EAST PROVIDENCE — At a special session held Tuesday night, Nov. 25, the East Providence City Council gave its unanimous approval to a zoning overhaul which will allow the East Providence Community & Teachers Credit Union to construct a new branch on a long dormant parcel of land at the intersection of South Broadway and Fort Street.
The 5-0 Council vote clears the way for the EPCTCU to move from its current location on Taunton Avenue to the 40,814 square-foot site of the former Tristam Burgess Elementary School building demolished well over a decade ago.
“The site plan and building design of the future credit union were created in a way that makes the use compatible with the surrounding area,” said Council President Jim Briden. “This has been a good year for economic development in East Providence.”
The vacant parcel had in the past been considered for use as a public park or the site of a proposed new headquarters for East Providence Fire Department Station No. 1. Neither ever gained much traction, however. The EPFD eventually settled on remodeling the existing Station 1 about a quarter-mile up the road on South Broadway, construction which began around this time last year and is nearing an end.
In seeking approval of its plan, the EPCTCU retained the services of Kelley Nickson Morris, a Cumberland-based lawyer who specializes in land use. According the compiled report, the proposed branch building met the “applicable criteria considered in developing the land use plan element are also consistent with introducing a bank into this area as follows:
The land use pattern should maintain land use districts that contain complementary uses, which may include mixed uses
Creating walkable neighborhoods with small-scale neighborhood services and ret ail, thereby lessening the need to drive
Balancing land uses to meet needs and broaden the tax base
Manage traffic volumes to the extent possible by mitigating any potential negative impacts; and
Permit infill development or redevelopment of properties provided they are compatible with adjoining land uses in terms of density and the neighborhood’s predominant character. ”
In addition, the EPCTCU branch would be amenable to the goals set in the city’s five-year comprehensive land development plan, the aim of which is to “ensure that remaining vacant land or redeveloped parcels in the City are use for their maximum benefit to the community, and are of high-quality design and in character with the adjoining parcels and neighborhood.”
Of significance as well, the new bank branch would put a dormant and once unproductive parcel of property onto the city’s tax roll. The property’s estimated value is around $850,000. At the current assessment of $25.21 per $1,000, the additional tax revenue would be around $21,430 annually.
Likewise, the site of the former EPCTCU branch as well as the adjacent former Standard Hardware building, both at a prime location in the center of the city on the busy Taunton Avenue thoroughfare, could be redeveloped in the future.
According to language agreed upon by both the Council and the East Providence Zoning Board, the change of the South Broadway property to a Commercial 2 designation from Residential 6 is contingent upon the parcel being used only to build the new bank branch. In the event the property is not developed into/or used as a bank, the property would revert to its status as Residential 6 property on the city’s official zoning map.