Council votes to re-zone former Metacomet Golf Club property in East Providence

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – A 6-hour long debate in East Providence over what to do with the former Metacomet Golf Club property fell short for residents.

The East Providence City Council voted 3-2 to rezone the land from open space to developed property after a passionate plea from residents to keep it green.

“You’re signing off on a lot of things that will never be able to be replaced and we will be feeling it for a very, very long time,” Resident Kristen Lund said.

“I’m tired and I’m upset because I feel like we may have just lost this beautiful land that I had envisioned being maybe a state park,” Resident Linda Leete said. “Why not East Providence?”

The vote will now give the owners, Marshall Properties, the approval to move forward with planning; however, they still have many hurdles to jump through with the waterfront commission.

“The vote last night literally kicked the can down to the waterfront commission,” Resident Candy Seel said. “They voted to take themselves out of any further decision making from here on out. They’re elected representatives of the people and we feel it was their responsibility to stick with it.”

The property is 138-acres, but the owners say the city won’t lose all that land and that it would be split into three sections. Two would be developed for housing and businesses, and the third would be a nine-hole golf course.

Councilors also voted to restrict hotels in the space.

City Council President Robert Britto released a statement following the vote:

“The City Council has been dealing with the request for a zone change for more than a year.   Under the previous current zone, the owner could have developed the entire 100 + acre parcel as a matter of right to include building and parking spaces for schools, hospitals, public utilities, and live work units which would have had a far greater impact on the surrounding residents and neighborhoods.  

The approved zone change will preserve a nine-hole golf course with a deed restriction that will ensure that it remains protected forever, provides significant buffers to residential neighborhoods, and limits the square footage and building heights in the new zoning district.   

Once the City Council correctly determined that taking the property by eminent domain was not economically feasible, this zone change now balances the interests of the developer, grows our tax base, while at the same time preserving green space and open space and allows for measured appropriate residential/commercial development including a guarantee of affordable housing that so many of EP residents desperately need.  

The ordinance will now be sent to the Mayor for his approval.

I am happy that this is now over, and we will now begin working on the FY 2022 budget.”

Residents protested the development of the former Metacomet Golf Club prior to an East Providence City Council meeting that lasted into early Wednesday morning. Protestors wore green shirts and waved signs outside of East Providence City Hall, calling to stop the re-zoning of the golf course.

The “Keep Metacomet Green” group has been fighting the development of the former golf course since July of 2020.

The group of nearly 3,000 members is concerned the re-zoning of the property would cause the loss of beloved green space.

“We’re not trying to save a golf course, everybody thinks we’re trying to save a private golf course; that’s not it at all. It’s green space. There’s not a lot left, and we don’t want to be Route 6 or Route 2, and Route 1.”

WLNE-TV 2021

Categories: News, Rhode Island