O’Reilly Auto Parts’ plan for Portsmouth continued to May 18

Developer wants time to develop landscaping plan

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PORTSMOUTH — A hearing on a plan to build an O’Reilly Auto Parts next to the Dollar General on East Main Road was continued to May 18 by the Zoning Board of Review Thursday night.

The continuance was granted unanimously on the request of David Martland, an attorney representing Portsmouth RI Commercial, LLC, which wants more time to develop a landscaping plan.

Portsmouth RI Commercial, LLC wants to build a 7,250-square-foot store just north of Sprague Street. To do so, it needs an amendment to a 2015 special-use permit it received from the zoning board to build a Dollar General Store along with a 6,000-square-foot building that was originally intended for a bank and restaurant on 2.9 acres of land.

The developer, Gary Eucalitto, of Torrington, Conn., now wants to add 1,250 square feet to the second building but use it for one purpose only — an O’Reilly Auto Parts store. 

The Missouri-based chain, founded in 1957, has nearly 5,000 locations nationwide. It’s nearest shops are in Fall River, Warwick, Coventry and Providence.

On April 12, the Planning Board voted 5-1 to issue a favorable advisory opinion to the zoning board after reviewing the developer’s plan. 

At that meeting, several abutters raised concerns about the building’s aesthetics, light pollution, stormwater runoff and other issues. Some of those abutters said nationally known chain stores such as Dollar General and O’Reilly Auto Parts don’t belong in Portsmouth.

Planning Board members countered that the developer has the right to build on commercially zoned property as long as he meets zoning regulations.

ALT community center

Another petition on the zoning board’s Thursday agenda was also continued to the May 18 meeting.

Aquidneck Land Trust (ALT) wants to operate a private non-profit community center supporting the applicant’s associated conservation lands. The center would be located on Spruce Acres Farms, a 23.8-acre parcel straddling Portsmouth and Middletown that the Trust is hoping to acquire for conservation purposes. 

The property, consisting of two parcels — 14.5 acres in Portsmouth and 9.3 acres in Middletown — is currently owned by John and Loran Deveau. 

ALT is seeking a dimensional variance for minimum lot frontage as well as a special-use permit to operate the community center.

Mr. Martland, also representing ALT, said he requested the continuance because the plan has raised concerns over traffic issues, and he wanted more time to bring in a traffic expert who will offer the board testimony.

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