Smithfield residents should consider Sand Trace carefully

Smithfield residents should consider Sand Trace carefully

Smithfield residents have yet to realize the many possible damaging effects from our Planning Board’s approval of the first of three phases of the Sand Trace master plan for 180 condos in three or so years. This site, the size of five or six WalMarts, has a 1 foot water table in some spots, on a slope with retention ponds that may not hold the stormwater runoff from almost 4 acres of roofs and miles of asphalt, ruining Stillwater Reservoir’s water quality.

Our Board has to consider this and unaddressed public safety hazards, like how our middle and high school students will have to dodge heavy construction vehicles on roads without sidewalks, especially with snowbanks in winter months. God help the kids walking along the curb at the Mac’s Liquors shopping strip as anxious drivers short cut through their lot to avoid a new traffic light there. Backups from the light could trap drivers backing out of driveways, on a blind corner.

We can avoid school overcrowding and the need to build more if we plan better, without such urban density, by looking at successful low- to moderate-income plans by other Rhode Island towns.

To characterize this plan as a minimal impact on enrollments doesn’t consider all the three- to four-bed resales likely, as Smithfield downsizes each year, to 1/3 or even half of these units, in 32 neighborhoods. “This isn’t like Autumn Run (1,180 feet of living area) ... but 40 1,800 foot units being financed for families with RHIMFC” said Board member Catherine Lynn.

In an economic downturn, could these two-car garage, four-car driveway walkouts become in-laws for extended families?

Supplying The Sand Trace water from the Greenville system is another question. If Providence Water Supply is sold, will we get to buy enough, especially during droughts, to afford fire fighting with sufficient pressure?

Some improvements such as the Burlingame Road storage tank have been made to comply with required schedules, but nowhere have we seen what it would take to rebuild our many miles of 12-inch pipes to correctly accommodate all this rapid urban growth.

Input on these and so many other issues to the Board’s H-25 subcommittee on impacts and “What If’s” is needed, so if you are interested as a resident, add your voice at Planning Board public comment this year.

Cynthia and Thomas Mulvey