Board approves two restaurants, storage facility

Board approves two restaurants, storage facility

Plans show an approved Wendy’s restaurant at 1460 Mineral Spring Ave.
Planners take steps to limit impact on homes

NORTH PROVIDENCE – The Planning Board on May 9 granted approval to a new Wendy’s restaurant and Providence Bagel store, at 1460 and 1480 Mineral Spring Ave., as well as a new self-storage facility on Douglas Avenue.

The bagel shop and Wendy’s received nods despite extensive concerns expressed by residents of Spicer Street, particularly about the impact of drive-through window activity.

Wendy’s

The proposed 33,524-square-foot Wendy’s at the corner of David Street, planned by local developer Joe Iaciofano and his 1460 Properties LLC, is replacing the former Mozzarella’s/Bickford’s/ Tolento’s/Fitzy’s Pub. It would have both indoor and outdoor seating, and access would be mostly by Mineral Spring Avenue.

The Wendy’s proposal will also decrease runoff from the site, as there will be 7,000 square feet less of paved property than currently. New planting areas, with irrigation, will enhance the site, testified experts.

Chairman Peter Iacobucci said he has concern about bringing traffic onto the residential David Street. Iaciofano disagreed, saying he doesn’t see anyone going around the building to get onto David Street. Instead, he said, according to the minutes of the meeting, they’ll just go directly down David Street if they want to.

Board member Warren Riccitelli said he’s been on the board for many years, and for at least three decades officials have not allowed commercial connections to side streets. He said officials need to preserve the quality of life in residential neighborhoods, adding that he is against any commercial access on side streets.

Riccitelli noted that this would be across from Taco Bell, and that there is also a Dunkin’ Donuts and a drive-through planned next door. He said he wondered whether a driveway could be shared between Wendy’s and Providence Bagel.

Henry Riccitelli asked Iaciofano why the David Street exit would be needed if it’s not going to be used, noting that emergency workers could unlock a chain if it went up, but Iaciofano said he prefers that the entrance be kept open, saying it would maintain better access for emergency vehicles.

Iacobucci said members are trying to preserve neighborhoods and conform to the comprehensive plan by restricting commercial access to side streets. He said Iaciofano will have to close the sidewalk and install landscaping or add a chain.

Representatives for Iaciofano said they’d be willing to block the David Street exit if necessary.

Board member Shane Piche also emphasized the need to limit traffic access on side streets as much as possible, saying there will be both increased car traffic and pedestrian traffic to the property.

Resident Ronald Marcello, of 9 Spicer St., said he has concerns about the drive-through speaker at Wendy’s, with the window open until 1 a.m., as well as water on the site.

Robert Maher, of 15 Spicer St., said he’s concerned about the planned addition of a larger water pipe on the site, saying more water will flow through a neighborhood that already floods. Representatives for the developer said maximum flow will be restricted by the size of the upstream pipe; reducing the amount of paved area will reduce the rate of flow.

Mayor Charles Lombardi said the water problem at the rear of the property is the town’s problem. Taxpayers spent $860,000 in a first phase rebuilding of the culvert from Evergreen Parkway and down behind Taco Bell, he said. The second phase would pick up this section and down to Alexander and Lexington and relieve backup.

Lombardi said officials are happy to hear that a larger pipe is planned, saying they’re currently seeking additional funding to complete phase two of the project. North Providence needs to do what it can to attract new businesses, despite limitations on growth, said the mayor, who assured residents that he and others are doing everything they can to address their concerns.

Hugo Otero, of 11 Spicer St., also asked questions about the work and how it will impact flooding, saying his land has eroded over time. He asked whether there will be an adequate buffer, and was told there will be.

Town Planner David Westcott said he wanted to make clear that there is already FEMA flood zone both upstream and downstream of the site. The town has taken some actions to reduce the frequency of flooding, but the area still floods in major storms. Officials have not been provided with any plans for the culvert replacement, so they really don’t know what is proposed yet and can’t evaluate impacts on flooding, he said.

Other residents offered concerns on potential trash, noise, and traffic. Iacobucci said the board heard the concerns, but its purview is specific to consistency with the town’s comprehensive plan.

The board first voted to combine the master plan and preliminary plan stages. They then adopted the findings in Westcott’s memo and approved the preliminary plan for Wendy’s with several conditions, including: that the plan be modified to eliminate the David Street connection except for emergency use; that a sidewalk and appropriate landscaping along David Street be added; that all required state permits be issued; that plans for culvert replacement be approved by the DPW; and that the embankment at the rear of the property be cleared of trash and debris and stabilized to prevent further erosion.

The board voted to advise the Zoning Board of Review that the granting of a special use permit for a drive-through window would be consistent with the town’s comprehensive plan if access to David Street is closed or restricted.

Providence Bagel

Representatives for Jacky Ko, owner of Jacky’s Restaurant, presented conceptual plans for the new Providence Bagel on 15,900 square feet of land at 1480 Mineral Spring Ave., next door to the planned Wendy’s, noting that they’re still pulling together applications for a preliminary plan application. Providence Bagel is not a coffee shop, and is not fast food, but is a place where people come in for a bagel or a bagel sandwich, said the applicant. There will not be any negative environmental impacts from the project, with one opening on Mineral Spring Avenue for both entering and exiting.

The applicant asked the board to allow an opening on Spicer Street for employee parking and for dumpster servicing, noting the challenges of the property. The building itself would cover about 3,500 square feet. The applicant is pledging to work up a landscaping plan to reduce the amount of paved space, as well as to be a good neighbor. Representatives noted that they haven’t received one complaint at their location on North Main Street in Providence.

Board member Warren Riccitelli noted that a home behind the proposed building is only 20 feet away, asking how the owner will protect them. Experts for Providence Bagel said there will be a high fence.

About 30 percent of Providence Bagel’s business comes through the drive-through, with most traffic before 11 a.m.

Antonio Fontes of 7 Spicer St., testified that the drive-through “is going to be practically in my kitchen,” saying he’s ready to retire but his peace is now gone. He said the signs at the nearby Jacky’s are like a “disco palace,” and he’s worried about more.

Nora Fontes, also of 7 Spicer St., offered concerns about cars accessing the property from the rear, as well as fears about rats and lights. When she complained about the lights at Jacky’s, she said she was told to get a black-out sheet for her window.

Board member Wendy Regan said she understands the emotion from Fontes, but said the board is restricted in its authority in approving a proposal if it meets local requirements.

“We can’t base it on whether we want it or we like it or whether it’s pretty,” she said.

Ronald Marcello, of 7 Spicer St., said he’s concerned about the drive-through speaker.

Virginia and Robert Maher, of 13 Spicer St., said ever since the nearby Dunkin’ Donuts was built at Spicer and Mineral Spring Avenue, Spicer to Alexander has become a shortcut, causing a dangerous situation.

Lombardi noted that the parking situation at Dunkin’ Donuts was finalized before his time in office, saying Spicer Street should have no parking. He said he’s going to police and the Town Council about prohibiting parking on that side of Spicer, saying there could be an issue once the Providence Bagel project is completed.

The board approved the master plan for the proposed Providence Bagel on that condition that the Spicer Street entrance be reserved for employee parking and servicing the dumpster. Members also advised the Zoning Board of Review that granting a special use permit for the drive-through would be consistent with the master plan.

Storage facility

The board also approved a preliminary plan for a proposed self-storage facility at 1204 Douglas Ave., a 4.1-acre site in a manufacturing limited zone. Applicant Douglas Avenue Associates Inc. and U.S. Development II LLC are seeking to build the facility.

Attorney Kerin Browning, of Moses Ryan LTD, said that since a master plan hearing last year, the applicant has provided an easement for the driveway, and the Town Council approved a zone change, a comprehensive plan change and a street abandonment. The company has also obtained a rear setback variance and all of the state permits necessary for preliminary plan approval.

Experts for the applicant addressed questions on drainage and a proposed infiltration system under the pavement. They assured planners that the system will be installed to operate properly, and said any possible problems will be addressed once the project is done.

The board adopted the findings of an advisory memorandum and approved the preliminary plan based on the conditions that the application include a subdivision plan, that the DPW approve a drainage plan, that the applicant work with residents along Terrace Street on planting a landscape buffer, and that final approval be delegated to staff.

Comments

This would be the perfect opportunity for the planning board to actually put together a PLAN for this town. A large lot of land on Miserable Spring Ave, would be the perfect spot for a business that would attract people from other towns and bring money into North Providence. Yet, we're going to settle for a fast food restaurant and yet another coffee shop. Good grief.

NPresident, a board can't just merge two parcels owned by two different people.