Homeowners keep up fight to close back door to future Dave's

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All the more united in their effort to limit access to their neighborhood from what will become the newest Dave’s Marketplace – the former Benny’s at Wildes Corner – Spring Grove Avenue homeowners turned out for Monday’s City Council meeting.

Holding “no access” signs, the residents – mostly wearing red – were peaceable as all eight members of the council who were present granted second passage to a zone change that would preserve much of the rear of the 20-acre lot as open space.

Carpionato Group President Kelly Coates who watched from the chamber balcony, explained that action was taken to allay concerns that the land might be developed for condos at some future time.

Ironically, it opened the door to the issue of the access road, which is not even a part of the land rezoned as open space.

Carpionato Group bought nearly all of the 31 Benny’s sites when the locally owned retail chain closed.

As was voiced at an informational meeting and when the council first heard the rezoning petition, the rezoning is not an issue and overall the relocation of the Dave’s on West Shore Road and an expanded store is viewed as a plus. The issue is a rear access to the site that predates Benny’s, when the store was operated by Star Market. Benny’s didn’t use the access, so it remained closed for more than 20 years.

Residents fear that with the opening to traffic between the Dollar General and O’Reilly’s Auto Parts and construction of a bank, restaurant and retail store as Carpionato plans, access to Spring Grove would become a cut-through to avoid Wildes Corner traffic. This would destroy the tranquility they enjoy being on a dead-end street and create safety hazards.

Coates says he’s sympathetic to neighborhood concerns, but that Dave’s insists on keeping the access as part of its lease. The variable is Carpionato’s proposal for another traffic sign on West Shore Road. If the Department of Transportation approves the light, Dave’s is agreeable to limiting the rear access so that vehicles no larger than a golf cart could use it.

Coates said Monday that DOT is favorably inclined to the proposal and he is hopeful of approval.

Nonetheless, residents are concerned that it could take the state up to two years to install a light, which would mean two years of neighborhood traffic.

Meanwhile, work is proceeding on the conversion of the former Benny’s. Carpionato has permits for the work and there is no need for zoning or council approvals, as the property is zoned for the planned use. A spokeswoman for Dave’s said Wednesday the company is looking to open the store in the spring.

In voting for second passage, City Council President Steve Merolla pointed out that residents will get “a second bite of the apple” when the development comes before the Planning Board for preliminary plan approval. Furthermore, he noted in an interview Wednesday that Carpionato owns a number of properties in the city and has lived up to its promises.

“At some point in time, you have to rely on people,” he said.

In approving the open space zoning, the City Council added the stipulation that should the state approve the traffic signal, Carpionato would close the rear access.

“In the end, I think everyone is going to be happy with this project,” Merolla said.

Mayor Joseph Solomon likewise sees the development as benefiting the community.

“It serves all residents,” he said, “and it expands our tax base.”

As for the issue of introducing traffic to a residential neighborhood, Solomon said the city would need to address that should it become a problem.

The Planning Board hasn’t set a date for preliminary plan review.

GETTING ACROSS THEIR POINT:

Concerned that a rear access to the former Benny’s site at Wildes Corner could be reopened when it reopens as a Dave’s Marketplace, Spring Grove Avenue residents attended Monday’s Council meeting. The council granted second passage to rezone a portion of the site as open space. (Warwick Beacon photo)

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justanidiot

stop the whole project so that widdle johnny can play ball in the street (illegal in warwick btw). dont they already have a store nearby?

if they are going to build it, do it in somebody elses back yard. Cranston, providence, anywhere but there. who needs the tax money anyway

Thursday, November 21
Good Neighbor

I can't wait for those on Spring Grove, who didn't participate in the protest, who will start to cry when all those cars take a right out of the access road thinking they can get out lol - people will pay attention when people start turning around in their driveways at all hours of the night... especially late at night on the weekends! Yay!

Friday, November 22
Too bad

When all those people realize that they need to participate in the communities governmental activities and not just when it impacts them, then maybe things will change. The council gave them the unanimous middle finger and they havent taken any drastic steps yet. Why? Too busy, I work, I baby sit, I'm sick, I I I I I I I. Too late!

Friday, November 22
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| Monday, November 25
perky

the city should not have allowed them to move there the traffic is out of control there now and we do not need another red light they wouldnt let them put a wendys in the vacant lot accross the street because of traffic and there was enough of people against this move maybe joes getting a little in his pocket

Tuesday, November 26
Cat

Can we not compromise? Find a solution with Carpionato, Residents and the DOT? We have experienced engineers that should be able to resolve the issue so both sides are satisfied. We really can't afford to lose that business.

Tuesday, November 26
Apollo

I agree Cat

Tuesday, November 26
KeepCalmandCarryOn

I hope the residents of this street win on this. There's no way traffic for a busy store like Dave's should be going through this neighborhood.

They need an entire new intersection reconfiguration at this busy area with plenty of crosswalks at and leading onto this area so there are no more fatalities. Almost impossible to see over the hill as you approach the Sunny Cove area while driving east on West Shore Rd. Very dangerous !

Make Dave's pay for the intersection.......Their outrageously high prices (on sub par products) ought to cover it.

Saturday, November 30
perky

i hope the mayor disapproves a red light for daves the traffic is to congested all ready the cty should not of allowed

them to put the store there what they need to do is make it no left turns they still need to put the light in front of vets on flashing to help keep traffic moving

5 days ago