppose the project and called on town officials to seek public input before jumping forward with the plan. The town acquiesced and formed a stakeholder group tasked with creating a vision for the Route 2/102 intersection in question. The group was made up of a mixture of residents, business owners (including Hawkins), conservation representatives and others from the community. In their consensus, the group felt the parcels of Rolling Greens, Corner Tavern and Bald Hill should be rezoned CVD.

The council, with a positive recommendation from the planning commission, rezoned the areas as recommended with a few alterations. While Rolling Greens went from residential to CVD, the other two changed from general business to CVD. Under former zoning, developers could have built up to 50,000 sq. ft. of commercial on that land. Now, it is capped at a 15,000 sq. ft. footprint – though it could increase if developers were to build a second floor.

According to Planning Director Jon Reiner, the changes make the area more compatible with the gateway South County with development in the area and also allows for more control and direction from the planning commission. According to Reiner, the parcel is about the size of the Stop & Shop plaza just down the road.

“You could have fit the same intensity of development on that one piece of land under the old zoning,” said Reiner.

But, not all parties are convinced. At its Thursday night meeting, the council heard from Jennifer Reay – daughter of Corner Tavern’s owners. Her family has owned the business since 1977 and the new zoning change came as a surprise to the business.

“It seems unfair to us that the property, which has been zoned general business for 35 years, should be suddenly changed because of a vision of someone who is not at the property owner,” said Reay.

Straight Talker December 12, 2012 at 04:51 PM
@MeanE Reynolds Farm was already approved in November 2011. The major difference is Reynolds Farm adds mostly residential units to a commercial district. What business is going to complain about excess traffic or looking at the back of someone’s residence? Rolling Greens rezoned 130 acres of residential property (rural open space), to establish a new commercial center in a populated bedroom community outside the Urban Service Boundary. The sewer project starts at Reynolds Farm alleviating ground water issues. Building in the center of town infrastructure is the opposite of sprawl. But it was brought up numerous times at town meetings that for some reason there were no fiscal concerns about school kids when approving the 574 residential units at Reynolds Farm, so why would single family homes at Rolling Greens be so devastating? And if so important, then why was the 55 age restriction not required for either of these projects?
jeff December 12, 2012 at 05:37 PM
Reynolds Farms' density is permitted by the Post Road Zoning -- i.e., that project did not require a zoning change or a comp. plan change The Town, years ago, established zoning for Post Road seeking to steer development/density to the Post Road District. So there really was not a 'place' for people to oppose Reynolds Farm, which is virtually all permitted as of right. Rolling Greens, on the other hand, required both a zone change and a comp. plan change, which gave an appropriate place for people to voice their opposition or support.
Politics Sheriff of NK December 12, 2012 at 07:18 PM
Eric, Patch is losing money. 70% of ad buyers dont renew after one cycle. Staff is leaving. There are reports of credibility issues probably due to the young kids they hire at cut rates, and then overwork. Bottom line, it is very expensive to run, and not enough paying customers. Not even close. Dont buy the company propaganda, google the issue and you will see that the hill is almost certainly just too steep to climb. Do you see any pulitzer prize winning expose work here? NOPE. Investigative journalism? NOPE. What we have is a community web site that costs north of ten thousand a month to run and no solid way to pay for it. This is NOT journalism, its reporting. The coolest feature is its bidirectionality. Readers can comment, and the posting writers can update. But there is no money in that. I like this web site and I would regret not having it. But the model does not work financially. In fact, I would like PBS to buy all the Patches and have this be taxpayer funded like many news outlets in Europe. There would need to be an editorial board to professionalize it of course, but that would be a great approach. Unfortunately, our society would object which is self-defeating. I predict that Patch will try the new format they are rolling out, it still wont make money, and it will be toast.
OrangesPoranges December 13, 2012 at 06:53 PM
All this talk of single family housing development, the net burden on the school system, 55+ housing has me thinking: instead of fighting about it, why doesn't this town create an incentive to attract homebuyers who are past the family-rearing stage? Make it a bit more tax-friendly for these folks -- say knock a third off the property tax rate. They'd still be contributing significant support to the school system without actually using it, and being residents of the town, would still shop and hopefully work locally. Say you're a couple living in East Greenwich, paying high property taxes, and your kids are done with school. Wouldn't it be attractive to move next door to NK, live in a community that is just as nice (I think nicer) and pay less property tax? In business, we call that pricing.
ru4real December 14, 2012 at 01:03 AM
@ OrangesPoranges The tax rate in EG is 17.49/thousand. In Nk it is 17.26/thousand. 2011/2012 data. I doubt that .23 cents makes a difference. NK has a lot of negs Which EG does not. We have received mutiple black eyes over the years with the SC and TC bs and bad press. NK has an anti-business reputation and little has been done to curb that opinion. The latest stick it to you antics by the TC and PC has not curbed any of that sentiment. As long as the people of NK are unwilling to curb the incestuous relations of its commissions and boards, with the TC, the town will continue its downward spiral. Your taxes will continue to go up in support of all the riff-raff that this and the preceding TC has brought into town. Don't hold your breath for any type of outside the box thinking that might improve the situation. That avenue would only derail the insider deals that the taxpayers sanctioned on Nov 6th.

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