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With homebuilding seemingly on the verge of starting up again, a new proposal for a mixed-use, village-concept project in North Kingstown points the way to a more sustainable path for development in Rhode Island’s suburbs.
Thanks to the town’s approval of new Compact Village Development zoning rules, the Preserve at Rolling Greens is able to fit 106 housing units, 49,000 square feet of commercial space and 90 acres of green space (including the exiting nine-hole Rolling Greens golf course) into what the current zoning would require to be 54 single-family homes on 2-acre lots and little dedicated commercial space.
Located within 2 miles of the recently opened Wickford Junction train station, the new development employs smart-growth principals in a rural setting. And while building this project – which the developer says will happen as soon the town approves it – is not the first choice of urban planners, it is a smart, effective compromise.
Combining this approach for new development with urban “in-fill” projects would help make Rhode Island a beacon for responsible building going forward. •