Proposed development for west side of Dean Street north of Harris Avenue

In Development by Jef Nickerson3 Comments

At their July 18th meeting, the City Plan Commission (CPC) will review a proposal for a self-storage facility, retail building, and restaurant on parcels of land west of Dean Street north of Harris Avenue.

Proposed site plan

The Staff Report for the CPC describes the proposal as:

OWNER/APPLICANT: NMS Realty Trust, Owner and Applicant
CASE NO./PROJECT TYPE: 18-018 MA – Master Plan
PROJECT LOCATION: 286 and 288 Kinsley and 153 Harris Avenue – AP 26 Lot 234 zoned M-MU 75; AP 27 Lots 36 and 269 zoned M-1
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The applicant is requesting master plan approval to develop three vacant lots for commercial uses which include a self storage facility, restaurant and retail
RECOMMENDATION: Approval of the Master Plan subject to the findings and conditions noted on page 3.


The development which measures approximately 3.8 acres (168,467 SF) is composed of three vacant lots between Kinsley Ave and Harris Ave. The applicant is proposing to construct three buildings, a restaurant, self storage facility and retail. The restaurant will be accessible from Kinsley Ave and the retail building will be accessible from Harris Ave with the self storage facility in between the two and accessible from either lot. Site improvements including parking and landscaping will be provided.


AP 27 Lots 36 and 269 are zoned M-1. The proposed uses of a restaurant with frontage on Kinsley Ave and an adjacent self storage facility are permitted by right in this zone. A retail use is proposed for AP 26 lot 234, which is zoned M-MU 75 and permits the use by right.

Dimensions and site design
The retail building, restaurant and self storage facility will have footprints of 11,000 SF, 6,000 SF and approximately 25,620 SF respectively. The applicant is proposing to apply for an administrative subdivision to change the configuration of the site so that each commercial property is on a separate lot. The retail and restaurant building will be one story each. A height of five stories and 75 feet is proposed for the self storage facility, which is permitted by right in the M-1 zone. However, the applicant should provide more information on roof appurtenances and determination of the building height to ensure it does not exceed the 75 foot height limit of this zone.
The side of the retail building is set close to Harris Ave and the restaurant is set back from Kinsley Ave with parking around it. The proposed development will conform to dimensional requirements as there are no setback requirements for either zone.

The retail and restaurant uses require one parking space for every 500 SF of area. With a total area of 17,000 SF, 34 spaces are required for those uses. Pending a subdivision, 82 spaces will be provided for the restaurant and 28 will be provided for the retail space. The interior of the self storage facility has not been designed, but approximately 805 units are proposed. Thirty three spaces will be provided with one space required for every 25 spaces. The applicant will meet the parking requirement and no relief is necessary.

The development measures approximately 168,467 SF requiring approximately 25,270 SF of canopy coverage. The applicant has submitted a conceptual landscaping plan with plantings around each building and in the parking lot. It appears that the applicant will meet the parking requirement based on the plan. The applicant shall provide a detailed landscaping plan at the preliminary plan stage.

Lighting and Signage
The applicant has not indicated the location of lighting sources and signage on site. A lighting and signage plan is required at the preliminary plan stage.

Drainage and Stormwater management
The applicant shall provide a drainage and stormwater management plan and site maintenance plan at the preliminary plan stage.

Traffic Study
The City Engineer requested that the applicant provide a traffic study at the preliminary plan stage detailing the movement of traffic to and from the site. The study shall include any measures that are deemed necessary to reduce the effect of traffic on surrounding streets.


Section 806 of the Commission’s Development Review Regulations requires that the City Plan Commission make the following findings as part of their approval of all land development project applications. Based on the analysis contained herein and subject to the conditions contained in this report, staff has prepared the following findings regarding the request for approval of the Master/Preliminary Plan stage:

  1. Consistency—The proposed development is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan and/or has satisfactorily addressed the issues where there may be inconsistencies.

    The subject property is located in an area that the future land use map of Providence Tommorow: The Comprehensive Plan intends for Business/Mixed Use development. The plan describes this area as one intended to foster the development of business and commercial uses into former manufacturing and industrial areas. The development would conform to this description and be in conformance with objective BJ-1 of the comprehensive plan which encourages efforts towards attracting and retaining new businesses within the City.
  2. Compliance with Zoning Ordinance—The proposed development is in compliance with the standards and provisions of the Zoning Ordinance.

    Use: The proposed uses of retail, self storage and restaurant are permitted by right in this zone.

    Dimension and parking: The building dimensions and site design will largely conform to the requirements of the M-1 zone. The applicant should provide more information on determination of the building height to ensure that it will not exceed the 75 foot height limit of the M-1 zone.

    Landscaping: Based on the conceptual landscaping plan, it appears that the applicant will conform to the landscaping requirements. The applicant shall submit a detailed landscaping plan at the preliminary plan stage.

    Lighting: The applicant shall submit a lighting and signage plan at the preliminary plan stage.
  3. Environmental Impact—There will be no significant environmental impacts from the proposed development as shown on the final plan, with all required conditions for approval.

    A stormwater management plan is required at the preliminary plan stage in addition to an erosion control plan. The applicant shall submit a traffic study at the preliminary plan stage.

    No negative environmental impacts are expected as the applicant will come into conformance with applicable environmental regulations.
  4. Buildable Lot—The subdivision or development project, as proposed, will not result in the creation of individual lots with such physical constraints to development that building on those lots according to pertinent regulations and building standards would be impracticable.

    There are no physical constraints that impact development of this property, as the development will comply with the dimensional requirements of the M-1 zone.
  5. Street Access—All proposed development projects and all subdivision lots shall have adequate and permanent physical access to a public street. Lot frontage on a public street without physical access shall not be considered compliance with this requirement.

    Adequate vehicular and pedestrian access is provided from Kinsley Ave and Harris Ave.

The CPC should vote to approve the master plan subject to the following conditions:

  1. The applicant shall submit the following at the preliminary plan stage:
    • Stormwater management plan
    • Erosion control plan
    • Site maintenance plan
    • Lighting and signage plan
    • Detailed landscape plan
  2. The applicant shall provide a traffic

Obviously, I don’t like this. The restaurant building on the Kinsley Avenue end being the worst part. A box dropped from the sky surrounded by parking. Just the thing we’re trying to get away from.

This is what the Woonasquatucet Vision Plan envisions for this location.

Rendering of one idea of what the Dean Street corridor could look like

I don’t know what the CPC can do as the staff report outlines that these uses are allowed by right. But I sure wish we would stop building things like this.

About the Author

Jef Nickerson


Jef is Greater City Providence's co-founder, editor, and publisher. He grew up on Cape Cod and lived in Boston; Portland, Maine; and New York before settling in Providence. In addition to urbanism, Jef is interested in art, design, and ice cream. Please feel free to contact Jef if you have any question or comments about Greater City Providence.


  1. This is what you get when you still have parking minimums in most of the city. lets just hope this proposal gets rejected.

  2. This is so bad. That is all I have to say. This is terrible.

    For the record, this is the first project that I have publicly HATED on this forum.

  3. Brilliant… as if there’s not enough traffic on this road as it is.

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