Coffee Connection on Douglas Pike possible

Coffee Connection on Douglas Pike possible

Plans for a coffee shop, Coffee Connection, will fill the right unit of the proposed development on Douglas Pike next door to Terrazza. Developers will return to the Planning Board on Thursday, April 18, with additional information requested by the board before a decision is issued.

SMITHFIELD – A Coffee Connection with a drive-thru and several retail stores may be coming to Douglas Pike next door to Terrazza if developers can offer the Planning Board ways to address traffic safety and concerns from abutters on sound and light.

The Planning Board voted unanimously at a late March meeting to continue the hearing for master plan approval for the development of two buildings at 655 and 665 Douglas Pike, one an 8,000-square-foot building with four retail units, and another a 5,000-square-foot building with 2,000 square feet of retail and 3,000 square feet filled by Coffee Connection.

Plans included a center lane to direct up to 10 cars around the back of the building and through the Coffee Connection drive-thru.

Smithfield will be the fourth location for Coffee Connection, which is also in Cumberland, North Providence, and Woonsocket. Known for its coffee beverages, the local franchise also serves breakfast sandwiches and pastries, lunch grinders, wraps and salads, and a large selection of frozen drinks and smoothies.

Coffee Connection would operate between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. daily.

Abutters are skeptical of traffic engineer John Shevlin’s estimates for peak hours between 7:45 and 8:45 a.m. at the coffee shop, which he said would bring in 74 vehicles entering and exiting in that hour.

David Martinelli of Fairway Drive said if those numbers are correct, the shop will be out of business in a year.

“Those are just not correct,” Martinelli said.

Martinelli said he was concerned about the traffic situation on Douglas Pike and backups on Limerock Road across the street. He said vehicles traveling along Douglas Pike tend to speed and make it difficult to enter or exit the road safely.

“We already have to fight a dangerous traffic situation right now. That dangerous traffic situation is going to become a deadly traffic situation,” he said.

Shevlin said the developer, DFJ Group, is prepared to do a full traffic study for the preliminary plan stage, and look at all the issues to determine potential mitigation to improve access.

Martinelli and his neighbor, Marge Marandola of Fairway Drive, said the development would be disruptive to their daily life. Plans show that the residential community is approximately 220 feet downhill from the proposed development.

Martinelli said the smell caused by the garbage created in a restaurant will go right into their homes. Marandola said she moved to Smithfield from North Providence six months ago to “get away from this baloney.”

“You’re ruining our dreams,” Marandola said.

The Planning Board requested that developers return to the April 18 Planning Board meeting for a decision on preliminary plans with an updated plan confronting traffic issues, noise and light screening for residents near the development, as well as a rendering more in compliance with the look of the neighborhood.