Developer withdraws plan for Marconi Street condos

Developer withdraws plan for Marconi Street condos

NORTH PROVIDENCE – A proposal for a 30-unit condo project in a single-family residential neighborhood on Marconi Street has been withdrawn, said Town Planner David Westcott.

Westcott said the applicant, Country View Holdings and Armand Cortellesso, apparently saw a “whole mess of problems” included in his opinion advising against the Planning Board approving a master plan for 41 Marconi St., withdrawing it prior to a June 12 meeting. The meeting was then canceled.

Among the issues with the project was that there was not enough of a drainage plan for a neighborhood that already has “acute drainage” issues, said Westcott.

The plan for 30 one-bedroom apartments in the neighborhood directly behind Lowe’s Home Improvement at Mineral Spring Avenue and Douglas Avenue was supposed to be heard in May, but was postponed to June 12. Westcott said the project was not in compliance with zoning or subdivision requirements, essentially putting a 30-unit development “at the end of an 800-foot cul-de-sac in a mostly single-family residential zone.”

The planner said he plans to meet with the developer soon and will talk to him about what might be needed to make a development happen, including getting input from neighbors. He said a neighborhood meeting should be held.

The property is zoned residential general, allowing for single-family homes, duplexes or multi-family development as long as it’s compatible with existing development.

“In this case, the applicant has assembled a collection of lots within the ‘Grand Trunk’ Subdivision, a development that is overwhelmingly single-family homes,” Westcott previously told The Breeze.

He was proposing units of 800 square feet apiece, down from 1,000-square-foot, two-bedroom units previously.

The Planning Board denied an application for a 12-unit development on a part of the same property last April, citing inconsistency with the town’s comprehensive plan, non-conformance to the minimum requirements of the Zoning Ordinance, and design features that conflicted with land development regulations.

“At that time, the Planning Board also heard testimony from multiple abutters who objected to the intrusion of high-density condominium development into their predominantly single-family development,” said Westcott.

The Planning Board made a decision last November to advise the Town Council that the rights-of-way of Lombard Street and Tyler Street still provide significant utility for future use as public ways and advised the council against approving the applicant’s request to abandon those streets. The most recent application still proposed to abandon those streets, but the applicant has offered some drainage and access improvements to mitigate some of the impacts of abandonment.

The latest proposal differed from its predecessor because the developer acquired additional properties, bringing the total land area to about 1.5 acres with abandoned streets factored in.

The applicant had offered to provide some affordable housing units as part of the development, which would have been the first such units approved in town in several years, according to Westcott.