Storage company gets early approval for new three-story building in North Smithfield


NORTH SMITHFIELD – The North Smithfield Planning Board voted unanimously to approve the master plan for a proposed expansion of Storage Rentals of America’s facilities on Eddie Dowling Highway that would see a three-story building constructed on a lot adjacent to the business’s current operations.

The project must still appear before zoning for special use permits for a storage facility in a business highway zone and for approval to build in a Water Protection Overlay District. The proposal must also obtain the needed permits from both the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management and the Rhode Island Department of Transportation.

According to plans submitted by engineers from Kimley Horn & Associates Inc. of behalf of owner Beau Raich, the project will see two adjoining lots owned by the company merged and some buildings demolished before the three-story building can be erected.

“The scope of the work is intended to minimize disturbance to wetland buffers and other sensitive resources on site, while complying with the town zoning ordinance and other local regulations,” noted a letter on the plan.

The expansion will disturb about 1.149 acres of the two combined 13.5 acre lots to make way for creation of a new 61,200-square-foot self storage building at 415 Eddie Dowling Highway.

The MI-based company already offers temperature-controlled storage units of varying sizes in several two-story buildings in North Smithfield just across the highway from Dowling Village, built in 2004 according to town property records. In 2021, SROA’s assets in town totaled $2,853,400, and the business paid taxes of $55,473.

The Planning Board held a public informational meeting on the proposed expansion on Thursday, July 14, and in a decision filed with the town clerk this week, found the project generally consistent with the town’s Comprehensive Plan.

If the expansion gets the final go-ahead, the two lots will be merged via an administrative subdivision, according to developers.

The planning approval includes several conditions, including that the building be “solar ready at a minimum.”

“Solar panels are encouraged,” the decision notes.

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