Letter: Severe environmental concerns surround Robin Rug project

Posted 1/27/22

To the editor:We are writing today to express concerns surrounding the proposed Robin Rug development project on Thames Street.As abutters to the mill, we have always known that there was potential …

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Letter: Severe environmental concerns surround Robin Rug project

Posted

To the editor:

We are writing today to express concerns surrounding the proposed Robin Rug development project on Thames Street.

As abutters to the mill, we have always known that there was potential for future development at the site. In 2008, when a different project was proposed to the mill, we supported that proposal, as it focused on mixed-use development (both apartments and shops) and we saw it as being an asset to the town.

Unfortunately, things have changed greatly since the last proposal, including:

  • A new developer is now looking at 151 apartments (as opposed to 98 units proposed in 2008)
  • Additional parking areas, both under the building and across the street for 300 cars


We urge all residents to tune into the conversation about this proposed development and the potential impacts on the town. Specifically, we are concerned about the environmental impacts of this particular project, as well as the costs that the town will incur as a result.

From an environmental standpoint, emissions from 300 additional cars is a major issue. This proposal is at odds with the town’s desire to lessen traffic congestion and encourage more bike and pedestrian traffic through the expansion of the popular bike lanes. We are also concerned that the proposed parking will eliminate much-needed parking for commuters utilizing the Prudence Island Ferry as well as local businesses.

Additionally, we have not heard enough about the developer’s plans to mitigate pollution, such as air quality and flooding issues, during and after construction. Situated directly on our beautiful harbor, with sea levels rising, flooding of the first floor is likely, and could create environmental issues for the harbor as evidenced by just a few incidents listed below.

The current proposed developer has been cited by state and federal agencies for several environmental hazards. In 2016, the developer was fined by the Environmental Protection Agency for illegally dumping contaminated soil, illegally transporting lead and asbestos from one property to another, violation of lead paint laws exposing tenants to toxic dust.. In 2018, a lawsuit was filed against the developer from tenants seeking damages for health issues related to black mold in their apartments. These are just a few of the violations by the developer.

We urge the town to do their due diligence and concerned citizens to reach out to town officials. We will continue to support a safe redevelopment of Robin Rug with no changes to zoning of
lots on Thames Street and the original proposal for 98 units with strict environmental enforcement.

Jim & Jane Lavender
50 Thames Street
Bristol

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