EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The developer seeking to convert the Metacomet Golf Club into a mixed-use development has withdrawn its application for a zoning change just hours before a crucial City Council meeting, Target 12 has learned.
The mayor’s office confirmed it received a letter of withdrawal from the company, Marshall Properties, on Friday morning. Marshall has faced fierce opposition to its proposal from community activists who’ve organized under the name Keep Metacomet Green.
The East Providence City Council had been scheduled to meet about — and potentially vote on — Marshall’s request to rezone Metacomet at a hearing Friday evening at 6. City officials initially announced on social media the meeting was being cancelled, but later reversed course and said the council would still meet.
Marshall had sought the zoning change to develop 67 of Metacomet’s 138 acres with residential and commercial buildings. The golf club was bought just last year for $750,000 by Metacomet Property Company LLC, whose investors include Rhode Island native and pro golfer Brad Faxon.
In a defiant statement, however, Marshall Properties spokesperson Bill Fischer said the company will still “be acquiring and redeveloping the property” even without the zoning change. He told 12 News earlier this week that Marshall plans to close on its purchase of the golf club next month and proceed with a “Plan B.”
“The immediate abutters of the property and surrounding neighborhood want things to stay as they are without considering the rights or positions of private property owners or the adverse impacts of foregoing such a significant economic driver – this is not realistic or attainable,” Fischer said.
He also accused opponents of spreading “rumor and misinformation” about Marshall’s plans for the site.
In a statement, the group’s leaders said: “Keep Metacomet Green is gratified that the developer has pulled back its petition for rezoning. We remain optimistic that another investor group will come forward with an offer to purchase the property and retain the iconic Metacomet Golf Club as it exists today. We are confident that Plan B will never come to fruition.”
It’s unclear if Marshall would have had the necessary votes from the five-member council at Friday’s meeting. At-Large City Councilor Bob Rodericks told 12 News on Thursday he planned to vote no.
“Many constituents, with which I have great respect for, have given sincere and reasonable objections to the proposal,” Rodericks said in an email. “A 10-year window of development is also not appealing to me. Good sources claim other suitors are interested in purchasing Metacomet and keeping it as a golf course. We’ll see.”
Ted Nesi (email@example.com) is WPRI 12’s politics and business editor and a Target 12 investigative reporter. He is a weekly panelist on Newsmakers and hosts Executive Suite. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook