E.P. Council passes Metacomet ordinances, allowing likely redevelopment

Moves include giving direct oversight of proposals to Waterfront Commission

By Mike Rego
Posted 7/21/21

EAST PROVIDENCE — Pragmatism won out over passion as it pertains to the future of the former Metacomet Country Club after the City Council, at it July 20 meeting, approved a series of revised …

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E.P. Council passes Metacomet ordinances, allowing likely redevelopment

Moves include giving direct oversight of proposals to Waterfront Commission

Posted

EAST PROVIDENCE — Pragmatism won out over passion as it pertains to the future of the former Metacomet Country Club after the City Council, at it July 20 meeting, approved a series of revised ordinances allowing for the 138 acre parcel to be partially developed by owners Marshall Properties LLC.

The vast majority of the marathon session, which lasted over six hours and stretched into the early morning hours of July 21, was spent discussing the hot-button issues.

As has been the case throughout the last 18 months when Marshall first announced its intention to purchase the land from its previous owner and subsequently did so late last year, numerous members of the public, including the community group “Keep Metacomet Green,” were vociferous in their opposition to the plan.

In the end, and with the knowledge that Marshall had “by right” ability to build on the site due to existing zoning of the property, the council eventually voted by a 3-2 margins to grant a zone change as earlier suggested by the Planning Board with several conditions and also allow direct oversight of the development to the auspices of the East Providence Waterfront Commission. The council still retains authority of future zone changes or potential alterations to ordinances in any proposals.

The latter was a bridge too far for Ward 4 Councilor Ricardo Mourato, who has been a vocal critic of the commission. He said before the votes he would have supported the revised ordinances had they not included the Waterfront Commission.

Ward 2 Councilor Anna Sousa, in whose district the property is located, likewise expressed some discontent with handing oversight to the commission, but her main opposition was what she said were still inadequate use and height variances granted in the revised package.

Ward 3 Councilor Nate Cahoon, At-Large member Bob Rodericks and Ward 1 rep/Council President Bob Britto voted to approve the measures.

It should be noted the use schedule passed July 20 included one amendment sought by Mr. Cahoon, the prohibition on the building of a hotel on the site.

Key to the latest Marshall concept for the land is that a portion, about 40 acres, remains as a nine-hole golf course which will be open to the public and to be used without charge by the East Providence High School golf team. Of note, the portion of the property will become deed restricted as "green open space" in perpetuity.

Another 10 acres will be conveyed to the city for use as it sees feet. It abuts another roughly 10 acres Marshall will retain and use as buffer zone for residents on Fort Street.

The remaining developable land, about 60 acres, will be converted into a combination of mixed-use commercial/residential units of various sizes.

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Mike Rego

Mike Rego has worked at East Bay Newspapers since 2001, helping the company launch The Westport Shorelines. He soon after became a Sports Editor, spending the next 10-plus years in that role before taking over as editor of The East Providence Post in February of 2012. To contact Mike about The Post or to submit information, suggest story ideas or photo opportunities, etc. in East Providence, email mrego@eastbaymediagroup.com.