Letter: Seasons Corner Market is wrong for Tiverton

Posted 5/13/22

To the editor:

On the Tiverton Planning Board agenda for Tuesday, May 17 is the Seasons Corner Market, a 24-hour gas station/convenience store with a drive-up coffee shop window planned for the …

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Letter: Seasons Corner Market is wrong for Tiverton

Posted

To the editor:

On the Tiverton Planning Board agenda for Tuesday, May 17 is the Seasons Corner Market, a 24-hour gas station/convenience store with a drive-up coffee shop window planned for the corner of Souza and Main roads. This is being presented in the form of a "development plan for commercial/industrial development" — and is the same identical plan as what they presented as a "concept plan" to the Planning Board on February 2, 2021.

The minutes from that February meeting over a year ago had members of the board bringing up several key issues:

* 24-hour operation and drive-through traffic in a residential area

* Traffic with two entrances on Main Road and one on Souza, citing turning and safety issues

* Ten to 12 fuel truck deliveries per month

* Violates the Pedestrian-Friendly-Destination Zoning on the Main Road side of the lot; lacks pedestrian amenities

* Proposed design layout violates the approved layout in the Form-Based Code

* Not appropriate function for this location, since abuts residential homes and Town is small-business friendly

* Neighborhood includes Osborn-Bennet National Register Historic District; Article X of Subdivision Regulations requires new development to be compatible with the existing neighborhood

* Additional traffic to an already heavily trafficked intersection would pose a traffic safety issue, N Institute of Traffic Engineer's "Trip Generation Manual" calculates that a facility similar to this would generate several thousand trips per day which would overwhelm the existing roadway infrastructure and create both traffic congestion and accidents

* Single-lane traffic on Main and Souza Roads being queued from the drive-through, similar to what happens at the Dunkin' Donuts in Town

* Density concern: three gas stations, two coffee shops, two convenience stores, and a grocery store within one mile of the property

* The board received several letters of opposition from residents to this project, stating traffic, lighting, pollution, and noise as key deterrents

In this latest plan from Colbea, not only is the site plan of the gas station and store identical to what was submitted over a year ago, but they also added a depiction of the site plan showing how the queuing for the coffee shop drive-through window would go: lining up around the corner of the building, past the entrance from Souza Road, so that anyone who wanted to use that entrance couldn't get in. They also added a depiction of how the fuel trucks would get in: From south on Main Road to the southern-most entrance, along the front of the store, and toward the north side of the property in line with the gas pumps. The two entrance/exits on Main Road across the Pedestrian-Friendly-Destination Zone are still making it not a friendly pedestrian destination.

This latest plan does not address any of these issues the planning board brought up over a year ago. Colbea wants to jam another of their cookie-cutter Seasons Corner Markets (nice name for a 24-hour gas station) into an historic community and neighborhood — within a stone's throw of a National Register District. If you look at their other locations (Fall River, Bristol, and the one they want to put at the roundabout in Newport), they are all on multiple-lane roadways in commercial areas with no abutting residences. So why do they want to put one here on a two-lane road in the midst of an historic neighborhood?

Tiverton has been a Preserve America Community since 2011. Our Comprehensive Plan states throughout to preserve our historic small-town character. We can't preserve it if we allow a 24-hour drive-through gas station in the middle of our historic residential areas.

Susan E. Anderson

Tiverton

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