Proposed Seasons service station for Tiverton, RI, under review


TIVERTON – Hundreds of Tiverton residents have organized against a proposed Seasons 24 hour service stationconvenience store and drive-thru to be built at the corner of Main and Souza roads.

A representative for the developer Colbea Enterprises LLC attended the July 12 planning board meeting to hear town residents’ concerns about the project, and he had a lot to listen to.

Residents have expressed opposition to the proposal due to concerns about traffic, crime, air and light pollution, and a lack of compatibility with Tiverton’s comprehensive community plan, which calls for the preservation of Tiverton’s rural character while by providing for a variety of commercial and residential zoning.

Preserve Tiverton attorney Karen Benson exposed a number of flaws in the traffic study submitted by the developer, saying that one-day data from March 2021 was not a sufficient sample to draw meaningful conclusions about the impact of the proposed project on traffic patterns on Main Road, Souza Road, Fish Road and Schooner Drive.

After hearing all the evidence, the planning board unanimously approved a motion to commission an independent study of traffic in the area, as well as a separate motion to continue the public hearing on the gas station proposal at its September 13 meeting.

City administrator Christopher Cotta told the Daily News he anticipated the council’s decision to commission an independent study, in part because the traffic analysis submitted by Colbea Enterprises “wasn’t worth the paper on which it was printed,” and said he hoped the independent study could be done jointly between the city and the state Department of Transportation.

“We’ve been working with the appropriate parties at RIDOT to try to bring them to the table – and I think they’re all in agreement that we need to look at this thoroughly,” Cotta said.

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Cotta said that with three major residential developments also at different stages of planning in the same area – Oxford, Northborough and Tiverton Heights – it made no sense to consider a project’s impact on local traffic without taking into account account of others.

More than 20 residents, mostly from neighborhoods immediately surrounding the Colbea property in the commercial area, spoke at the July 12 meeting, all against the idea of ​​the eight-pump gas station and convenience store and open Round the clock.

Many called the service station a “monstrosity” and said they had originally been drawn to Tiverton precisely because it avoided this type of urban development. More than one speaker said the city is doing very well with its existing service stations, none of which offer 24-hour service, and pointed out that Fall River and Portsmouth have 24-hour service stations. 24 which are easily accessible to travelers on Route 24.

Resident Carol Herman pointed out to the Planning Board that Article 10, Section 5 of the city ​​zoning bylaw expressly prohibits gas stations within 1,500 feet of parks and playgrounds. In addition to the existing outdoor playground at Little Willow DaycareOxford and Tiverton Heights development plans include parks and playgrounds within 1,500 feet of the proposed Seasons service station.

This map shows where a Seasons Market and Service Station are offered in Tiverton.

Dr. Michael Dow expressed grave concerns about increased crime as a result of development, citing high statistics of violent crime in convenience stores.

“A gas store open all night is a beacon for someone with a gun and criminal intent,” he said.

Dow said he foresees a spiraling situation in which residents of “neighborhoods bordering this gaseous plague” may have to “stockpile weapons” to protect themselves from crime.

Louise Durfee of Highland Road filed a petition against the proposal signed by 45 of her neighbours. Robert Niles presented a similar petition signed by 150 residents of Mount Hope Villagea housing complex with the main entrance located directly across Main Road from the proposed service station.

Both, in remarks representing the communities that signed the petitions, anticipated major traffic safety issues at an intersection already considered by city and state authorities to be one of the most dangerous in Rhode Island.

Cotta acknowledged and accepted many of the concerns raised, but also stated that Colbea’s proposal fell within the legitimate uses permitted for the property by the zoning ordinance and the Tiverton Comprehensive Community Plan, and pointed out that the Proponents are entitled to a full and fair process to determine whether their proposal will be approved.

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