Comstock Pkwy. project gets first approval

Posted 12/13/22

Comstock Industrial LLC shared its plans to build two industrial warehouse type structures on a 17.3 acre wooded site on Comstock Parkway with planning commissioners on Dec. 6. The body unanimously …

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Comstock Pkwy. project gets first approval


Comstock Industrial LLC shared its plans to build two industrial warehouse type structures on a 17.3 acre wooded site on Comstock Parkway with planning commissioners on Dec. 6. The body unanimously approved (7 to 0) the preliminary application which will now move onto the Development Plan Review Committee.

The applicant seeks to construct two buildings on the property: one is set at 200,000 square feet and the other at 70,000 square feet. The area is zoned M-1 Industrial which allows manufacturing, warehousing, trucking activities and ancillary offices. The developer received master plan approval in December 2021.

Cranston’s Principal Planner Douglas McLean said abutting properties contain a mix of land uses – including multi-family residential, industrial uses and commercial uses (such as a bank, daycare and restaurant). He added that the Planning Department gave a positive recommendation for the project as it conforms with the future land use map and comprehensive plan.

The staff recommended several conditions for the applicant including no operation or parking or trucking vehicles or other fleet vehicles on the south side of the larger industrial building which abuts residential properties. Additionally, the applicant will need to submit details on the proposed fence along the southern property line as part of the final plan submission stage; this request will demonstrate conformance with sound mitigation measures that the applicant’s noise study indicated.

Beta Engineering provided a traffic study which the city peer reviewed at the developer’s expense. While the project is deemed a by-right use, there were concerns about traffic impacts within the Comstock Parkway corridor which already has its challenges. At the time of master plan approval, the Planning Department asked the developer to investigate potential noise impacts. The applicant involved Tech Environmental Inc. of Waltham, Massachusetts, and the company performed an acoustical modeling study that showed compliance with the city’s noise regulations. This report, along with the applicant’s landscaping plan, were also peer reviewed by the city at the applicant’s expense. The applicant also obtained an Insignificant Alteration Permit from the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) for two wetlands located on the site.

On Dec. 6, Attorney Robert Murray, who represents the Comstock Industrial LLC, noted that this is the last piece of industrial land in this complex. He brought four field experts to the commission to answer questions on the project’s landscaping, noise mitigation efforts and any additional concerns.

William Walters, a professional engineer from Benesch Engineering, explained that there would be one main entrance for the site coming off Comstock Parkway; the project is designed to keep the trucks on the north side and far from neighbors. Marc Wallace, Vice President at Tech Environmental, shared that there has been a lot of growth in warehouse development, and is familiar with concerns about sound. There will also be several layers of trees near the residential properties to reduce sound.

Property owners within 100 foot radius of the project were notified of the proposed development and attended the Dec. 6 meeting to share thoughts on the application. Residents said this project did not make the best use of the land and voiced concerns about traffic and noise. While the traffic study showed no major impacts, residents were not convinced.

State Representative Barbara Ann Fenton Fung (R – District 15, Cranston), whose district covers this area, and has worked with the condo association owners. She told commissioners that individuals purchased the property knowing that eventually something like this project could happen.

“I think the scale of the project is overwhelming at first and it’s quite the change – and change is difficult,” said Fenton Fung.

She inquired if the wall that abuts the daycare was a retaining wall or sound wall. Murray shared that the wall was for sound mitigation. Fenton Fung added that lighting is a concern for residents since, if the company installed stadium lights, this may shine into the residential properties. She agreed with neighbors that Comstock Parkway is not in great condition and extremely narrow. If trucks run into a problem, there is little area for them to get off the road.

She doesn’t think neighbors are exaggerating about the traffic.

“Despite traffic counts, Comstock Parkway is a difficult road at present. I cannot imagine what it would be with more trucks,” Fenton Fung said.

The project is a $20+ million investment. At this time, Murray noted that there is no particular tenant.

Commissioner Steve Frias said the project would expand the city’s tax base and be a benefit to Cranston. His concern with the project was that it was right next to a condo association.

“The fault of that is not the developer or condo association. It was the people 20 years ago – the Planning Staff, Planning Commission, City Council and Mayor – who decided it was a good idea to put a residential neighborhood next to an M-1 zone. I consider that unfortunate; it should never have happened.”

Comstock, plans


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