Letter – Concerned about Grange
Published 8:21 pm Tuesday, August 22, 2023
Editor, The Smithfield Times:
I have several concerns regarding the Grange at 10Main project that is slated to be built on the old Pierceville property: density, height of the buildings and traffic.
First of all, there are too many houses and apartment buildings for this small plot of land. The developer has stated there will be approximately 350 homes on less than 60 acres of land. The houses will be on very small lots that are too close together, with too many apartment buildings that will loom large over the historic district. We should not make downtown Smithfield look like Route 17 in Suffolk.
Secondly, the three- and four-story height of the hotel and apartment buildings exceeds the height of other residences in the downtown area. This development should complement the downtown area, not replace it. While I support having another hotel in Smithfield, the way the Grange is currently planned is to have the back of a four-story hotel run parallel to Main Street, across from Main Street Baptist. This creates a wall into the entrance of downtown Smithfield. How is that welcoming or inviting?
The corporate headquarters of Smithfield Foods and Smithfield Station currently exceed the town’s height requirements, but they are also both located at the bottom of a hill, so their height is less noticeable. We cannot have these proposed large brick buildings of the Grange overshadow the beautiful, quaint nature of the historic district.
Lastly, traffic. This Grange development will add (by the developer’s own admission) an additional 5,500 vehicles to downtown streets. This is completely unacceptable. For years residents have voiced concerns to town officials about the speed and volume of traffic on downtown streets as well as the intersection of Main Street and the Route 10 bypass. This development will only make it worse. We need to fix the current problems first.
While I welcome development, it needs to be done in a controlled and smart manner. These current plans do neither.
Mary Ellen Bebermeyer