East Providence city council to vote on rezoning of former Metacomet golf club property

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – The East Providence City Council will vote Tuesday night whether or not to rezone the former Metacomet Golf Club property for redevelopment.

A battle over the use of the property has been going on for more than a year.

“We have been fighting to keep Metacomet green since last July,” said Candy Seel, one of the leaders of Keep Metacomet Green (KMG).

The grassroots group formed in July of 2020 and has since grown to 2,800 members. The group formed when the now-owners, Marshall Properties, petitioned for a rezone of the property.

“In September of last year, right before the public hearing that the council was supposed to vote on it, they withdrew their petition. The following week, they completed a deal with the Brad Faxon investment group to purchase the property for significant, millions of dollars over what the Brad Faxon group had paid for it,” Seel said.

Since last year, Marshall Properties has had several iterations of plans for the property. ABC6 reached out to the company for details on its current plan but did not receive a response.

They petitioned for another rezoning this spring.

“They came back for a rezone of the property, it went to the planning board, the planning board recommended, a positive recommendation to the city council, and tonight we’re having that public hearing.”

Seel said Marshall plans on retaining seven holes of the golf course and installing two, making a nine-hole golf course. She said the company also plans to gift close to 10 acres to the city, but the rest of the land would be redeveloped.

“The other 60 acres they plan to develop. That’s where the plans are very murky. If they are rezoned, they could have commercial properties up to 30,000 square feet. They could have residential/retail buildings up to five stories,” said Seel. “Almost anything you could think of, they can have there. You just have to look around this neighborhood to see this is not appropriate. You have to look at this parkway and say this can’t sustain it.”

Keep Metacomet Green had hoped the city would step in and take over the property by eminent domain. That option was shot down by the city council in April after they brought in an appraiser who priced the property at more than $8 million. KMG said they’re still advocating for that option.

“We would like to see them purchase the property, retain the 18-hole golf course, and where the clubhouse used to be, as we say in Rhode Island, which Marshall had torn down for some reason… we’d like to see a community center built there.”

In the short term, the group is hoping the city council will postpone the vote Tuesday night so an impact study can be done.

“That puts the cart before the horse, and if we don’t know what the impact’s going to be before we rezone, then it’s too late. That’s why we’re fighting so hard. It’s not only for the abutters, the neighbors… but for our whole community for generations to come.”

If the city doesn’t side with them, Seel said they’ll have to regroup and come up with another way.

“Our group will see what other actions we can take aside from protesting and asking.”

The city council meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. and Keep Metacomet Green is holding a rally at 5:30 p.m.

ABC6 News will be live at the rally in our 5:30 p.m. newscast. This is a developing story and will be updated.

WLNE-TV 2021

Categories: News, Regional News, Rhode Island