Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze & Observer 10-17-13

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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Serving Smithfield, Scituate, Foster and Glocester OCTOBER 17-23, 2013 FREE Observer the valley breeze & Reel Fright Keys of Hope R.I. International Horror Film Festival is this weekend. LIVING Lincoln girl's jewelry business raises money for Make-A-Wish. PAGE 10 @ "Like" us on valleybreeze.com Search for The Valley Breeze Newspapers Council drafts development plan for Churchill & Banks Secret plan settles lawsuits by allowing scaled-back residences, hotel, shops and offices on 29 acres off Putnam Pike By GERRY GOLDSTEIN Valley Breeze & Observer Correspondent gerryg76@verizon.net SMITHFIELD – Meeting in two closed sessions, the Town Council has drafted a still-confidential proposal that would allow developer Churchill & Banks to build a mixed-use housing and commercial "village" at Putnam Pike and Esmond Street. Because the developer has filed still-pending lawsuits against the town over rejection of a previous plan for the 29-acre site near the Route 295 interchange, council members declined this week to discuss what appears to be a move toward ending the court actions and allowing the firm to pro- ceed with a scaled-down plan. In holding the talks behind closed doors, the council cited an exemption from the state's Open Meetings Law when litigation is being discussed. According to a "confidential draft" of a proposed zoning change obtained by The Valley Breeze & Observer, the council See PLAN, Page 17 Solar offer to town is for 'enormous' energy savings Pick of the day Steere Orchard hosted its 9th annual Apple Fest on Sunday at its orchard on Austin Avenue in Smithfield. The event offered live music, hayrides and apple picking as well as various apple and pumpkin treats for sale. Furneaux Harvey, 11, of Pawtucket, reaches into an apple tree at the orchard. See more photos on page 18. By GERRY GOLDSTEIN Valley Breeze & Observer Correspondent gerryg76@verizon.net SMITHFIELD – A Texasbased company has leased 15 acres of farmland on Limerock Road for the harvesting of solar energy to be resold to National Grid, and the firm has asked the town to sign on for supplying municipal and school buildings at what it says will be "enormous" savings. According to James M. Barrett, the owner and sole employee of FRIEnergy, which has opened an office on Cedar Swamp Road, the town could save about $102,000 in the Valley Breeze & Observer photo by David Wuerth Twin Rivers Hearing is pairing with Twin River Casino Please join us for: Sound Advice o in ther.MarrnKing M y ay with D WHEN: Tuesday, December 3rd WHERE: Club 100 Room at Twin River Casino TIME: 10:00AM FREE to the Public! Attendees receive a $10 chip to Twin River Casino and be entered in a raffle to win a $500 chip. Call today to book your spot. Seats are limited and breakfast is provided! Dr. Mary Kay Uchmanowicz Licensed Audiologist, 30 Years seeks a reduction in the number of requested residential units from 160 to 124, and an increase in the number of affordable units – which could be built at a different location – from eight to 25. The proposal also cuts down on the amount of square footage the developer originally requested for a hotel and for retail and office space, and also would allow some, but not all, of the diverse property uses the developer had requested. The 100-room hotel, once planned for 80,000 square feet, would still be allowed four stories, but could not exceed 54,000 square feet of total floor space. Retail, for which the developer originally sought 150,000 square feet, would be 151 Douglas Pike, Smithfield, RI 02917 401-349-0456 www.twinrivershearinghealth.com ©2013 Breeze Publications Inc. first year, a figure that he said would gradually rise to an annual $500,000 by the last year of a 20-year agreement. Barrett said the savings are possible because his project can produce electricity, using thousands of 4-by-6-foot solar panels covering the entire 15 acres, without incurring the fuel costs that drive up National Grid's prices by some 2.5 percent a year. Barrett's site is on part of the 150-acre Blackbird Farm, known for its Black Angus beef cattle. Farm owner Kevin Bouthillette said the lease is for land within a 40-acre parcel See SOLAR, Page 13

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