Developer proposes gas station/convenience store on former Beef Barn property

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NORTH SMITHFIELD – A highly visible property that’s been vacant since Beef Barn Restaurant moved to Industrial Drive could see construction of a convenience store and gas station if a project discussed before the Planning Board last week moves forward.

Potential purchaser Robert Fadel hopes to build an eight pump gas station featuring a store and a drive through on the 1 acre lot at 3 Greenville Road. The project is in the very early stages, with a group seeking feedback from planners on a draft design at a meeting on Thursday, Oct. 26.

“What we wanted to do is really put it in front of the board this evening and sort of get some feedback and thoughts before we delve into master planning,” said an attorney speaking on behalf of the developer, Elizabeth Noonan of Providence-based Adler, Pollock & Sheehan.

Current plans envision a 3,550-square-foot convenience store and gasoline station with a drive-through window and a 15-space parking lot.

The property is owned by Greenville Road Development, a real estate holding company started by the Valleire family of North Smithfield. It was once the location of two poular restaurants in town: The Beef Barn and Coffee & Cream. The building holding Coffee & Cream was destroyed in a fire in 2017 and was demolished, with that restaurant ultimately reopening in Slatersville Plaza.

Beef Barn owner Marc Branchaud, meanwhile, constructed a replica of his barn-style restaurant on the former Homestead Gardens property. In July of last year, the original building came down, leaving behind a paved, empty lot at the busy intersection.

“It’s pretty much all asphalt from Smithfield to Greenville Road,” said Philip Henry of Civil Design Group, LLC, also appearing on behalf of Fadel, who owns several gas stations in neighboring Massachusetts.

Noonan said the team has been in discussions with Town Planner Marc Carrulo for the past year looking at potential designs.

The project will require planning approval, as well as a special use permit to build a gas station in a Business Highway zone and multiple dimensional variances from the Zoning Board.

On Thursday, planners cited issues for the group to keep in mind as plans move forward.

“One in particular consistent concern that I’ve heard from people abutting such endeavors is the brightness of the lights and how that impacts their home environment,” said Planner Cynthia Roberts.

Roberts also pointed to abundance of impervious surface in the area. CT Gas occupies the property immediately across Greenville Road and across Smithfield Road, properties over the town line in Woonsocket include a small shopping center and a storage facility now under construction.

“It’s a lot of commercial,” said Roberts. “I would be very interested in how that environment can be softened and greened.”

Board members also cited traffic concerns at the early discussion, with Planner Jeffrey Porter noting the proposed exit is situated close to the traffic light.

“It was always difficult to get off and on that site,” Porter said.

More detailed design plans are expected back before the board in the coming months.

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14 COMMENTS

  1. The corner will become a nightmare for traffic. A gas station across from another gas station shows there is real planning. All that does is spread out where people will purchase their gas.

  2. You don’t want this development. What does make sense ?? You want to add more restrictions to business with the water overlay proposal. You don’t want the police station Because it’s too expensive. Now you have a potential business, wanting to build and develop in town to help offset the tax burden to the homeowner, and you don’t want that. What do you want?

    Let me guess you’d like to turn North Smithfield into a “snow globe” wrapped in a bubble and have all visitors and viewers put a quarter in to listen to the nice tune and generate revenue???

    I’ve never seen a group of people who are anti “everything” !!!

    • I want variety, 5 gas stations on the same road within 3 miles of eachother is not variety. I’d like for a diner to be set up there, have it be from an actual dining car with an extension for more indoor seating. I’d also accept a credit union for there. Just something different.

    • There is literally a gas station and convenience store right across the street from this proposed gas station and convenience store. You go straight through towards Park Square, and there’s a gas station on 146A less than half a mile away. You hook a left at that intersection onto Providence St, and head towards South Main – there’s a Cumberland farms gas station and convenience store less than a mile away. Drive to Park Ave and there’s two more gas stations in less than a mile from this proposed station.

      There’s 5 gas stations already within a 1 mile radius of that location.

      It’s a stupid plan.

      • By that logic, Chipotle and Starbucks should be shot down seeing there is multiple Dunkin’s, McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s and Subway on Eddie Dowling Highway.

        Or maybe, just maybe, developers perform “traffic studies” and want to be where the traffic is???

        Probably makes more sense to leave this an empty lot and suggest they look to put the gas station on black plain road.

        For those of us in the common sense world, looking for new business in the right places, this is a great plan; especially to help increase the commercial tax base.

        Don’t forget, competition and choice is better for the consumer in terms of the owner driving down price!!

        • Chipotle, Starbucks, etc.. whatever offer a different product compared to Dunkin, McDonalds and Burgerking. Gas is gas. There is nothing this gas station & convenience store will offer that every other gas station & convenience store doesn’t already.

          There are 5 gas stations in less than a mile, with some less than half a mile. It’s already a ridiculously “gas competitive” area, and the prices will not go any lower.

          Instead of one low-to-moderately busy gas station at the intersection, you’re going to end up with two barely profitable gas stations.

          So no, the answer is not to tell them to put their gas station somewhere else – it’s to not build a gas station at all. Build something else.

    • Harry, did you have your coffee yet? You need to get educated on the Aquifer overlay. Do you know what an Aquifer is? So don’t even go there. If you want to spar on that cause, my gloves are down. Chipotle and Starbucks is a great asset to that area where it’s been vacant for a long time. I’m not against Mr. Fadel’s plan, I agree with Mr. Porter and that it’s always been a headache to to in and out of that spot. Whoever has been to Beef Barn KNOW the headaches of getting in and out. You MAY have someone nice to let you out. PS: There are LESS restrictions on the new Waterlay ordinances AND guess what? It’s driven by RI DEM. So Harry, please have your coffee, read ordinance 6.19 revised; suggest a good way of handling in and out of Great Rd and Greenville Road. By the way, attend a meeting tonight for the Water Ordinance Review Commiittee and get educated.

      • I’m not sure what your point is. Traffic or water or what? But I get that an appointed town board of volunteers probably knows much more than DEM……

        • Wow, my point is you’re complaining louder than people making suggestions. My POINT was that you attacked the water overlay ordinance, when in fact I never saw you at any meetings. They did speak to DEM, DOH, EPA several times on this ordinance, and they HELPED us write it. I’m just flabbergasted on how uneducated some residents are. The board learned that many of the businesses ARE complying over the overlay zone, but what about the few that want to go against the laws of NS? IT’S THE RESIDENTS that need education on not polluting our waters. The State hasn’t ever begun mentioning PFAS. FYI-The board eliminated the section, that was there for over 20 years, that the Businesses not allowed in some areas are now allowed So you are just barking, again with no suggestions. I always had my doubts about that spot. This gentlemen is asking before he even buys or leases it. The plan is the first concept. Did you go to the planning board meeting? TC Meeting? or just your peeps telling you a lot of speculation?

            • Not one person, commenting on what should go to there expressed concerns about quality of water or concerns for safety of residents. Instead it was “I want a bank, I want a diner, a gas station is stupid” – blah blah blah.

              The role of government is not to foster business nor stifle business. End of story – period.

              If he leases the land and is in compliance with the water regulations than so be it. We need the expanded tax base.

              What we don’t need is members of appointed boards saying “the lights are too bright” and grasping at straws to derail.

              I appreciate your passion about our quality of water and ensuring it “flows” through NS. I genuinely do. How come your expert board isn’t looking into the chemicals that Goodwins farm & Wrights (corn fields all over town) are putting into the ground. Perhaps the roundup and other pesticides are loaded with PFAS and other chemicals that are contaminating our wells and aquifers.

              There are many negative people who complain about everything and anything.

              Last I checked there wasn’t a line of new business trying to break into NS to expand their business!!!

              No need to be rude “Gabby” lol

              • There are people who complain that do nothing and people who see what’s happening and do something. There hasn’t been “a line of businesses try to break in”. I SO agree with that!! What happened to the Chamber of Commerce? Didn’t NS have a goal for Branch Village? There’s a lot of things that ARE being looked into. No rudeness needed….Harry..lol

  3. I cannot even envision the nightmare that an eight pump gas station, convenience store and a drive through will cause in this already overly congested area. Within a two mile radius, we will have the Stop and Shop Station, the Season’s Station, this new station and the one directly across the street. I know that we seem desperate for development, but is this really in the best interest of our community?

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