Plans advance for development at former Hoxsie-Smith site

Plans advance for development at former Hoxsie-Smith site

The Westerly Sun

WESTERLY — Master plans for a proposed redevelopment of the former Ray Hoxsie Buick-Pontiac-GMC Truck dealership on Granite Street were approved unanimously by the Planning Board Tuesday.

The applicant, Cozi LLC, must return to the board for an advisory opinion on its need for variances and special-use permits from the Zoning Board of Review. If those items are granted, Cozi LLC will return to the Planning Board again for the preliminary plan review phase of the land-use process.

Four buildings — the former motor-vehicle showroom, an ancillary dealership building, the former Maxon Automatic Machine Co. building and the granite building at the corner of Granite and Tower streets, would be “renovated, rehabilitated and restored,” said William Nardone, the lawyer on the project.

The granite building, originally part of the Smith Quarry operation, would likely house a restaurant, representatives of the applicant said. The other buildings would be used for a mix of retailing and offices.

Dion Luzzi, owner of the SERVPRO franchise currently centered in the machine company building, is a principal in Cozi LLC. Servpro Industries is a specialty cleaning company.

Portions of two of the buildings — the former showroom and the former machine company building — would be dismantled to allow for more distance between the buildings and the sidewalk, said Eric Preve, a project manager with DiPrete Engineering of Newport.

Reconfiguring the buildings that face Granite Street would improve sight lines for motorists, Preve said. He said a small addition to make up for the lost space is proposed for the machine company building.

The developers plan to seek permission from the state Department of Environmental Management to open up views of remnants of the former quarry at the back of the property, including a pond.

The project will also improve the area by reducing the length of curb cuts, which are now mostly uninterrupted from the showroom to the granite building on the corner, Preve said. Additionally, he said that landscaping would be used to reduce the amount of paved area, improving visual aesthetics and stormwater runoff.

Robert Clark, a member of the board, asked whether the state could be persuaded to assist with fixing drainage problems in the area. He noted that water pools up on the road for long stretches during heavy rains. Preve said closing the curb cuts, adding landscaping, and installation of a required underwater stormwater treatment system would improve the drainage problems.

John Patrick Walsh, project architect of AIA Architectural Design, said historic elements of the Smith Quarry building would be retained. The dealership building will undergo the most substantial renovations, he said.

Board member David Panciera asked that a commemorative sign be erected to mark the historic significance of the former quarry building.

Catherine DeNoia, a board member, said she was concerned about the various former industrial uses of the property. Preve said an environmental engineering company is working on the project.


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