Mark Carruolo

Mark Carruolo is the new town planner for North Smithfield.

NORTH SMITHFIELD – New North Smithfield Town Planner Mark Carruolo said he hopes to use his 37 years of experience in municipal government to help guide the town through future development.

Carruolo started as the town planner in North Smithfield last Tuesday, Nov. 2. He replaced Tom Kravitz, who left to take a position as planner for the city of Warwick in August.

Town Administrator Paul Zwolenski formally announced the appointment during a Town Council meeting last week, pointing out Carruolo’s years of experience working in Warwick and West Warwick.

“He’s highly, highly qualified,” he said. “I think he’s a wonderful addition with a skill set that’s going to impress everybody.”

Carruolo, a native of Warwick, started his career in the Warwick Department of Public Works. He worked his way up through city government, serving 12 years as the planning director. He spent four years as chief of staff to former Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian before retiring from the city in 2014.

He then served seven years as the planning and economic development director in West Warwick, where he worked on such projects as the redevelopment of Arctic Village and the West Valley Inn.

“The opportunity in North Smithfield opened up, and it looked appealing to me to come to a rural community, where I had been working in mostly urban communities in my career. It’s my intention to end my career here in North Smithfield,” he told The Breeze last week.

Carruolo said he expects North Smithfield’s two-person Planning Department to have a more relaxed atmosphere than his job in West Warwick, where he operated as a “one-man shop.”

Among his goals in the new role is helping to expand access and promote economic development along Route 146 near the intersection with Sayles Hill Road, an area town officials have long targeted for improved infrastructure and better traffic flow.

“Looking at it, it does lend itself to a reasonable amount of improvement both functionally and aesthetically,” he said. “If something could be done there to assist the town with its tax base then maintain the other more rural, residential areas in their current state, I think that would be a benefit to the community.”

Carruolo said he also hopes to streamline practices in the Planning Department. In the past, he said, he’s been very transparent with Planning Boards on whether he recommends approving or denying a project and what conditions he hopes to impose.

“I’m kind of more of an advocate coming to the Planning Board and trying to assist them with as much information as possible,” he said.

Carruolo has a bachelor’s degree in urban planning and political science from the University of Rhode Island and a master’s degree in community planning, also from URI. He said the state is facing a shortage of planning and building officials with professional expertise.

Zwolenski said nine people applied for the position and six were interviewed. A committee consisting of Planning Board members, a Personnel Board member and town employees interviewed the six candidates and recommended three to the Planning Board. The Planning Board then identified Carruolo as the top candidate and recommended him to Zwolenski for approval.

The position includes an $85,000 annual salary and benefits.

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