No. Smithfield Town Council to consider new comprehensive plan

No. Smithfield Town Council to consider new comprehensive plan

Branch Village, Whortleberry Hill targeted for commercial development

NORTH SMITHFIELD – The Town Council will take up the town’s new comprehensive plan next week, considering a draft of the document mapping the town’s development and land use goals for the next 10 to 20 years for a possible vote at Monday’s meeting.

It’s been 12 years since North Smithfield adopted its current comprehensive plan in 2006, and much has changed since then. Housing options and commercial development have expanded and officials embarked on new projects to repair or replace aging town buildings and infrastructure. Land use continues to be a topic of debate among residents as new housing developments and renewable energy projects come forward for consideration.

The new comprehensive plan, drafted by Planning Board members along with Town Planner Tom Kravitz and Assistant Planner Roberta Moneghan over several years, provides a guide for approaching future growth along with a set of listed goals and proposed zoning changes.

One of these goals is the expansion of the town’s commercial tax base, primarily through expansion of business development along the Route 146 corridor. The plan targets Branch Village and Route 146 near the Sayles Hill Road intersection for additional business growth, proposing the expansion of sewer lines down Route146 to help these goals. The plan also calls for consideration of development possibilities if the congestion-causing Sayles Hill Road light were eliminated, a subject town officials have broached with the Rhode Island Department of Transportation.

For Branch Village, town officials have another route-altering expansion in mind. According to Town Administrator Gary Ezovski, the intersection of Pound Hill Road and Route 146 is currently undergoing a traffic study to see if it would be a suitable access point for a “new front door” to the business park off Great Road in the Branch Village area. If constructed, Ezovski believes the road could open up more land for development without creating additional commercial traffic on Route146A.

“I believe it’s the only reason that that land hasn’t been developed yet,” he said. “We have water, sewer, gas, power, web access and all reasonable quantities and volumes to be able to support many, many business needs.”

Another area targeted for long-term commercial development is Whortleberry Hill, an area between Iron Mine Hill Road and Route 146 that is currently under consideration for a 40-megawatt solar farm. A proposed land use map targets the area for “professional services,” a category that could include a range of business interests, potentially after the solar farm, proposed by Green Development, is decommissioned after a 25-year lifespan.

In addition to targeting areas for commercial development, the plan also identifies parcels targeted for open space, rural residential neighborhoods and farmland, primarily on the western side of town where many of these spaces already exist. The plan also calls for the creation of additional affordable housing and promotion of medium to high density housing on the eastern side of town where sewer and water lines already exist so as to minimize the need for further expansion of infrastructure.

According to Ezovski, the plan provides a set of priorities that attempt to balance maintenance of the town’s rural character with the changing needs of its population. While the plan calls for an expansion of recreational facilities and services and takes into account potential school enrollment changes, Ezovski pointed out these services have costs that must be offset by tax revenue.

“There should be widespread interest in this if we’re interested in some of these long-term priorities, and for me, a big part of that is the financial picture,” he said.

While approval of the plan does not automatically enact any zoning changes or policy initiatives, the document is intended to serve as a guide for the next decade or two, the minimum amount of time before state law requires the town to approve a new comprehensive plan.

Residents can view the plan draft in its entirety, along with maps of proposed land use and zoning changes, on the Planning Department page of the town website. Public comment will be taken during the meeting next Monday, Oct. 15, at 6:45 p.m. at North Smithfield Middle School, 1850 Providence Pike.


Just providing the url for the page on the Planning Department page for ease of access:

Highlight it and select "go to"

Please do not allow this present Town Council to make any more decisions of any importance until after the elections next month!

It really doesn't matter since it will basically be the same Council. Actually will be worse since the only voice of reason, Mr. McGee, is leaving!!!

You dont have to vote for anyone on the town council right now, we have a write in candidate & Douglas Osser you can vote for. Just because there are 5 members doesn’t mean you have to vote for 5. Send a message & only vote for those you actually want.

Please write in the following candidates for Town Council. I am sure they will do a much better job than what we have right now.

Write-ins ...

For Town Council:

Mickey Mouse
Minnie Mouse

For Town Administrator:

Donald Duck

Make sure you all get out to vote in 2 weeks. Just remember, this is your Town ...

Just make sure you don't answer your door to those handing out chocolate covered strawberries while wearing their new Nike's!