NORTH SMITHFIELD – A project many years in the making – marking the final piece to the massive, decade-long development at Dowling Village – received a final needed approval from the Planning Board last week, with construction of 30 condo units now set to move forward.
Old Louisquisset Condos will consist of two-bedroom units, including six dedicated to low to moderate income housing, on three lots totaling 5.98 acres near the front of the commercial/residential development by Eddie Dowling Highway.
Developer Brian Bucci first received master plan approval for a smaller, 21-unit project at the location in 2019. But progress on the project was held up during the pandemic, and last year, Bucci’s team returned before planners with an expanded version that encompassed an additional, recently-purchased lot.
The proposed three-story structure made a final appearance before the board Thursday, April 14, with Attorney John Mancini noting that small amendments, such as buffering, had been made to obtain permits from the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management. Six of the 30 units mark the 20 percent threshold, meeting the town’s affordable housing requirement.
“They’re going to be more enticing for a family who maybe wants to take advantage of the North Smithfield School system, who wants to take advantage of the amenities at Dowling Village and can’t afford to buy a house in North Smithfield,” Mancini said.
The building will have a 61-space parking lot, and planned walking paths will provide access to the nearby shops, as well as the roadway.
Planner Jeffrey Porter asked why an accompanying fiscal impact study anticipated that only two students would live in the building.
“How can we accurately make sure you have the right number of people?” Porter asked.
Town Solicitor David Izliozzi said the analysis is typically based upon prior data from similar developments.
“These type of condo type units normally don’t attract families,” Igliozzi said. “They just don’t.”
“They’re more conducive for start up professionals or empty nesters,” agreed Mancini, noting that the units will be relatively small, each featuring only a single bathroom.
A new traffic study presented this week laid out no major issues, and the latest amendments show dark sky compliant lighting in the parking lot.
Conditions of the approval include installation of speed limit signs, and approval of an easement by National Grid.
Mancini asked that any final approvals for the project be completed administratively, a request also granted unanimously last week by planners in a separate vote.
The detailed 14-page plan designed by DiPrete Engineering for BB/WW Properties, LLC can be found here.