Housing plan  is ill-conceived

Published 5:10 pm Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

Our town leaders developed an extensive plan in 2009 to protect and preserve our community. Their plan included Mallory Scott Farm.

A good portion of Sub Area 1 is zoned Community Conservation. It is an environmentally sensitive area and any future development must consider the poor soil conditions and the rich ecological treasures. Mr. Napolitano’s plan does neither.

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The “Future Land Use Summary” indicates the area has the “potential to accommodate between 126 and 378 new households. While it is unlikely that the upper level of this projection will ever be realized due to the poor soil conditions, the future development of this Planning Area should provide additional single-family detached residential development opportunities, including affordable workforce housing.”

Keeping those guidelines in place, the current comprehensive plan clearly says that for many reasons, the area cannot support more than 378 homes. It is unfathomable that the proposed plan, which is more than double that number, is being considered.

There are many ways to adhere to the vision that our town leaders developed and the community supported. The current rezoning proposal is diametrically opposed to every recommendation made in the current well-thought-out comprehensive plan.

It is inevitable that this area will be developed, but this proposal is not the answer. There are many examples of communities that are developed in concert with an environmentally sensitive area. One option is a conservation community that will respect the marshes, the wildlife and the waterway. Once these things are destroyed, they won’t come back.

While the development proposed by Mr. Napolitano may be appropriate somewhere, it is ill-conceived for Mallory Scott Farm. It is incongruent and incompatible with Smithfield and with our current comprehensive plan and there is no compelling reason to deviate from the plan.


Renee Bevan