WESTERLY — A proposed development that would consist of both housing and professional offices on a 9-acre site at the corner of Franklin and Wells streets received unanimous master plan approval from the Planning Board Thursday.
The applicant and property owner, Fifty One Franklin LLC. can now develop more detailed plans which will also require approval. While town records show the property is owned by the company, Thomas Kenna, whose family has owned the property for generations, identifies himself as the property owner.
Plans call for three residential buildings that would include a total of 32 units, some two-bed and some one-bed. Three professional office buildings would be built as the second phase of construction.
Fifty One Franklin LLC. is seeking approval from the state to build the residential portion of the project under the state’s Comprehensive Permit process that allows for greater density in exchange for production of a percentage of low and moderate income affordable homes. In this case, Fifty One Franklin LLC. would build eight affordable units.
An access road to the property would be built off of Wells Street. Officials said it is not yet clear whether the road would be public or private but the board required that it be built to town standards. As a condition of approval, Fifty One Franklin LLC. must also seek merger of its four lots into two lots.
Plans for the lots merger must include proof of easements for access and removal of existing structures within the new setbacks.
An additional condition of approval requires the property owner to submit a traffic impact analysis which must account for a projection of vehicle trips generated for both phases of the project. Board members and a resident had previously raised concerns about the project’s effect on traffic on both Wells and Franklin streets.
The municipal planning staff recommended that the affordable units be built under the “affordable by design” approach, which Town Planner Rui Almeida said involves building smaller units. The staff also recommended not limiting the developer to a 55 and older demographic as originally planned but instead asking the owners to use what Almeida called an “age friendly” approach that integrates and enables older residents to live independently with a mix of age groups.
During the public hearing portion of the board’s meeting, Scott Collins said he was concerned the proposed access road would run very close to his Wells Street property. Planning Board lawyer Nancy Letendre said more exact details will be available after the property owner conducts a survey of the property for the next phase of approvals.
Anthony DeMario, whose Franklin Street property is adjacent to where the proposed development will be constructed, asked that a stream that runs through the area not be disturbed