Topgolf proposal passes Cranston’s Ordinance Committee, moves to full council

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CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — The proposal to build a massive sports facility off Sockanosset Cross Road in Cranston is heading to the full city council. 

Thursday night, the city’s Ordinance Committee unanimously approved the zoning changes needed to build a Topgolf facility. The full council will now vote on the proposal on Monday, Jan. 28.

At Thursday’s meeting, residents raised concerns about traffic congestion and noise due to the potential construction of a brand new sporting facility.

“I know this is going to happen, but I’d like  to be on record to stay a lot of people aren’t thrilled about this,” Gayle Harding, of Cranston, said. “I have to say for being told in October this was a dead deal, it’s very lively corpse.”

The developer, Carpionato Group, is hoping to replace the old Citizens Bank building on Sockanosset Cross Road with a Topgolf.

The plan calls for the demolition of a portion of the facility, which is approximately 300,000 square feet, leaving the remaining space as an office building. The 35,000 square-foot Topgolf facility and adjacent parking lots will be built on that property.

Topgolf advertises itself as a sports and entertainment company with more than 50 locations globally. It offers not only golf rounds but a driving range, music, restaurant and bars.

The Cranston Planning and Zoning Commission approved a zoning change last week that would accommodate the height of the nets used to catch the golf balls. Once the City Council approves that zoning change, construction can begin.

The proposal for the massive sporting facility is causing unrest among Cranston residents who live nearby. The Garden City Alliance has expressed opposition to the construction of the facility, citing traffic congestion as a major concern due to the already busy Chapel View and Garden City Center.

The Carpionato Group released a traffic assessment in response, which was discussed at Thursday’s meeting.

In the traffic assessment, Carpionato Group President Kelly Coates said they proved Topgolf will generate less traffic during weekday rush hour periods than Citizens Bank did.

Instead, the study found Topgolf would have peak periods on the weekends, especially in the summer, which Coates said is when Chapel View and Garden City are not peaking.

The Garden City Alliance said the traffic study does not include the most common times that traffic would be expected at Topgolf, which they said are Friday and Saturday evening peak times and the facility’s closure at 1 a.m.

“Residents feel the proposed development of a Topgolf facility in Chapel View will have a profound and long term impact on the already dense traffic in our communities,” the Garden City Alliance said in a statement.

Coates said the new facility will only better the city by bringing in additional tax revenue and creating jobs.

“After 30 years testifying before this council, I can look you in the eye and say this will add value to all the commercial properties there,” Coates said during the meeting Thursday. 

Coates said this is the only location Topgolf is considering in Rhode Island.

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