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Tiverton commits all to develop, gets nothing in
To the editor:
On Tuesday July 7, at 7 p.m. at Tiverton High School, the Town Council will
be voting on whether to approve the 64-acre, 600,000-plus square foot
mega-development known as The Glen, which would be located right off Main
Road next to Route 24.
The Town Council will be voting whether to make the following commitments to
the developer of this huge project:
• Changing the Tiverton Comprehensive Plan in the developer’s favor;
• Changing zoning regulations and map in the developer’s favor;
• Re-zone land that is now on the National Register of Historic Places to
high density mixed use for the developer;
• Allow the developer to add six new traffic lights to the small sections of
the busiest roads in town (Main and Fish).
You may ask “What does the developer commit to Tiverton in return for all of
these drastic changes?”
The answer is — nothing.
Yes, that’s right, in exchange for all of these permanent, town-altering
concessions our town would give to the developer, the developer commits
nothing, zero, to the town. Some examples:
• Full build out commitment? Nope. The 64-acre, 600,000—plus square foot
development was originally supposed to be built in four phases over 10
years. Now the developer has backed out on that commitment, saying that
building anything after phase 1 (the 100,000 square foot big box grocery
store and a few other buildings) will be “market driven.” meaning they may
be built out over 10 years, or 20 years, or not at all. In the meantime, all
of the traffic lights and infrastructure would be put in at the beginning of
the project. This is a fact.
• Net tax revenue commitment? Nope. An accurate fiscal impact study, by
phase, with minimum and maximum ranges, has not yet been performed. As of
now, only two very basic studies have been performed and both have been
proven to contain major errors in their calculations, as is evidenced in
minuted Planning Board meetings. There is absolutely no, $0, guaranteed net
tax revenue for Tiverton from this development. This is a fact.
• Full gross tax revenues soon? Nope. Since the build out is supposed to
take at least 10 years, and the developer has requested tax exemptions that
delay full tax payments for six years after build out, Tiverton would not
get full gross tax revenues from this mega-development for at least 16 years
(in the year 2031). This is a fact.
• In order to properly perform their fiduciary responsibilities to the town,
the Town Council needs a complete, detailed fiscal impact study, by
development phase, using minimum and maximum ranges, to determine if this
mega-development will create net tax increases or losses for Tiverton. Until
this study is done, the Town Council cannot possibly make an
informed decision on the full fiscal impacts this mega-development will have
on the town, in both the short and long term. This is a fact.
Why is Tiverton willing to commit so many things to a developer that won’t
commit anything to Tiverton in return? A developer that has had so many
legal problems with other towns in Rhode Island? A developer who refuses to
even disclose a single proposed tenant for their mega development?
Come and ask the Town Council at the open meeting on Tuesday, July 7, at 7
p.m. at the High School. This is the meeting where they will be voting
whether to approve the project. The only thing that will stop this
mega-development is for Tiverton residents to attend and show you
are against it. This is a fact.
Sakonnet Tiimes, June 30, 2015
Tiverton Glen: The price the town will pay
April 8, 2015
To the editor:
If you think you see
empty, boarded up buildings now along Main Road, just fast forward 5 or 10 years
from now. One by one our neighborhood businesses will fade away in favor of more
big box retail and the padding of corporate pockets.
alone will add millions of cars annually crammed into “2 lanes” in both
directions for miles on our main traffic arteries. Tiverton will consist of
devalued homes surrounding a huge commercialized mall. Infrastructure repairs
and required expansion of our police and fire departments will only begin to
scratch the surface of impending taxation increases. Warwick, home of multiple
malls has double the tax rate of Tiverton. Do you want this community to become
a Warwick? Sit at any intersection in Warwick and ponder that thought for
The price the town
would pay for this “shopping mall” is a huge uptick in neighborhood and car
break-ins, which will hurt your home insurance rates and peace of mind. More
trash along our roads, more noise, huge, bright obtrusive signs, and, worst of
all, urban sprawl. The frightening reality is that Fish Road could become a “hot
grease pipeline” with fast food restaurants and other mall offspring,
drastically altering Tiverton’s beautiful, seaside landscape, is very real.
The preposterous vote
(5-3) by some on our planning board to take the next step toward approving both
the development and making changes to our comprehensive plan to accommodate the
developer and sprawl should anger you. This decision made a mockery of the “town
template” and conflicts with the existing design to protect our town. You should
be concerned about the lack of creativity, leadership and long-term thinking.
They are selling us out for the sole sake of conformity and lack of vision. For
those upcoming Town Council votes on the matter, remember them when you cast
your vote at the next election.
Yes, Tiverton needs to
be revitalized but it is a closed mind that believes that more corporate retail
is the answer. It should not be at the expense of our existing small businesses,
and not at the expense of our peace and our wildlife. It should not be at the
expense of the safety of our children, our pets or our property values, tax and
insurance rates, and rural and historic beauty. As for the notion of “tax
relief”, paltry estimates at best are somewhere in the ballpark of a little over
a million dollars annually which will most likely be offset by additional
burdens and business loss in our town.
Smart business always
takes reality into consideration. It is a very real possibility that this 64
acre mall will fail. Just google deadmalls.com. The developer will sell out and
skip town. The dismal probability must be considered that we will be left with
unrecoverable damage to 64 acres. Now your property values will really take a
hit as the door is wide open for whatever takes up residence in a desperately
There are other
options. We are already sitting on profitable, natural beauty that can encourage
tourism, visitors and small businesses. Breathing new life into the Stone Bridge
Pier and Grinnels Beach is one example. Every thriving seaside community has a
“draw”. A reconditioned pier lined with gas lamps and park benches and a
beautiful beach on the bend of Main Road opening up to the Sakonnet River gives
visitors a reason to visit and shop here. Don’t be deceived by the sheep
mentality belief that malls and corporations are the only answer. All it takes
is a little bit of creativity, not conformity.
Stand up for your
town! Please take a few minutes to email or contact your town officials as soon
as possible to express your concerns (the Tiverton town website lists Town
Council members’ email addresses).
Letter: It’s not a mall, it’s a
April 6, 2015
To the editor:
This is in response to
Tiverton Town Council member Joe Souza’s letter to the editor in last week’s
Sakonnet Times, in which he stated (among other inaccuracies), “There is a group
in town that is spreading false information about the proposed development on
Souza Road” and “The developer is proposing a mixed-use town center type
development with small shops and apartments. There would be some larger stores
mixed in along with restaurants and a banquet facility.”
Joe: Please don’t lump
all people against this mega-development into one category. We are many and
varied in our opinions. I agree that we should be thankful to the people who
serve our town.
However, I do need to
point out that part of your letter is pointedly and factually incorrect. You
state that this project would have “small shops and apartments” etc. Is the
planned 100,000 square foot box store a small shop? Is the planned 125-room huge
hotel needed in Tiverton? And what, exactly, is the “town center” you mention?
You are correct, it is
not a “mall.” It is in fact a gargantuan mega-development that includes more
retail square footage than the now-defunct Harbour Mall, plus a 125 room hotel,
a mammoth regional conference center, 90 apartments, and tons of light
industrial and other types of buildings. It is over twice the size of
Carpionato’s Chapel View development in Cranston.
The reason so many of
us have “Don’t Mall Tiverton” signs in our yards (even though so many of them
have been stolen, a sign of things to come …) is because: a) “Mall” rhymes with
“Maul” (Definition: “to injure by a rough beating, shoving, or the like;
bruise:”), and b) we couldn’t fit “Don’t Mega-Develop Tiverton and Ruin our Town
forever” on the size signs we have.
To the Editor
The proposed Tiverton Glen development presents a number of concerns for many,
especially those who value Tiverton's small-town nature. More troubling is the
process attempting to circumvent the town's defining Comprehensive Plan to
permit this specific development.
The facts are clear. Tiverton Glen is a 60-plus-acre development that
indisputably runs counter to the Town's Comp Plan and current zoning laws. The
Planning Board is charged with determining if a planned development conforms to
the current zoning and Comp Plan.
By this standard, the Planning Board should reject Tiverton Glen as being in
violation of current zoning and counter to the Comp Plan. Some on the Planning
Board seem intent on ignoring this to give “conditional approval” to this
development. The conditions? That the Town Council create a huge loophole in the
Comprehensive Plan to accommodate this type of development.
Rather than make the development fit the town, the developers are trying to make
the town change to fit the development. They seek to bypass the very committee
charged with reviewing the Comp Plan and essentially be made exempt from many of
the Comp Plan’s provisions, to build the type of big-box retail stores the town
has repeatedly rejected.
The Planning Board could put the town in legal jeopardy by making decisions
based not on the law as it stands, but on changes beyond its control. There is a
legal deadline to make a decision on this plan, and the only responsible course
is to reject this plan as clearly not in keeping with current law. They are then
free to suggest that the Town Council make the Comp Plan and zoning changes
necessary to permit this type of development.
Some are attempting to use financial concerns to convince us that we are in
desperate straits and must be willing to sell out the very small-town character
that many of us see as Tiverton’s greatest asset. Recently-opened new businesses
that adhere to our Comp Plan show that we can broaden our commercial tax-base
without surrendering our very nature to mega-developments that ultimately cause
more harm than good.
Hopefully, our appointed Planning Board recognizes that legal decisions should
be based on the law as it stands, not wishful thinking. If they fail to do so,
it will fall to our Town Council to decide what our town’s character is worth,
and demonstrate to those who elected them that they put the well-being of the
people of Tiverton before that of developers.
These are my personal views, and not those of Tiverton 1st, which has not taken
a position on this issue.
Posted Mar 16, 2015
To the editor:
developers’ requested changes to our Comp Plan are major, they do not address
all of the project’s areas of noncompliance with the Comprehensive Plan. Some
Section 10.7 of the
Comp Plan, Economic Development Policies states: “It is the stated goal of this
chapter to provide for economic development…while not negatively impacting the
town’s cherished small town character, burdening its road system and
contributing to sprawl.”
study states that the traffic for their mega-development will be 24,880 car
trips per day. This crippling increase in traffic on our roads will surely
“negatively impact the town’s cherished small town character, burden its road
system, and contribute to sprawl”, and is therefore in violation of the Comp
Section 10.7 of the
Comp Plan states: “The town must balance the rights of property owners to
develop with the desire of the community at large to manage such development so
that it enhances the town’s character, not takes away from it.”
study number of 24,880 car trips per day, times 365 days in a year, equals
9,081,200 car trips per year for this mega-development. Over 9 million car trips
added to our roads every year does not “enhance the town’s character”, and is
therefore in violation of the Comp. Plan.
Policy 2a of the
Comp Plan states: “Support and promote new retail commercial developments which
primarily serve local needs and reflect and/or compliment the unique character
traffic study, the vast majority of the traffic coming to this mega-development
will come from Fall River and beyond. This does not “compliment the unique
character of Tiverton” and is therefore not in keeping with Policy 2a, as the
project would not “primarily serve local needs”.
Circulation of the Comp Plan states: “It is essential to provide safe and
efficient circulation while maintaining the town’s small town and rural
qualities and scenic values.”
With regards the
safety section of this clause, the Tiverton Superintendent of Schools sent a
letter to the Planning Board that raised the issue of safety for Tiverton school
students, which said, in part: “Another concern with the development is related
to the increased traffic flow on Main Road associated with the proposed
development … There are numerous bus stops located on Main Road and I am
concerned that an increased traffic flow especially in the afternoon could
provide additional safety concerns for our students … and could lead to
significant increases in the cost of operating the School Department, which in
turn would impact our residents.”
Circulation Policies states “ Traffic signals are inconsistent with the
functioning and character of community’s roadways and should be avoided wherever
traffic study, they want to add six new traffic lights: three on Fish Road and
three on Main Road, all within a quarter of a mile of Route 24. This is
therefore in direct violation of section 8.6 of the Comp Plan
If we add the
proposed mega-development traffic to existing traffic on Main Road and Fish
Road, then these two lane country roads will handle almost the same amount of
cars trips per day as the Sakonnet Bridge…while at the same time adding six new
traffic lights. This is in direct violation of Policy 1 of Section 8.6 of the
Comp Plan, since this does not “reduce congestion”, it dramatically increases
The bottom line is
that these are all violations of our current approved Comprehensive Plan, and
the proposed amendments do not address these serious issues. The Planning Board
needs to reject the Comprehensive Plan amendments, and this project, based on
traffic issues alone.
Tiverton residents are urged to attend the Planning Board meeting Tuesday, March
10, 7 p.m., at Tiverton High School.
(Published in the Sakonnet Times March 3rd, 2015)
To the Editor:
I heard something quite peculiar at the Feb 24th Tiverton Planning Board
hearing on the proposed amendments to our Comprehensive Community Plan. Board
member Sue Gill told us that it's not up to them to say yes or no regarding the
Carpionato mega-mall. That their job is just to pass it on to the Town Council,
as the Council has the final say. Not so Sue, it can't get to the Council
without a Planning Board "yes" majority vote.
Carpionato is proposing only one of the detrimental amendments, with the other
harmful six amendments coming from the Planning Board themselves. What gives?
When you hear "amendments", you might think "a few tweaks". But whole paragraphs
are being crossed out and rewritten, bearing no resemblance to the original
text. Or they're adding language to the end of sections that void said sections.
During the last few Planning Board hearings I've repeatedly heard Board Chairman
Steve Hughes say to the other Board members: "Are we clear on this? If any
of these amendments don't pass, this proposal is dead in the water."
Then all the other Board members would bob their heads up and down to signify
their agreement with that rather disingenuous statement.
One of the Board's amendments adds this: "Developments within the Mixed
Use Development District are exempt from the requirements to create affordable
housing." Now, as advised by their own attorney at a previous public
hearing, the Planning Board can give an affordable-housing exemption on a
case-by-case basis, with no need to amend that section.
Yet the Board kept the amendment, saying it "doesn't want to discourage
developers." That sure didn't discourage Carpionato from proposing a huge
oversized development, now did it?
So, as demonstrated, there's no need to amend the affordable-housing clause, so
why say this proposal is "dead in the water" if the amendment fails? At best,
that's very deceptive. I wonder, can any of the other proposed amendments be
handled on a case-by-case basis? And if so, why aren't they?
Board member Rosemary Eva said no developer has ever tried to change our
Community Plan. Chairman Hughes claimed he's not pushing these amendments for
Carpionato, but rather to expand the tax-base. The Tiverton Community Plan is
about to become the "Chairman Hughes Mall Plan". But mall box-stores will force
small Tiverton businesses to close. There will be no gain, only the loss of our
The sole Carpionato "amendment" is to create a mega mixed-use development zone
where none exists. And except for "further bounded by Souza Road to the north",
the rest of this bogus zones boundaries are ambiguous and would be open to
interpretation. It could mean anywhere south of Souza Rd. Hundreds (if not
thousands) of bucolic Tiverton acreage would be at risk of being "malled".
People like professional builders, developers specializing in mixed-use
developments, and real-estate brokers will benefit, among others. Say, those are
the very professions of at least three members of the Planning Board.
Go figure, Tiverton, go figure.
Ralph G Doliber
"Developer would re-write the rules
to get its way"
Letter to the Editor of the Sakonnet Times February 10, 2015
To the editor:
Imagine that you want to pull off something big, really big. Only problem is,
your plan goes against the rules. So much so that it can never pass.
But you really want this to happen. So, what to do? Well, one option would be,
change the rules.
That seems to be the plan of the Tiverton Planning Board, faced with a proposal
by the Carpionato Group of Cranston that seeks to construct a mega-development
on Souza Road that completely rewrites the spirit and letter of the estabished
Tiverton Comprehensive Development Plan.
That original 1992 “Comp Plan,” last revised in 2009, was derived by long range
consideration of the town’s current and future quality of life, fed by extensive
citizen comment. The Plan states that Tiverton is open to “commercial
development … at a scale that does not adversely impact its unique small town
character, does not burden its roadways and does not contribute to sprawl.”
In contrast, the proposed “Tiverton Glen” [glen: a secluded woodland valley]
would occupy 64 acres (48 football fields), of which 25 acres (19 football
fields) would be asphalt parking. The mega-mall would include hotel, retail,
office, and residential properties. It would dwarf in size anything currently
seen on this side of the bay. It would make Tiverton the Cranston of Newport
County. And it would make untold amounts of money for Carpionato.
So, why didn’t the Planning Board reject out-of-hand the proposal by Carpionato,
perpetrators of the huge Chapel View complex in Cranston, as clearly out-of-step
with the expressed interests of Tiverton citizens? After all, nothing in our
Comp Plan embraces the magnitude of “Tiverton Glen.”
To be sure, Carpionato has a history of disregarding local and state ordinances.
For example, the company was fined $5,000. in 2009 for a water pollution
violation in Cranston, cited by the same city for building a wall on Oaklawn
Avenue without a permit, and embroiled in a dispute with the City of Pawtucket
for delaying construction of a hotel they had promised six years before.
So, why does the board continue to wrestle the issue at public meeting at the
high school? The longer it goes, the curiouser and curiouser it gets ad the more
suspicions of collusion rise.
The town rejected a similar proposal ten or so years ago. But this is a
different Planning Board now, with different priorities. We want to know — what
are those priorities and whom do they serve?
The current Planning Board has decided to amend the Comp Plan and make it
unrecognizable in order to allow the developer to have its way. After all, they
just build the mall, collect the fee and are out of the picture, leaving us to
cope with overburdened infrastructure, snarled traffic and rising taxes. Not to
mention a vast Cranston style mega-mall, located where precious historic
property and wildlife habitat used to stand, now accessible only in history
Edward Sanderson, deputy RI historic preservation officer, states, “It is
evident from the Master Plan submission that the proposed development would have
a major effect on the Historic District and the effect would be overwhelmingly
Town residents need to write letters to the nine Planning Board members (Edward
Campbell, Peter Corr, Patricia Cote, Rosemary Eva, Susan Gill, Carol Guimond,
Stuart Hardy (vice chair), Stephen Hughes (chair), and David Saurette) at Town
Hall, 343 Highland Road, Tiverton RI 02878 to express their feelings about
Ask them if they really want the worst of Cranston moving in right here.
[To the Editor]
Tiverton resident Peter Moniz doesn't like the words "non-regional, commercial
development" included in our Community Plan. Okay, let's delete "non-regional"
from that section: "..well-designed commercial development that diversifies the
tax base, but is at a scale that doesn't adversely impact it's unique small town
character, does not burden it's roadways and does not contribute to sprawl."
The oversized Carpionato 66 acre development to be built in a Tiverton
neighborhood still clearly violates the last three stipulations. It will ruin
our small town character, severely burden our roadways and will be the epitome
But Mr Moniz need not worry because the Tiverton Planning Board simply tacked
"except in the case of new mixed-use development" onto the end of such clauses
in our Community Plan. Where that's not applicable they re-wrote it as necessary
to suit Carpionato's plans.
At the Jan 20th board hearing they discussed amendments to our Community Plan.
When the "30% affordable housing" clause came up it was revealed they plan on
tacking the ubiquitous "except in the case of new mixed-use development" onto
the end of it. The board's attorney then pointed out that clause doesn't have to
be amended because the board can handle it on a "case-by-case basis". The board
appeared ready to accept that when board member/developer David Saurette became
Mr Saurette said he wanted it (and got it) kept as amended because he "didn't
want to discourage developers."
That's funny, it didn't discourage developer Carpionato from proposing one of
the largest mixed-use developments in all of RI.
This whole deal goes beyond Carpionato into the realm of a developers
Is it a "back-room deal" if they're doing it right in front of our eyes?
Towards the end of the meeting Town Councilman Joe Souza took the microphone
seeking assurances that if the high-end luxury apartments "don't get rented"
that they will not be rented to "low-income people" (like families, single
mothers and fathers, etc?). The Board and Carpionato both assured Councilman
Souza that it won't happen. It appears Councilman Souza stands with Carpionato
and the Planning Board regarding the unfortunate in need of a home. Let's hope
the rest of our Town Council isn't so heartless.
Councilman Souza recently said "I am dedicated to helping the businesses in
town.." and "Before someone cries big box-store, remember that town zoning
doesn't allow buildings that large without a change to zoning.."
The very council he sits on has the sole power to change our zoning.
On Eastbayri.com Councilman Souza said this about the proposed 66 acre mega-mall
that will include a 100,000 sq ft (over 2 acres!) box-store and 500,000 sq ft
additional retail space on a residential road: "I see it being a plus to the
The guy who just told us not to worry about a "big box-store" sure sounds
gung-ho about one! Councilman Souza is either woefully uninformed or being
Ralph G Doliber
Jan. 3, 2015
To the editor:
Tiverton residents who have been following news coverage of
the 64-acre development proposed by the Carpionato Group may be aware that the
main entrance would be built next to and in front of the circa 1845 Osborn house
listed on the National Register. What most residents don’t realize is that the
proposal threatens not just one historic home but if built, would destroy the
entire Osborn-Bennett Historic District, one of only three such districts in
Not content with the 44-acre parcel abutting the district,
the developers want to add to it 19 of the 27 acres that comprise the historic
district itself in order to supersize their project. Chapel View, Carpionato’s
large-scale development in Cranston, is built on a 30-acre site. Does the
developer’s zeal to make the Tiverton project twice as big really take
precedence over the town’s right to protect its historic resources?
The historic resources found in districts listed on the
National Register typically include more than just old houses. The
Osborn-Bennett District, for example, is comprised of 10 contributing buildings,
four of them houses, and three contributing sites. These sites include 19 acres
of open fields, as well as wooded areas that feature well-preserved three to
four foot-tall stone walls marking former agricultural fields and the property
Just how important are these fields and woods to the
district? The short answer is very. The
rural agricultural landscape provides the context that unifies the other
historic resources in the district, including the homes, outbuildings and ruins.
Together they provide a rare remaining view of Tiverton’s origins as an18th-century
To be listed on the National Register, a property must
“still look much the way it did in the past.” By replacing the historic
landscape with national chain stores and asphalt parking lots, construction of
the Carpionato project would deface the district to the point that it would no
longer meet the criteria for inclusion on the Nation Register.
The choice couldn’t be clearer: Preserve one of only three
historic districts in Tiverton or pave it over to erect another Sleepy’s, Rent-a
Center, and Town Fair Tire. And beware: as the Osborn-Bennett District goes, so
goes Four Corners.
Members of the Planning Board:
As a 27 year resident of Tiverton, I am writing to express my deep concern over
the prospect of the Carpionato mall development proposal. There is a saying we
use in our family: "It just doesn't sit well". This idea sure doesn't sit well.
We sure don't need a mall, and a big box store, and a conference center,
restaurants, and lots and lots and lots of traffic and light and noise
pollution. We have access to fine local restaurants and shops and really easy
access to every big retailer one could imagine needing within 15 minutes.
In an age when online shopping is booming we will need less access than ever to
national chain brick and mortar stores. My personal loyalty is to shop locally
and support local business owners. And while doing so, I am blessed with the
scenic natural beauty that drew my husband and me so long ago to buy our home
and raise our family here.
The members of the Comprehensive Planning Committee agreed that preserving
Tiverton's sense of place is a priority. They spent hundreds of hours developing
a comprehensive plan that takes into account economic development. But nowhere
within the plan is the suggestion that a 65 acre asphalt development would be
just what the doctor ordered. Yikes! Really? It is confusing that this proposal
is even under consideration.
Let's honor the Comprehensive Plan and vote down The Carpionato mall proposal
24 December, 2014
Having attended the most recent (12/18/14) Planning Board Committee meeting
and having reviewed the Comprehensive Community Plan and the Tiverton Crossings
(Glen) proposal, I am left with the following conclusions. The Comprehensive
Community Plan was created by local leaders and residents to reflect the desires
of the Tiverton community and guide future development within the town.
Throughout this plan, the phrase “Preserve the town’s rural and small town
character” appears repeatedly in every section of the plan. Policy 6 (page 63)
states: Support industrial and commercial uses that result in net tax revenue
and desirable employment opportunities, and are compatible with the small town
and rural character of the town. Apparently the Planning Board Committee is now
in favor of allowing the developer (Carpionato) to request that the
Comprehensive Community Plan and Zoning ordinances be amended to accommodate
what the developer wants to build in Tiverton. This would be necessary because
the developer’s proposal does not conform to the wishes of the long-time
residents of Tiverton who created the Comprehensive Community Plan. What’s wrong
with this picture? Who are our elected officials representing here? Louise
Durfee (former Town Council Chairwoman) was right when she said these dealings
raise the question of a back room deal. I urge all Tiverton residents who want
to preserve the most pleasing character of our small rural town to come to the
Planning Board meetings and let your voices be heard. Once it’s gone, it’s gone
November 26, 2014
Dear Mr. Hughes,
We urge the planning board to reject the latest proposal
for Tiverton Crossings. Tiverton does not need a huge mall, hotel, conference
center and high end housing complex. Why would anyone want to book a hotel room
or conference in Tiverton when there are so many facilities in Newport and
Middletown? They have the attractions that draw tourists and business
organizations - not Tiverton. The people who have grown up in Tiverton and
raised their families here were attracted to this town specifically because it
isn’t a big or even small city. Let’s not lose the main attraction for our
small town which is quiet neighborhoods, historical areas like Tiverton Four
Corners, natural spaces (Rueker Refuge, Weetamoe Woods, Fort Barton, etc.) and
room to breathe. If some people want the proximity of a mall, big hotel,
conference center, etc., let them move to Providence or Newport.
You only have to look at Fall River’s Harbor Mall to see
what happens when a mall can’t attract enough business to sustain it. What’s
left when the stores pull out is a very large eye sore. If a city the size of
Fall River cannot support a mall, how could a small town like Tiverton, and what
would become of the very attractive small businesses that are located at
Tiverton Four Corners? As far as a conference center is concerned, business and
organizations want to hold conferences in large cities with numerous amenities
and attractions to draw attendees. The Tiverton Crossings proposal is all wrong
The Planning Board should be focusing on developing and
promoting the Industrial Park that has been allowed to languish for decades.
We need light industries and jobs. We need a town planning board that will
explore potential businesses with manufacturing potential. Newport and
Middletown has been successful at bringing in this type of businesses. It’s
time the Tiverton Planning Board took lessons from our neighbors.
Paul and Barbara
TIVERTON CROSSINGS PROJECT: MAGIC BULLET OR WHITE ELEPHANT
After attending the recent hearing regarding the
Tiverton Crossings project it was apparent to me that Rhode Islanders have not
lost their appetite for magic bullet, quick easy fixes to their tax concerns. We
are reminded each and every day in the media of the 38 Studios debacle that was
to be the cure for all of Rhode Island’s economic ills. These proposals come
with an abundance and an array of slick presentations by well-spoken and
articulate members of the project team, promising everything from tax relief to
aesthetic buffer zones and local job creation.
We need not look far to find former farming
communities like Tiverton, such as Middletown, Dartmouth and Seekonk that have
become heavily overdeveloped commercially to realize the impact this has had on
the quality of life in those towns. Further observation would reveal that in
some cases the tax rate is not much different from Tiverton and in the end it
becomes a question of how much of our rural character and individual identity
are we willing to sacrifice for the unproven promise of lower taxes, if they
become lower at all.
I was quite concerned with analogies made by
project presenters comparing the Tiverton Crossings project to similar projects
in cities such as Warwick, Cranston and other much larger communities. I was
also concerned and appalled by members of the development team who snickered and
laughed during comments made by Tiverton residents who spoke out against the
project. This may provide some hint as to the attitude of the team toward
Tiverton and its citizens.
I listened carefully to several residents who
spoke in favor of the project due to their interest in broadening our tax base
in Tiverton. Although I oppose the project, I do understand their concern and
the concern of others in this regard. I feel strongly however that we can
attain this common goal through “smart” commercial development as proposed by
our former town planner. Therefore, it would be prudent for us to have our
current town planner involved in any and all development planning, projects and
proposals now and in the future, utilizing the Comprehensive Plan as our road
map and guide.
There appears to be a perception that Tiverton is
unfriendly to business and development. Our message should be that Tiverton is
indeed open for business, but that we will do so on our terms and in accordance
with Tiverton’s Comprehensive Plan; not the plan of any development team. The
idea of a project of this magnitude in our town and attendant consequences as
seen in nearby communities should be a wake up call to all Tiverton residents.
Therefore, I would urge all citizens, town council members and members of the
planning board to resoundingly reject this project and anything like it in the
To the Editor
Developers known as the Carpionato Group have proposed 66 acres of paved
mall-sprawl here in the small town of Tiverton. I live about two miles south of
the proposed location and don't personally know any of the proposal's potential
abutting homeowners, who would see both their quality of life and home's value
plummet precipitously. But I do know anyone who would ruin a fellow Tiverton
resident's right to the peaceful enjoyment of life in order to maybe, and only
maybe, possibly save a pittance on property taxes should be highly ashamed of
Carpionato wants to change the residential zoning of Sousa Rd to what they call
"mixed-use". It's the easiest way to overturn zoning restrictions and get their
foot in the door.
The following was taken directly from the Carpionato Group's website (Tellingly,
they have taken it, among other things, off their site since I brought it up at
the Tiverton Planning Board meeting the other night!)
"The woodlands and scattered single-family subdivisions of Tiverton don't cry
out for large-scale development, but Carpionato Group envisions one of the
largest mixed-use projects in Rhode Island on 66 acres off of Main Road."
How do they reconcile that contradictory statement? In Carpionato's own words
Tiverton does not want large-scale development. Yet the Carpionato Group still
envisions foisting on little Tiverton one of the "largest mixed-use projects" in
all of Rhode Island!
From their website (also since taken down): "Carpionato decided to make the
project mixed use in the popular suburban “lifestyle center” style used at
Located in Cranston, Chapel View is big ugly stores with big ugly parking lots
with some condo/apartments and other big buildings. Cranstons residential
tax-rate is higher than Tiverton's.
And last, but not least, is a troubling statement made by the Carpionato Group's
Senior Vice President Mr Kelly Coates. At a previous Planning Board meeting a
member of the board had the rational idea of putting the entrance/exit ramps to
the project directly on Rt 24 (instead of using residential roads) thereby
reducing the resulting traffic burden.
But Mr Coates unequivocally rejected that salient suggestion, saying:
"You're not going to have a Tiverton Crossings exit ramp into this project, it's
not going to happen" No consideration of Tiverton's wishes, just a flat-out no.
And that, my fellow Tiverton residents, shows just the kind of no-can-do
attitude we can look forward to if this monstrosity is approved.
I will concede one point to Mr Coates, though. The other night he quite
condescendingly claimed anyone who was familiar with the proposal would "giggle"
at our 'Don't Mall Tiverton' signs. He's right about it not being a mall.
Rather, it is nothing but a glorified shopping center.
Ralph G Doliber
Tiverton Planning Board
October 21, 2014
Carpionato Proposed Development
I am unable to attend tonight’s meeting, but have a few thoughts regarding
the financial aspect of the proposed development that I am compelled to share. I
appreciate your consideration, and all the time and effort you put in on behalf
of the town.
I am concerned that potential tax benefits to the town have not been proven
and that financial risks to the town have not been thoroughly vetted. If the
town is to make a fact-based decision based on benefits we will receive versus
risks we might be taking on, we should have a thorough analysis completed by our
own tax officials as to the actual tax revenue we expect to realize. If the
Board has not already done so, I suggest that our Tax Assessor, Dave Robert, be
asked to prepare a report that outlines how the new development will be assessed
and that provides a realistic range of estimated real property and tangible tax
My personal opinion is that this development will not be compatible with the
previous stated goal of revitalizing Main Road in North Tiverton. Increased
traffic will effectively block travel into the north end jeopardizing the few
businesses we have and reducing any hopes of incentivizing new commercial
development. At the least, this is a potential real financial risk to the town
that the Board should take into consideration when weighing the potential
financial benefits of this new proposed development. Obviously hard revenue
numbers, from our own town professional, are an absolute necessity in order to
determine what the real financial benefit to the town might be. Ideally, these
new revenue estimates would be compared to the existing north end tax base in
order to create best-case/worst-case scenarios.
Understanding how the development will be assessed is also vital to
understanding the risks the town might be taking on. For example, if the value
of the retail buildings is based on sales, the town will be essentially
investing in an old-style, brick and mortar retail development, despite recent
trends in internet sales. If sales is a large factor in the property tax revenue
equation and sales decline, we might be left with our own version of the Harbor
Mall with vacant buildings paying little to no taxes, and an existing
"commercial" north end devoid of commerce.
Two other financial aspects that our Tax Assessor can help with is 1)
quantifying the development’s potential impact on existing property values, and
2) explaining the tax ramifications of Tiverton’s Enterprise Zone. If existing
property values are reduced the tax base is reduced which, mathematically,
causes taxes to be higher. Clearly it’s important to quantify that value. And,
the Enterprise Zone regulations provide certain tax incentives that development
can take advantage of. Do we have a clear understanding of how this might affect
potential tax revenue? It could be that the town may not realize full tax
revenue from the development for several years.
In conclusion, I continue to believe that Tiverton would benefit from
commercial development that leverages our assets and complements existing
commercial areas. I do not see that this proposed development will do either.
To the Planning Board
The first thing you learn in Marketing 101 is the primary
rule of sales, "Sell the sizzle". That means don't talk about any negatives.
Don't talk about how long a meal is going to take to prepare, for example, tell
them how happy your family will be when you serve it. You get the picture,
smiling husband and children around the table, not mounds of dirty dishes.
That is clearly what Carpionato Developers did at the last Planning Board
meeting. Mr. Kelly Coates presented picture after picture of happy brides, and
lovely buffets. Not one of these pictures is what is actually proposed for
Tiverton. These were what are called “conceptual” plans. But there was one
number that made their plans become real to those in attendance. 2557. That is
the number of parking spaces/asphalt that will be needed to support this retail
mall. Despite what they say, it will be a retail mall. The first phase is the
large box model they claim to need to create “vivacity”. That is what they call
traffic. This phase will require 640 parking spaces. It will also include two
restaurants. It won't be in a historic church, but will be built to the
specifications of whatever chain restaurant it can sustain. Think more Denny's
rather than Boathouse. IHop rather than Family Ties. Ted's Montana Grill rather
that our own Four Corner Grill and Olive Garden rather than Nonni's. Phase 2,
will include a strip mall and 1 mixed use building that includes more retail
space and another 487 parking spaces. It is unclear when Phase 3 and 4,
with the additional retail/mixed use buildings, hotel and another 1,430 parking
spaces will be built. It is interesting to note that Starwoods has permitting to
develop a hotel and retail shops at the Villages but this international
resort/hotel developer has not done so. Clearly the market is not there.
The scale of this development is simply too large for our town and will destroy
what is unique and in fact extremely marketable in this day. We are a coastal
New England town, not anywhere USA with the same big boxes repeating themselves
every 20 miles down a highway.
Please let the Planning Board know that this is not what our town needs. We need
to support our local businesses and encourage responsible economic growth to
stabilize our tax base. Don't be fooled by Carpionato's sizzle.