On Tuesday, members of Lincoln’s Technical Review Committee met to discuss the projects ahead of a Planning Board meeting next Wednesday, Dec. 18.
The projects on the table include the redevelopment of the Whipple Cullen farmland on Old River Road into 55-and-older condos, two mill rehabs in Saylesville, and an application to build new apartment buildings across from the MacColl YMCA on Breakneck Hill Road.
The Planning Board has until Feb. 25 to decide whether to award master plan approval to the Breakneck Hill development, which first came before the TRC last year. The committee expressed a number of concerns with the project at that time, and Town Planner Al Ranaldi stopped the project from moving on to the Planning Board by issuing a certificate of non-completeness, the first in his tenure as planner.
For the last year, Women’s Development Corp. has been working to address the committee’s concerns, which include the overall project density, traffic, and issues with ownership of a water pipe feeding the property.
The committee was previously concerned that the water pipe would be privately owned, despite running under a state road, and the potential consequences of such an arrangement in the event of a break.
Since they first presented their plans last year, Women’s Development has come to an agreement with the Narragansett Bay Commission for the commission to take ownership of the pipe.
The nonprofit developer is hoping to earn approval to build a pair of 22-unit apartment buildings, which would be 100 percent affordable. There are still issues with project density, as Women’s Development has not yet provided the town with a percentage. While the town looks for less than 100 percent density, Ranaldi said this project is significantly more.
The project would be coupled with roadway improvements to Breakneck Hill, including a new red light and left turning lane coming off Route 146.
The Whipple Cullen Farm project is also coming back to the board for a pre-application discussion. The Planning Board previously denied John Cullen’s application to build a 55-and-older condo community on his land at 99 Old River Road, but the State Housing Appeals Board has overturned that decision and allowed the project to move forward.
Contractor Ken Block has agreed to come back to the board to provide a refresher on the project next week. Engineers from Fuss and O’Neill have been tapped to help Town Engineer Leslie Quish go through the extensive plans.
Lastly, two mill conversions are up for discussion, both located at the historic Sayles Mill complex in Saylesville.
The first, 60 Industrial Circle, is seeking final plan approval, pending storm water permit approval from the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management. That application by Dakota Partners calls for 22 affordable apartment units.
In the same complex, Walker Lofts L.P. is hoping to redevelop several vacant mill buildings into apartments. That development lacked parking, so the property owner has been scooping up abutting parcels for the last year in an attempt to expand parking for future residents under the town’s requirements.
Western Oil owner Jared Raftery said he was concerned about underground utilities they may cross over into his property. “If it affects us, do we have to pay for it?” he asked.
Representatives for the developer said they’re working on mapping all underground utilities.
Raftery said his other top concern is parking, especially along the intended right-of-way. “That would be a problem for us if he stays the course,” he said, adding that he has been negotiating with the developer to secure parking spots for his company in front of the building.
Raftery said he agreed not to bid on one of the mill buildings that went to auction over the summer so that Walker Lofts L.P. could make the purchase it needed to add parking. In doing so, he said the developer agreed cars would come in through the front of Raftery’s building, not the back.
“Talk to your client, or we’ll be up in Superior Court,” he told attorneys for the developer, who maintained that their client has a legal right to access the property via that driveway.