Planned Bank R.I. expansion one of many projects in Lincoln

Planned Bank R.I. expansion one of many projects in Lincoln

Among the developments slated for 2020, Bank Rhode Island hopes to expand its campus on Route 116, near Dunkin’ Donuts. (Breeze photo by Nicole Dotzenrod)

LINCOLN – Town Planner Al Ranaldi says the Planning Board expects to hear from representatives from Bank Rhode Island this month on plans to expand the company operation center on Route 116.

Ranaldi said bank executives are hoping to build a three-story addition on their existing one-story building at 625 George Washington Highway. In total, its footprint would grow to 6,000 square feet, with three stories of office space.

Ranaldi said he expects it to be “a really nice project. They’re investing a lot into it and are hoping to make it a campus,” like Amica but on a smaller scale.

The bank plan is one of numerous projects either ongoing or planned in 2020, including a new Marriott Hotel rising on Route 116 and vacant mill buildings being rehabbed as residential developments in Saylesville.

All told, Ranaldi told The Breeze the town is looking at adding a total of 418 housing units to its stock with all projects going through the planning process.

Residents this week were calling for strong attendance at a meeting later this month to protest what they see as overdevelopment across Lincoln.

Lincoln’s Comprehensive Plan lays out a goal of maintaining 30 percent of open space in town. Despite the increase in development, Ranaldi said the town is closer than ever to that goal, thanks in part to the Whipple-Cullen development, which will add open space to the town’s register.

Ranaldi said 28 percent of Lincoln’s land is currently preserved as active or passive open space. When the comp plan was updated in 2003, only 21.3 percent of the town was designated as open space.

In December, the Planning Board heard from developers concerning a number of projects on deck for 2020.

A second mill conversion project in Saylesville was approved at the final plan level last month, calling for 22 apartment units at 60 Industrial Circle. The developer, Dakota Partners, is currently building 40 apartment units at 90 Industrial Circle.

Phase two of construction on 60 Industrial will begin pending approval of a low-income tax credit through Rhode Island Housing, according to Ranaldi.

Another substantial mill rehab in the Historic Sayles Mill Bleachery complex is expected to pick up speed this year, calling for 128 apartment units at 40 Walker St.

Ranaldi said it’s a complicated project, thanks to the complex layout of the historic site, parking issues and infrastructure concerns.

The developer is working with DiPrete Engineering to address some of those concerns. Listed as Walker Lofts L.P., the developer will need a variety of waivers to move forward, including one to allow for multi-family use and another because they’re 15 parking spots short of the required number.

Of the total 128 units, 25 percent, or 32 apartments, would be deed-restricted as low-income and moderate-income.

The plans call for 99 one-bedroom units, 22 two-bedroom units, and four three-bedroom units. Seven would be handicap accessible.

The so-called Walker Lofts project is up for a public informational hearing on Jan. 22.

The Planning Board also heard from two developers last month for pre-application discussions, which Ranaldi said were intended to bring the board back up to date with the details of the complicated projects.

The first concerned the Whipple-Cullen Farm project at 99 Old River Road across from Lincoln Town Hall, which is moving forward next month at the preliminary plan level.

The board previously denied conceptual plans for the project in 2016, however that decision was overturned last April by the Rhode Island State Housing Board of Appeals.

Ranaldi said the engineering for the project has been the most complex piece of the puzzle, so the town has contracted with Fuss & O’Neill to help Town Engineer Leslie Quish go over the plans.

“It’s a complicated site in that it’s large, contains wetlands and is on a slope,” Ranaldi said.

The other project up for pre-application discussion was Breakneck Hollow. Women’s Development Corp. is planning to build two low-income and moderate-income housing buildings off Breakneck Hill Road for a total of 44 bedrooms.

Ranaldi halted the project in 2018, issuing a certificate of non-completeness to stop it from moving forward to the Planning Board.

At the time, he said the board’s Technical Review Committee had major concerns with traffic, thanks to the site’s proximity to the Route 146 ramp, the overall project density, and a sewage line running through private property at the MacColl YMCA.

Ranaldi said the company addressed most of the committee’s concerns and is prepared to return for the master plan stage this month.