Chances that an appeal could halt construction a 491,496 square foot warehouse and distribution center off Commerce Drive near the airport evaporated last Monday, when the day before the appeal was …
Chances that an appeal could halt construction a 491,496 square foot warehouse and distribution center off Commerce Drive near the airport evaporated last Monday, when the day before the appeal was to have been heard, it was withdrawn.
“I don’t have the constitution for it (an appeal),” Richard Cascella explained Friday. Cascella said he appealed the action of the Planning Board’s approval of a master plan and major land development project sought by Carpionato Properties Inc. and NorthPoint Development, because “I was the one with standing.” Cascella owns two houses on Hallene Road that abuts the warehouse site. Carpionato owned the property and NorthPoint building the project that it will own and operate.
“I was the one who would be damaged financially,” Cascella said.
Cascella was joined in the appeal by Frank and Julie Hoga, whose property also abuts the site. Others, he said, were concerned about the environmental impacts of the project and questioned whether the application had been properly vetted recorded by the city.
Specifically, Cascella appealed on grounds that the applicants did not obtain a zoning variance under the city’s freshwater wetlands regulation; that not all approvals granted were final; that the board did not address regulations governing subdivisions and that the applicants did not provide expert testimony on the project’s impact on property values.
In a two sentence email sent July 11 to the city’s Zoning Board of Review and the attorney for the applicants, Cascella writes he is respectfully withdrawing the appeal and asks that it be removed from the board’s agenda for the following evening.
Tenessa H. Azar, attorney for the applicants was ready to argue the Planning Board acted properly and there is “no evidence of prejudicial procedural error or clear error.”
She prepared a nine-page point-by-point response to appeal claims responding to, among other issues, that the city should have required the developer dedicate land for public purposes or payments in lieu of dedication.
Azar argues that the Development Review Regulations don’t have such a requirement although it says the board may require the “dedication of a portion of the land area of the subdivision or development project, or other public improvements for such purposes.” Azar emphasizes that the board “may” issue such a requirement, but it is not obligated to do so. She likewise points out that expert testimony on project impacts of surrounding property values is not a requirement to receive final plan approval.
Furthermore, Azar called the appeal “untimely” and lacking standing because is was filed 41 days after the board posted its decision on March 15, 2022 and state law says for an appeal to have standing it must be filed within 20 days of the decision being recorded by the City Clerk.
The appeal did not deter construction of the warehouse equivalent in size to the footprint of the Warwick Mall. Removal of top soil on the property that Carpionato leased to Confreda Farm to grow corn and other produce started almost immediately. Last week heavy equipment was elevating and compacting the site. Nearby were the steel trusses that will be raised to hold the roof once the floor has been poured and walls erected.
Cascella said he signed an agreement ending the appeal.
“I didn’t want to get anything from anybody,” he said.
Cascella does not reside in either of the houses that will face the warehouse. He said one has a tenant and the other is vacant.
Does he have an issue looking out at the warehouse?
“I don’t have a problem looking at it,” he said.
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