TIVERTON – Town Council has adopted a set of development standards and guidelines, hoping to gain momentum on a 177-acre industrial park decades in the making.
The standards, detailed in a 27-page document produced by the Planning Board, call for the development of a “green” eco-conscious park, near Fish Road and Route 24. The document lays out a plan to allow use for multiple industries, including wind energy industries, and other technology businesses and restaurants.
The park will most likely serve companies in the marine, defense and building trades industries, but its zoning as part of a planned development park will allow other hospitality and manufacturing businesses to locate there.
The guidelines emphasize visual aesthetics, which include smaller parking lots located behind buildings, meandering sidewalks, and landscape and architectural design that preserve the natural topography of the site. In addition to buildings and parking lots, the guidelines call for walking trails and preserved open space.
Natural landscapes will be left intact, according to the plans, with large boulders and mature trees among the elements that will be preserved.
The guidelines outline parking standards for the site, including minimal use of curb cuts at driveways and entrances.
“Parking lots shall not be the dominant visual element of any site,” the document states.
The project is still a few years out, said Leonard Schmidt, who serves on the town’s Economic Development Committee. Next, Schmidt said, the town will determine the park’s “value and utilization,” as well as how to market it. Other questions include whether the town will retain ownership of the park, or sell it to developer. Schmidt said the likely outcome will be a partial town ownership and private management arrangement.
The guidelines represent what Schmidt called “the best path forward,” moving the town “one step further to developing that property.”
“It’s kind of early yet,” Schmidt said. “But it’s a very important milestone we just passed.”
The town has owned the land parcel for more than 20 years. Recently, the East Bay Energy Consortium, an energy organization consisting of Rhode Island’s East Bay towns, has eyed the industrial park as an ideal location for a wind farm. There has been other interest to develop the site for renewable energy use, as well. In February, Natural Energy Generation president Gerald Felise offered to by the parcel from the town for $3 million.
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