NORTH KINGSTOWN—On Monday evening, the town council met with the Planning Commission and members of the Economic Development Advisory Board (EDAB) in order to discuss key issues facing the town’s economic future. All parties engaged in a serious debate about the viability of areas such as Post Road, as well as the town’s vision for future development.
Because the town is currently beginning the process of updating its comprehensive plan, the council feels the time is right to address the challenges the town faces in terms of economic development.
“We have been building on a vision that started in early 2000, but then the economy changed,” said Town Council President Elizabeth Dolan. “Everything has changed, so do we now have to change our vision? We have long term goals, but it may be time. That is why the comprehensive plan is meant to be changed while things change.”
Both the planning commission and EDAB first highlighted the main goals and issues each have faced over the last several years, such as developing consensus about how to approach the areas of Post Road and Routes 2 and 102 in terms of development.
“[We are] finding that anchor-type national businesses feel that the Post Road development requirements seemed to fall into a standardized building set,” said planning commission member James Grundy. “We will have to have some flexibility with it if we want to see anything happen.”
“We need to take steps to brighten Post Road, and having nothing go on isn’t helping,” he added. “The standards are lofty goals, but in this environment, I don’t know if they are financially realistic.”
Not all parties were convinced, however, that Post Road’s current woes stem from regulatory effectiveness. Some stated that the economy was the largest factor in the corridor’s decline, while others have seen Route 403 and the Quonset Gateway business area funnel consumer dollars away from Post Road.
For the rest of this story and more local news, pick up the June 27 issue of the Standard Times.