Construction could begin as soon as this year on one of the larger recent residential developments in the city comprising more than 20 acres and 48 dwelling units, according to the attorney and a minority owner of the project.
K. Joseph Shekarchi, who will represent M&M Land Company before the Planning Board on Oct. 10, said the project on Major Potter Road in Cowesett is designed for empty nesters and young professionals seeking a quiet, remote setting yet with easy access to major highways.
“This is a unique location,” said Shekarchi. To be built in stages of two to four buildings at a time, when completed the development will consist of 24 buildings, each with two single-level condominiums and garages. He estimated the condos would sell in the range of $400,000.
The Planning Board will consider final approval of the major land development, named Stonebridge Crossing, when it meets Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Warwick City Hall. Various developments for the property within a 400-foot radius of two multi-unit complexes, Spencer Woods and Eagle Run, have been proposed over the years. M&M Land Company and its principal owner, Kevin Murphy, formerly of Rhode Island and now living in Florida, came forward with a plan to merge two lots to create a single lot of 20.65 acres. The development would be built on about 11 acres with the rest of the area, which is largely wetlands, kept as open space.
As he has done with other developers he has represented and, as requested by the Planning Department, Shekarchi held a community meeting in July 2015 at City Hall to present the plan and gain feedback from neighbors. Concerns were raised over traffic, road conditions, buffering, appearance of the development, blasting and a construction schedule. Issues raised were addressed in plans that went to the Planning Board in September of 2015 for master plan approval. The City Council approved a zone change with waivers for parking within 15 feet of a residence and less than required separation between buildings in January 2016.
One abutting neighbor, Cindy Nordstrom, who was reached Sunday, said she knew nothing of the Planning Board meeting. She said she had not received a notice, although she was well informed of the project from the neighborhood meeting held in 2015 and Planning Board meeting later that year.
She still has questions of the development, saying that the former owner of the property, the late Frank Ekloff, had assured her the property could never be developed as it had been preserved as open space. Nordstrom said records have not been found to substantiate that, but she feels the city hasn’t adequately pursued the claim. Also not answered is whether she will be hit with a sewer assessment when the developer extends the line past her property. She notes that at considerable expense she closed her cesspool and installed a septic system.
Shekarchi called the project “a first class facility” that will result in upgraded water and sewer services for the neighborhood. Assuming final approval and waiting for the period in which a decision can be legally contested to expire, Shekarchi is hopeful site work could start this year. He said a contractor has not been selected and that the development is out for bids.
Among recommendations made by the planning department are that open space and walking trails defined in the plan be maintained by the condominium association; that the developer provide a performance bond for Major Potter Road restoration, monumentation and landscaping and that, as a courtesy, the developer provide notification to neighbors when there is to be blasting.