Cedar Forest Estates nears finish line for Latham Farm Road development

Cedar Forest Estates nears finish line for Latham Farm Road development

Down Latham Farm Road in Wionkheige Valley Estates, deep into the wooded residential community, is a small street called Cedar Forest Road. Both sides of this road are slated for development – the left side will have an additional nine single family homes built by Burlingame Estates and the right side, pictured here, will welcome seven new homes if Cedar Forest Estates has its preliminary plan approved later this month.
A public hearing is scheduled for Aug. 17

SMITHFIELD – The Wionkheige Valley Estates neighborhood of Smithfield, off Farnum Pike, may soon be welcoming another development.

After more than a decade of uncertainty, representatives for Cedar Forest Estates are close to building seven single-family homes on 26 acres of land in the quiet neighborhood, pending an Aug. 17 public hearing and a soil and erosion permit.

Town Hall has conceptual plans for the project dating back to 2000, but Town Planner Michael Phillips said, “It’s really been on hold because of the economy.”

The project has weathered two major stock market crashes, changes in leadership, town official turnover and the permit re-application process.

In the meantime, Burlingame Estates has begun building a nine-lot cul-de-sac on the other end of Cedar Forest Road within the Wionkheige community.

If the development plan is approved, Cedar Forest Estates will set up shop at the other end of that road and build a seven-lot single-family home subdivision.

Phillips said construction on the site will not disrupt “potential archaeological features” or stone mounds, similar to those found in neighboring communities. Phillips said that though the town is unsure of the exact history of these structures, the development company has decided to leave the land around them undisturbed.

Cedar Forest Estates also obtained a permit to alter freshwater wetlands, of which there is little on the proposed site, from the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management in 2010.

A road restoration plan has also been drafted to extend Cedar Forest Drive by 720 feet.

A preliminary plan for the development also includes the use of catch basins, pipes, and an extended detention pond.

The land slated for development can take advantage of existing sewer lines already connected to area homes.

“The major components of the project are already approved,” Phillips said.

The current area of the project is zoned R-80, meaning a low density residential district. If the development goes through, the neighborhood will have to be rezoned R-Med, meant for medium to low density residential use.

Requests for comment from Cedar Forest Estates and Commonwealth Engineers & Consultants Inc. were not returned.

A pubic hearing on the development will be held Aug. 17 on the second floor of Smithfield Town Hall, starting at 7 p.m.