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State Law requires comprehensive planning to form a rational basis for the long-term physical development of a municipality and to avoid conflicting requirements and reactive land use regulations and decisions. Nevertheless in reaction to Carpionato's mega-development proposal, the town is now considering changes to the comprehensive plan to permit the proposal to go forward. The changes can be summed up as this: The Carpionato Group is exempted from any and all stipulations in our Comprehensive Plan that would prevent them from building whatever they want wherever they want. In accordance with long standing town precedent, an advisory group made of townspeople has been working on updates to the Comprehensive Plan all summer and yet the Planning Board has so far ignored their input (and in fact, will not meet with them until after the Planning Board votes on the changes). Why! Who do we trust with long range plans for our town?
Carpionato believes the law should apply to everyone, but not them. Read the full text of proposed changes here:
Carpionato’s latest version of their development for the 64-acre parcel bounded by Main, Souza, and Fish Roads, as well as by Route 24, includes 20 buildings built around huge central parking lots that would cover 25 acres in order to accommodate 2,557 cars.
There would be 365,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space dominated at one end by a 100,000 square foot big box store. For comparison, this is similar in size to the decaying Harbour Mall in nearby Fall River, which was once anchored by the now empty 110,000 square foot Walmart store.
Kelly Coates, Carpionato’s chief spokesman for the project, claims that the national chain stores filling this retail space will create the necessary “vivacity” to support the addition of 73,000 square feet of office space, an 85,000 square foot hotel, and 90 luxury apartments, also all overlooking asphalt parking lots. But, as noted on the latest concept plan, those additional components would be “market driven,” which means that in all likelihood they will never get built.
What stores can we expect to see? Since Carpionato has not, and cannot, sign lease agreements with tenants until the development is well under way, we don’t know. Mr. Coates has said, however, that their tenants tend to follow them. Based on the tenants in other Crossings developments, the stores In Tiverton Crossings would be more low-end than high-end. Typical Carpionato tenants include Pay-Less, Dollar Store, Subway, Sleepy’s, Rent-a-Center, Super Cuts, Staples, and Town Fair Tire.
A Mall by Any Other Name
The Carpionato group has renamed their project "Tiverton Glen." A glen is defined as "a small, narrow, secluded valley." By comparison, the definition of mall is a shopping mall. a large retail complex containing a variety of stores and often restaurants and other business establishments housed in a series of connected or adjacent buildings or in a single large building.
Kelly Coates likes to “giggle” at the term mall to describe his proposal, but his development certainly fits the definition of a mall. Judge for yourself.
The Carpionato Group proposes to construct 18 buildings on a massive 64 acre site stretching nearly the entire distance between Fish and Main Roads and bounded north and south by Souza Road and Route 24.
Office space, "luxury" apartments and four story hotel and conference center are contemplated, however, details are uncertain as the developer continues to re-define plans for each Planning Board meeting. One that has not changed however is the sea of asphalt for 2,566 cars surrounded by big box mall stores.
Development is planned in three phases, beginning with a big box store at the east end. In a clever application of the "bait and switch tactic," phases two and three are likely to be big box stores rather than mixed use office and residential space. The developer now admits phases II and III will be driven by market forces--and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize there is no market in Tiverton for a hotel, office space and luxury apartments without a water view (instead, your choice--highway or parking lot view).
The planned main entrance to the mall will be from Main Road. One historic house was slated for demolition to make room for the entrance road. In more recent plans, the house remains but only a few feet from the 3 lane entrance road. Pressure for commercial development taking advantage of increased traffic flow will be the the natural outcome leading to the demise of the historic houses no lining Main Road and ultimately the entire historic neighborhood north of Rt 24.
The latest in a series of mall plans. Notice that Phase I and II include only retail and restaurants, beginning with the big box in phase I. Housing, offices and a hotel are all pushed off to Phase III 10 years from now, if ever. And even then, phase III offices and residences will only happen in the unlikely event "market" conditions are favorable non-retail development. Expect more big box stores.
Last modified: January 24, 2016