The Narragansett Planning Board last week unanimously denied a master plan for Boston Neck Road, LLC, to insert a 20-unit development on six acres along Route 1A, near the University of Rhode Island’s Bay Campus, along the Westerly side of Boston Neck Road.

The applicant can appeal the decision, drop the project — a comprehensive permit under the affordable housing law — or return with a revised version of the application.

The roadway is rural-residential, with 50-60 homes located directly off the road and off of subdivisions — with a posted speed limit of 25 mph.

Traffic studies revealed that the road services around 550 vehicles over the course of a day. There are about 55 vehicles per hour in the morning and 60 vehicles in the afternoon.

According to officials, the 20-units were “too much,” all while lacking affordable housing. The applicant asked for its 20 units, with five of them acting as affordable units.

“It’s with the applicant now, with what they want to do next,” Planning Board Chair Terence Fleming said. “The board was concerned about the density of the project. That area’s zoned for three house lots. But, if you apply under a comprehensive permit and bring affordable housing to a community, you can ask for what’s called a density bonus. You can ask for more units than the zoning allows. The zoning allows only three units in the area. But, you can ask for more. And that’s what (the applicant) did.”

Fleming added that if the number of units were to be reduced it would be a “more reasonable conversation.” The 20-unit plan had potential impact on the area’s water table, sceptic systems, drainage, and runoff was also a concern, Fleming said.

Rhode Island has enabling law for residential zoning and gives towns authority to adopt zone ordinance. Town Planning Director Michael DeLuca said the six acres of land was required to be divided into 80,000 square feet or more, equivalent to a 2-acre zone. Had the master plan been approved, there would have been 10 structures that would have been duplex units. There is a requirement in the ordinance that demands a percentage of at least 25% in affordable housing.

Fleming said prior to Wednesday’s meeting, the application was revised from 21 total units (with six affordable units) at a pre-application meeting to a 20-unit plan, “of which five units were affordable.”

“We’ve approved these comprehensive permits in the past, we’ve approved density bonuses,” Fleming said. “It’s not like the board has rejected these. We understand the importance of affordable housing. And we understand the law allows applicants to request extra units in order to bring affordables to the town.”

DeLuca said the pre-application was submitted over a year ago and the master plan was made before Thanksgiving — though, it was “not complete.” He added that he has not submitted a certificate of completeness because the wetland edge in the proposed development area has not yet been verified.

Additionally, water table data has not been provided in the vicinity of their septic systems and storm water basins, DeLuca said.

A public hearing was still granted.

“It doesn’t meet the road map (comprehensive plan review),” DeLuca said. “I put in my staff report that it partially meets the road map, but it didn’t meet all of them.”

The director said that the plan didn’t meet the density provisions of zoning, though the lot itself met zoning due to being six acres in a two-acre zone.

“Out of the five standard requirements of the state law, they only met two,” DeLuca said. “And the Planning Board found that they did not meet three of them.”

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