“$100M Glen project dealt blow after residents rally” is the headline on Patrick Anderson’s story in today’s Providence Journal reporting that the Tiverton City Council voted 5 to 2 not to grant its developer, the Carpionato Group, a slew of amendments to the town’s comprehensive plan. Tiverton Glen is now up the creek without a paddle.
This is democracy in action at its basic level. Citizens saw through a “glen” as easily as they could see through a “crossing” – the project was originally called Tiverton Crossing.
“They [Carpionato] could submit a proposal that meets the comprehensive plan in a smaller, more reasonable development,” according to opposition leader Bruce Hathaway, who helped organize crowds at last night’s council meeting of up to 400 and even more at an earlier hearing. “We like new business but not at a scale that is over the top.”
I wonder why Carpionato did not (so far as I could determine) publicize how the project would look when completed (see “Let Tiverton be Tiverton“). If they had shown citizens illustrations of a lovely shopping center with elegant apartment buildings, more citizens might have been hesitant in their opposition, even if they thought it was too big.
Carpionato’s lack of renderings for the project suggests that they were hoping to change the Tiverton comprehensive plan on the cheap, then bring in the big guns. It’s a good thing Tivertonians showed up en masse to oppose what amounted to a secret mega-deal.
I think the problem with developers these days is that every project has to hit a home run financially. They go around sniffing at every community, and instead of figuring out what the community really needs and proposing that, it goes to every community and proposes more than it needs, figuring if they succeed once it will make up for all the failures. I don’t pretend to have spies inside the heads of developers, but I wonder why they don’t make more proposals of greater modesty in scope, and make a reasonable amount of money with every reasonable proposal based on an objective analysis of a community’s needs. Would that not add up to more money? I don’t know, just throwing it out.
So the score now in Tiverton’s stands at two to zip, citizens having scored on a beautiful library and having struck out a muscle-bound megaproject. But now the cleanup hitter, backed by the state, is coming to bat. It is the proposal for a new gambling casino.
Good luck, Tiverton!