Marshall withdraws zoning petition for Metacomet property

Developer likely remains interested in purchasing golf course

By Mike Rego
Posted 9/25/20

EAST PROVIDENCE — In a somewhat surprising move, Marshall Properties LLC has rescinded its request to rezone the Metacomet Golf Club off Veterans Memorial Parkway.

The company made the …

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Marshall withdraws zoning petition for Metacomet property

Developer likely remains interested in purchasing golf course

Posted

EAST PROVIDENCE — In a somewhat surprising move, Marshall Properties LLC has rescinded its request to rezone the Metacomet Golf Club off Veterans Memorial Parkway.

The company made the decision Friday morning, Sept. 25, and just hours before the City Council was scheduled to host another public hearing on the matter when the body was also expected to vote on Marshall's request.

The company was seeking to have the designation of the 138-acre parcel changed from one of open space to mixed use and also have oversight of the project be transferred from the city to the East Providence Waterfront Commission.

In other media reports Friday, Marshall, as it has maintained through most of the process since it began in April of this year, indicated it intended to go forward with purchase of the property regardless.

At a community meeting hosted by the company last week, Marshall and its representatives offered up two visions of the 100-year-old golf course.

One with the zone change would include commercial and residential units, large buffers between existing neighbors and a significant amount of publicly accessed open space.

The other, which the developer and its counsel say it can construct per current zoning ordinances, would maintain the property as private and predominantly commercial with limited buffering only as required at the present.

The City Council meeting planned to discuss the matter Friday evening, Sept. 25, at 6 p.m. in the East Providence High School auditorium can also be live streamed at https://clerkshq.com/EastProvidence-ri.

Marshall, through True North Communications, issued the following statement just before noon Friday:

"This morning Marshall Development transmitted a letter to the East Providence City Council President and the City Clerk notifying them they have formally withdrawn their petition for a zone change and amendment to the East Providence Comprehensive Plan.   

"The Metacomet Golf Club, through no fault of Marshall Development, is closing. Marshall Development will be acquiring and redeveloping the property.  While redevelopment under current zoning is acceptable to Marshall Development, they wanted to work with the community to create a vibrant work-live-play development on a portion of the property, in addition to creating the largest public open space in the City of the East Providence on the remainder of the property. Marshall Development viewed this as a true win-win for all stakeholders.  The developer would have been granted the ability to construct a more dynamic development, while the community would gain a substantial economic driver and be provided with the right to preserve and use much of the property as public open space for generations.

"Marshall Development tried tirelessly to facilitate a constructive dialogue with the community on the benefits of redeveloping Metacomet in accordance with this vision - which would keep over 50% of the property green and accessible to the public. Despite great efforts to stimulate a productive discussion, there was very little constructive dialogue. Instead, rumor and misinformation ruled the day.

"The immediate abutters of the property and surrounding neighborhood want things to stay as they are without considering the rights or positions of private property owners or the adverse impacts of foregoing such a significant economic driver – this is not realistic or attainable. Neither party at this juncture has achieved their desired outcome. Compromise is simply impossible if only one party is willing to keep an open mind.

"At this time it is in the best interest of everyone for Marshall Development to withdraw the petition for rezoning before the Council and focus on its development of the Property under current zoning.  The Marshall’s thank the members of the Council, Mayor DaSilva, and city staff for the time they have spent reviewing their proposal, and are truly saddened that a productive dialogue did not occur."

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Mike Rego

Mike Rego has worked at East Bay Newspapers since 2001, helping the company launch The Westport Shorelines. He soon after became a Sports Editor, spending the next 10-plus years in that role before taking over as editor of The East Providence Post in February of 2012. To contact Mike about The Post or to submit information, suggest story ideas or photo opportunities, etc. in East Providence, email mrego@eastbaymediagroup.com.