CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) ─ Residents in a Cranston neighborhood are fighting against a proposal that would allow for the construction of a shopping plaza in their backyards.
The developer, Coastal Partners LLC, introduced the plan to the Cranston City Council on Monday, according to a city spokesperson.
A city spokesperson said that the proposal was forwarded to the Ordinance Committee and will be discussed again in mid-September.
The property currently houses Mulligan’s Island golf course. It was originally a corn field and was mostly owned by the state. The owners of what is now Mulligan’s Island bought the land several years ago.
Rachel McNally of the Cranston Neighbors for Smart Development said the state allowed the purchase so it could be used as natural buffer between the neighborhood and nearby state buildings such as the ACI.
She believes the proposed project goes against the intended purpose of the property. Costco is named in the proposal as being one of the businesses that would be moving in, as well as three other commercial buildings and dozens of residential properties.
Members of the Cranston Neighbors for Smart Development group gathered Tuesday evening to discuss the potential impacts of the proposal.
Those who are against the plan tell Eyewitness News that it’s not about the development itself, it’s about finding the right fit for the property, which abuts the neighborhood.
“We are not an anti-development group, we are not against development in Cranston. It needs to be something that fits there,” McNally said.
McNally said in order for the proposal to move forward, the Cranston City Council will need to approve a zoning change that would allow the new businesses to move in.
She is urging residents to speak up against the proposal and tell their representatives how they feel.
This isn’t the first time the group has had to come together against a developer’s proposal for the property. In 2007, they fought against a proposal from a different developer to add a BJ’s Wholesale Club, among other big box stores, and ultimately won.
McNally was also a leader in the effort to stop that project. In that case, she said the developer ultimately pulled out of the proposal before it was voted on by the city.
Resident Krista Tirocchi tells Eyewitness News that she is expecting her first child and does not want something like a busy shopping plaza so close to her home.
“This is our first home, and we wanted it to be our forever home,” she said.
She said she adores the neighborhood, so much so that she invited her father to live next door.
That in itself, she said, proves what kind of neighborhood this is.
“There’s so much life and so much character and integrity to it. To just put that there and just say ‘too bad, so sad,’ I mean, look at the impact, it has already had so much impact,” she said.
The owner of Mulligan’s Island said he did not have a comment on the proposal but he would reach out if he had anything to say about it in the future. Eyewitness News reached out to Coastal Partners for comment and is waiting to hear back.
Several politicians, including R.I. House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello and Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, attended the meeting. Many candidates in the city’s upcoming mayoral race also attended.
McNally said it was intended to be a small neighborhood information session, but the attention it received proves how many people are invested in it.
A city spokesperson said there is a walk-through of the proposed site scheduled for August.