Letter: Council and constituents must work together on Metacomet

Posted 8/19/20

To the editor:

As an elected official for the City of East Providence, it is my duty to fully investigate and do my due diligence regarding any issues that come before the council.  When the …

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Letter: Council and constituents must work together on Metacomet

Posted

To the editor:

As an elected official for the City of East Providence, it is my duty to fully investigate and do my due diligence regarding any issues that come before the council.  When the request for the rezoning of Metacomet came before the council, I began to receive emails from concerned citizens regarding this proposal. I began to speak to city officials and the developers so I could fully understand the proposed development and make an informed decision. 

Based on my research and discussions with all parties involved, I am in favor of the development with restrictions for several reasons.  During my meeting with the developer, I expressed my objection to a hotel being built on the property, discussed the buffer zone (between the development and residential properties) and the need for a traffic study. A traffic study that would go beyond Veterans Memorial Parkway but include Pawtucket Avenue and the Wampanoag Trail is needed. I am against a hotel or motel being built at Metacomet based on the issues and problems we have experienced in Rumford at the Rumford Motor Inn.

It is unfortunate that this is the last season that Metacomet Country Club will be open as a golf course. This is also the second the attempt to revive this struggling course, and it has been proved that Metacomet can no longer survive in this economy.  I do not see a reason for another golf course at this location.

I am not in favor of the city becoming a buyer of this property because the city is in no position financially or otherwise to undertake Metacomet as a municipal property. Furthermore, I have always fought against increasing the tax burden of our residents during budget season. The purchase and management of Metacomet as a golf course, I believe, will result in higher property taxes and water and sewer bills for property owners. 

I understand the concerns of keeping it green, but the reality is, it is a private sale and I don't anticipate another buyer purchasing the property and keeping it green solely for the enjoyment of our residents.  We have 22 parks in our city that are highly utilized by our residents. In fact, the City of East Providence has about 325 acres of public open space or conservation areas within a 10 to 15-minute ride of Metacomet.

Development and attraction of new businesses are the key to alleviating the tax burden of our residents and this can be done in conjunction with maintaining our green and open space. 

The City Council has full authority to adopt very specific requirements and limits on the use of property in the form of an ordinance before this matter is sent to the Waterfront Commission.

In addition, the city council can include unique restrictions on the building sizes and heights which would be permitted in this area and can include and restrict what type of businesses could legally operate within this area.  For example, the council could choose to allow just residential buildings or limit what type of retail/commercial businesses could operate there and assure the residents that a “big box” store will not be part of the development. Additionally, the City Council has the option to keep this out of the Waterfront District and therefore outside of the jurisdiction of the Waterfront Commission. 

My concern is in an event that this development falls through, it opens the door for another developer or this developer to purchase the property and develop the property as currently zoned.  Without applying for rezoning, the property could be utilized as a public or private school, hospital, or even an amusement park without the need of city council approval and no one will have a VOICE.

I believe if the Council works with the residents affected by the rezoning and the Developer, the development of Metacomet could be beneficial for all the parties involved and the entire community of East Providence. 

Robert Britto

Rumford

Ward 1 City Councilman

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