Housing planned for former Warren church parking lot

Seven new buildings comprising 16 living and commercial units would be built on parking lots once associated with St. Jean Baptiste church.

By Ted Hayes
Posted 1/5/21

Two parking lots that once served parishioners of St. Jean Baptiste Church on Main Street could soon be home to seven condominium-style buildings containing 15 dwelling units and one retail space, …

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Housing planned for former Warren church parking lot

Seven new buildings comprising 16 living and commercial units would be built on parking lots once associated with St. Jean Baptiste church.

Posted

Two parking lots that once served parishioners of St. Jean Baptiste Church on Main Street could soon be home to seven condominium-style buildings containing 15 dwelling units and one retail space, under a plan due to be considered by the Warren Planning Board later this month.
HUS Companies has applied for a comprehensive permit to build seven residential/mixed use buildings across two parking lots at 31 Nobert St. and 300 Main St. Both are owned by Michael F. and Carol A. Riley, who purchased them along with the church in 2019.

The project is being proposed under the Rhode Island Low and Moderate Income Housing Act, which offers streamlined approval processes to developers who pledge to set aside a percentage of their housing for those of low and moderate income. It is one of two affordable housing projects currently under consideration in Warren.

The other, Settlers' Green, would see 120 residential units built on a stretch of farmland on Kinnicutt Avenue. Its recent appearances before the planning board have been met with strong opposition from the public and many questions from the board, but Warren Town Planner Bob Rulli told board members On Dec. 28 that the St. Jean project is "much more in line with what our hopes are for creating affordable housing than the Settlers' Green project."

If approved, four of the St. Jean project's 16 units would be deed-restricted to those of low to moderate income, for 30 years.
Under the plan, 15 of the units would be residential, with one being set aside as a "retail venue," according to the application. Four of the units planned for the Main Street lot have a mixed use component and include gallery space that could be used as an artist loft, or for commercial or residential.

Rhode Island Housing officials confirmed in late November that the project is eligible for inclusion under the state's affordable housing act. Waivers and exceptions that would be needed to complete the project include a special use permit for the mixed-use space, as it lies in a Village Business district. Multi-family dwellings require a special use permit in the R-6 zone, and waivers are needed for exceptions to the minimum lot area and front, rear and side setback provisions of the Warren Zoning ordinance. Those would all be included under the scope of the comprehensive permit.

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