NETS expansion gets the final go-ahead from N.S. Planning Board, with second project on the horizon

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NORTH SMITHFIELD – An Industrial Drive business that provides services for commercial trucks has received final approval to construct a new building to house their auto body and paint operations, marking what will likely be just the first step in the company’s ongoing expansion.

New England Truck Solutions first presented a plan in June to construct a 9,000-square-foot shop to supplement the business’s existing truck repair facility, and received final Planning Board approval for the project last week. The new building, with three bays for vehicles, will replace a temporary, 3,420-square-foot Quonset hut used since 2009 to provide space for growing operations, which will be demolished.

“Business is expanding rapidly,” said Joe Casali, project engineer, speaking on behalf of CEO Jason Jarvis at a meeting on Thursday, Dec. 14. “He’s expanded, so a lot of what he ends up doing now, it’s more than just retrofitting these trucks for specific uses. Now its turned into the decals, and the painting, and so forth and so on – and that’s where they’re trying to consolidate all of that into one.”

The building will be added to NETS’s 4.25-acre site at 125 Industrial Drive, where the business employs 17 people from North Smithfield, according to reports.

Some residents from the nearby Laurelwood Condominium Community questioned if the expansion will lead to additional nuisance for neighbors.

“Can we expect three times the business and operational noise from this business than what currently exists?” asked resident Mark London.

Casali responded that activity will mimic existing operations.

“What’s happening is, a lot of the stuff is happening outside, and we want to formalize it inside,” he said. “You can say confidently that it’s not going to exacerbate the situation. It’s going to be the same that it is today. The three bays will help us centralize our decal and painting operations so they’re all indoors.”

“It’s an industrial/manufacturing zone,” added Casali. “That’s what you expect there.”

Planner Marc Carrulo pointed out that the company’s current use of the property is allowed by right, and that the project was only before planning because town code requires any new construction over 5,000-square-feet to be presented before the board.

“I would have to say that they meet the letter of the law,” said Carrulo. “They’ve complied with every standard in the zoning and planning regulations and they have their state permits.”

Relocated to North Smithfield from Pawtucket in 2005, the business is one of the largest of its kind in the state. Casali noted that Jarvis, a 49-year-old Slatersville resident, first started with somewhat humble beginnings – by washing trucks. Now, NETS sells new and used medium-duty trucks, and offers truck painting, graphics, a body shop and trailer repair, plus parts and service. It also serves as a dealer of Toyota-owned Hino Trucks.

“I think it’s a great story,” Casali said. “He’s a local kid who started a small business. Look at what it’s come to. I’m fascinated with these types of stories.”

“He’s got to go somewhere, said Casali. “He doesn’t have the room and he certainly seems to have the demand. It’s great.”

The engineer said the current project will not necessarily lead to hiring of more employees, but more growth is on the horizon. The business purchased a neighboring two acre property previously owned by R & R Machine last April for $1.3 million.

“We do plan on expanding, and expanding within this community,” Casali said. “Possibly, you’ll see us back with the new site.”

The preliminary master plan was unanimously approved, with final approval to be granted administratively.

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1 COMMENT

  1. Maybe North Smithfield town council should take a walk in the woods on the old Comstock Road behind behind their existing site and look at the immense amount of garbage and trash NETS has been throwing into the woods? Broken parts, empty containers, a laughably high number of nips and beer cans. All just haphazardly thrown into the woods after their employees enjoy their liquid lunch.

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