EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The ongoing fight between concerned residents and a local developer took center stage at Tuesday night’s East Providence City Council meeting.
The council voted 3-2 in favor of rezoning the old Metacomet Golf Course property, which is currently considered an “open space.”
The decision came after a lengthy discussion that began Tuesday night and stretched into early Wednesday morning.
Local developer Marshall Properties has plans to redevelop the area, although there are no set plans as to what would go there.
The property, located off Veterans Memorial Parkway, is more than 130 acres, and Marshall Properties wants to develop approximately 60 acres of it.
Those who are part of a group called “Keep Metacomet Green” tell 12 News they will never give up and will keep fighting against the developer’s plans.
“It’s green space, there’s not a lot left,” Jane Crevier said. “We don’t want to be Route 6 or Route 2 … it’s a city, but it feels like a town here in East Providence.”
During the meeting, the developers said they’ve made changes to their original plans and assure everyone they’ll be a good neighbor.
“We’re deeply disappointed by their actions. We think they didn’t quite understand the options that were available to them. We have to sit back and discuss where we go from here, but we’re certainly continuing,” Candy Seel said.
Neighbors have several concerns, including traffic in the area that shops or new properties would bring. The developer claims it wouldn’t be an issue, but those who attended the meeting think otherwise.
Council President Robert Britto tells 12 News the issue is now out of their hands.
“This has been a long process, far longer than we had anticipated. However, we’re here. It’s done. It’s over with. Now, we as a council and as a city, we can move forward and start working on other projects, in addition to working on other issues,” he said.
While the zoning change now allows the land to be developed, Britto said there are still plenty of hurdles the developer has to go through in front of the waterfront commission before any work can begin.