Burrrillville zoners approve relief for construction of retail shop on vacant lot on Bronco Highway


BURRILLVILLE – A Connecticut-based company received the required variance this month to build a 10,640-square-foot, single-story retail store on a portion of a vacant 11-acre lot on Bronco Highway, with the tenant “to be determined.”

Rebel-Union Partners, LLC needed relief from the zoning requirement that the building feature 100 parking spaces in order to move forward with the project, and was approved for a 37-space lot. The developer additionally requested relief from the restrictions on the size of allowed signage to erect a 50-square-foot sign, and relief from the prohibition of illuminated indoor signs in the zoning district, which were also both granted at a Zoning Board meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 14.

The store will be built on the northeast portion of a lot by the intersection of Broncos Highway and Douglas Turnpike owned by Nason Square LLC, a North Smithfield business managed by Lucien Benoit, according to records filed with the Department of State.

A zoning resolution filed on the project notes the proposed retail store will feature an 8,845-square-foot sales floor with access off Bronco Highway. Regulation for the property, in a general commercial, A-80 zone, requires one car space for every 90 square feet of floor space devoted to sales, plus one car space for every two store employees. The developer had previously received a positive recommendation from the Planning Board for relief from 63 of those spaces.

Rebel Union representative Marc Diablo told zoners that while the tenant for the building has yet to be determined, hours of operation for the, “dry goods,” store will be from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Engineer Jim Cassidy of Connecticut-based firm Hallisey, Pearson & Cassidy presented plans showing a single entrance/exit and the complete project with parking contained to a 1.83-acre section of the lot.

Two abutters spoke against the project citing traffic and safety concerns, as well as concern the structure could be used as a marijuana dispensary.

Diablo noted that the business will perform a traffic study of the area, with any concerns to be addressed by the Rhode Island Department of Transportation.

In granting the variance, zoners noted that the request for less parking spaces will ultimately result in less pavement, and a more rural final development, and that the structure will abuts other commercial businesses.

“The board (was) in overall agreement that this allowed use with reduced parking and illuminated sign would have limited impact on the area,” notes the resolution granting the relief.

The reduced parking request was approved unanimously without stipulation, while the increased size for the sign was approved 4-1 without stipulation, with Zoner Ericka Doherty casting the dissenting vote. The request for an internal, illuminated sign was passed in a split 3-2 vote, with Zoners Giovanna Patriarca and Jeremy Page casting dissent.

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  1. Leaving aside the irrational boomer nimby fears about a dispensary, it looks to me like its more likely to be a car parts, liquor store or some other equipment store.

    Rebel Union lists the address on the application as 93 N Main St West Hartford CT, which is just a residential building but is listed in town records as being owned by Mack V Development LLC. Mack V apparently owns the strip in putnam with Big Gary’s and Tractor Supply, as well as a couple other retail lots in NY and Connecticut, both prominently featuring Tractor Supply and some more liquor stores

  2. I pray it is not an MJ dispensary selling high concentration THC products.
    The hippy weed of the past has been replaced by concentrates that don’t offer the same benefits. I’ve been suffering with spinal injuries since 1988. I’ve had 8 surgeries and my spine is fused from tailbone to skull. The old MJ products were very helpful but over the years as recreational MJ has become accepted, the level of THC in the products has risen to unsafe levels. It’s been made addictive too. No doubt to ensure a returning customer base. The state allowed them to move too fast with all this and they ruined a good thing. So much so, I did not renew my medical license and swore off this new powerful stuff. Vaping cartridges are now 80% to 90%. This is nuts!
    Med/rec MJ needs to be revisited. It’s all about the money now, not the patients and the benefits.

  3. Hopefully they will adhere to the Route 102 Study Committee’s requirements to maintain a “tree buffer” for any buildings along this highway to maintain visual aesthetics. Unfortunately, a variance of this recommendation was allowed for the newest retail development at the corners of East Ave. and Rt. 102 and may have set a precedent.

  4. It’s about time we allow some retail space in this town. Tax revenues are needed desperately. Our taxes are way too high. Pretty sad when the only thing that thrives are bars and liquor stores. Hopefully they’ll put something good in there.

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