October 6, 2022

City Of East Providence Department Of Planning and Economic Development

Posted

MEMORANDUM: September 15, 2022

TO: Planning Board

FROM: Planning Department

RE: Land Development Project, Master Plan submission - Igus Bearings, Inc.
275 Ferris Avenue
Map 502, Block 5, Parcels 3 and 3.1
Application # 2022-14-LDP, Master
Applicant and Property Owner – Igus Bearings, Inc.


I. INTRODUCTION

Pursuant to the City of East Providence Land Development and Subdivision Review Regulations as adopted, the applicant has submitted to the Planning Board, an application for Master Plan approval of the Igus Bearings, Inc. Land Development at 275 Ferris Avenue as attached to this memorandum. As the Board is aware, a Master Plan is required for major subdivisions and Land Development Project proposals and is followed by Preliminary and Final Plan stages. The Master Plan is defined as follows in the Regulations:

“An overall plan for a proposed project outlining general, rather than detailed development intentions. It describes the basic parameters of a major development proposal, rather than giving full engineering details…”

This Master Plan submittal is a proposed 4 phase development and consistent with the Master Plan definition, overall development plans at this time represent general development intentions The design plans included with the application provide a good overview of the size, scale and architectural design of the structures proposed and the general development features of the land that will surround the building.

As a phased development, the project Master Plan must meet the requirements established under Section 5-12 of the Land Development and Subdivision Review Regulations. Among other things, Section 5-12 states that the Planning Board shall first approve the entire site design as a Master Plan and thereafter, the applicant shall be required to submit plans for Preliminary and/or Final review and/or approval indicating the development of the entire site in two or more phases.

A public informational meeting is required at the Master Plan stage, for which direct notice to owners within a 200 foot radius of the perimeter of the property and newspaper notice is required. All owners within a 200 foot radius have been notified by certified mail and a newspaper legal notice was placed in the September 8th, 2022 issue of The East Providence Post (as attached). The Planning Board decision must be made within 60 days from the date of issuance of the Certificate of Completeness (COC) (September 8, 2022) and the decision may be as follows: 1) approve the master plan as submitted, 2) approve with changes and/or conditions or 3) deny the master plan. Approved master plans are vested for a period of one (1) year, with a one year extension possible upon request by the applicant to the board.

The Preliminary Plan stage follows the Master Plan stage. Full engineering details must be provided for each phase at the Preliminary Plan stage and all state and federal permits for the applicable phase must be obtained prior to submission of the Preliminary Plan. Also, as prescribed under the City’s Zoning Ordinance, the Land Development Project is subject to all of the standards established under Article V - Land Development Projects of the Revised Ordinances of the City of East Providence. A public hearing is required at the Preliminary Plan stage.

The applicant has stated that it is their eventual intention to merge parcels 3 and 3.1 into a single parcel. The merger of these parcels will require an Administrative Subdivision in the future that is not associated with this application but is noted for information purposes to the Planning Board.

II. ITEMS REQUESTED TO BE ENTERED INTO THE RECORD

The Department of Planning requests that the following items be entered into the record by the Planning Board:

1. Land Development Project application dated August 24, 2022 and amended
Application, with applicant name updated, submitted on August 31, 2022;
2. Land Development Project Master Plan set;
3. RGB Project Narrative;
5. Municipal Lien Certificate
7. List of abutters within 200 feet;
8. Title Insurance Policy (a title report was submitted by the applicant and reviewed and
approved by the City Solicitor but is not attached to the Board’s packet due to
document size);
9. Certificate of Completeness dated September 8, 2022;
10. September 13, 2022 memorandum from City Engineer Erik Skadberg to Public
Works Director Daniel Borges;
11. September 14, 2022 email response from Fire Marshall Brian Poland to Chief
Economic Planner James Moran;
12. September 15, 2022 email response from City Solicitor Michael Marcello, to Chief
Economic Planner James Moran;
13. Copy of East Providence Post advertisement of September 8th, 2022;
14. Implan Economic Impact Report prepared by the Department of Planning and
Economic Development.

III. OVERVIEW OF THE IGUS BEARINGS, LLC, 275 FERRIS AVENUE LAND
DEVELOPMENT PROJECT, MASTER PLAN

An application has been submitted for a Land Development Project Master Plan review for a an approximately 707,000 square foot industrial development at 275 Ferris Avenue, containing approximately 21.5 acres of land located at 275 Ferris Avenue. The estimated value of the construction buildout for this industrial project is $200,000,000. A Certificate of Completeness for the Master Plan was issued on September 8, 2022. A notice to property owners within 200 feet of the subject property was mailed via certified mail on September 8, 2022. A display advertisement, as required by regulation, was published in the East Providence Post on September 8, 2022 (advertisement attached).

The following narrative provides a brief overview of the subdivision proposal. The zoning of the property to be developed is Industrial-2 (I-2) which permits lots of no less than 40,000 square feet. The applicant proposes to develop approximately 707,000 square feet of new manufacturing, shipping, and warehouse space with a first phase of 148,975 square feet for injection molding and associated support spaces. Additional phases for the development are described within the application narrative. The master plan defines the overall requirements of the full 707,000 square foot building; each phase will be designed accordingly to anticipate the requirements of the subsequent phases and maximize efficiencies in the physical building, along with processes and procedures that will be integrated into the project.

There are currently two primary structures on the site, an existing 300,000 square foot industrial facility and a water tower that provides the water supply for fire suppression within the site. Both of the existing structures will be removed as part of the construction of Phase 2. Three electrical substations will be reconfigured to meet the needs of the proposed project.

The building identified in this Master Plan proposal (275 Ferris Avenue) will be closely associated with Igus’s industrial facility located at 257 Ferris Avenue and the two properties will in fact, be accessible to each other through an at-grade railroad crossing that will allow vehicular crossings over the Genesee & Wyoming (G&W) Railroad’s freight track line.

The narrative provided with this Master Plan application provides additional details regarding the phasing of the development in some degree of detail. Preliminary Plan submissions for all future phases will be required and will be subject to a full and detailed review by city staff, state reviewing agencies (ie. RIDEM) and will require that a public hearing process be conducted as a part of the review process.

IV. DRAINAGE AND UTILITIES

The applicant is not required to submit a drainage plan to the City under the Master Plan submittal stage of the Land Development project process. The application narrative provides a general description of how stormwater drainage will be handled and indicates that the methods utilized will result in a zero-net-runoff scenario on the property. At the Preliminary Plan review stage the applicant will be required to submit a detailed drainage plan and any and all State permits associated with the drainage facilities as required under the Law will be required to be obtained prior to the submittal of the Preliminary Plan application.
This development will be served by municipal sewer and water. Adequate capacity exists within these infrastructure systems to support the development.

Sidewalks and curbing.

Granite curbing and bituminous sidewalks are currently in place along the property’s frontage on Ferris Avenue. The Department of Planning recommends that the applicant be required to install concrete sidewalks along the site’s frontage on Ferris Avenue. Based upon the grading of the portion of the property fronting Bellevue Boulevard, it appears impractical to install sidewalks at that location. However, this Department recommends that the applicant be required to install granite curbing along the site’s frontage on Bellevue Boulevard and provide plans that show these improvements on the Preliminary Plans that are submitted in the future.

V. ZONING REVIEW

The application indicates the necessity for one variance from building height for the proposed new building where a maximum of 45 feet is allowed and 60 feet is proposed. This application for zoning relief will need to be heard and approved by the Zoning Board of Review prior to the review of the Preliminary Plan application by the Planning Board. The application indicates that no other relief from the standards of Zoning will be required.

VI. OTHER STAFF REVIEW COMMENTS

The Engineering Division provided a review memorandum for the Master Plan (as attached). All requested items identified in this memorandum should be incorporated or addressed in the Preliminary Plan submittal to the City.

The Law Department has reviewed the application and had no substantive comments on the application, including the prepared title report, as submitted.

The Fire Department has reviewed the application and indicated it has no concerns relating to the Master Plan.

In a telephone conversation with Water Utilities Division Superintendent, Jim Marvel, he indicated that they have no review comments to submit under this Master Plan review.

VII. LANDSCAPE PLAN AND CARBON NEUTRAL DESIGN

A detailed landscape plan, including plant names, specifications and shade calculations for the development is not required at Master Plan submittal. This Master Plan application does, however, provide a conceptual landscape plan that illustrates how landscape massing and buffering will be handled throughout the development area and how the landscaping will be designed in a manner that will buffer the industrial buildings from nearby residential neighborhoods. The Planning Department is encouraged by the applicant’s desire to reduce visual impacts to neighboring properties through the creation of a site plan that maximizes green coverage that includes the use of a extensively landscaped parking areas and a wide planted buffer that will provide extensive green coverage, thereby reducing neighborhood visual impacts and reducing the heat island effect that can be experienced on properties with very limited landscaping, a condition which exists on this property in its current state.

Igus has identified that they want this building, in all phases, to be a carbon neutral building and site. The applicant has indicated it is their intent to develop a net zero water building and will be achieved through a series of measure such as, low flow fixtures, rainwater harvesting and storage, potential onsite treatment of water for potable use, and low-impact development maximizing the on-site solutions, such as rain gardens, to achieve zero net storm water runoff.

Onsite power generation through the means of a photovoltaic solar array will be placed on the roof of each of the phases, these panels will substantially reduce the operational cost for the facility and reduce the overall load on the grid. The building design will use skylights and window placement and alignment within the building that maximize natural lighting and reduce electrical costs for powering the building. All exterior lighting will be dark skies compliant and will limit the amount of light pollution that is reflected up into the sky. Many of these design concepts can be seen on the architectural renderings that are included in the application plans.

VIII. TRAFFIC ASSESSMENT/PARKING LAYOUT

A traffic assessment is not required under Land Development Project Master Plan review stage, but will be required as part of the submission for the Preliminary Plan review of this phased project. The application narrative provided by the applicant indicates that a comprehensive traffic study will be completed as part of the Preliminary Plan submittal. At this time, the Planning Department would stress that the proposed development will generate additional vehicular traffic into and out of the industrial facility as it is developed over time. As a result, the Department of Planning recommends that in addition to the traffic impact study submitted by the applicant, a peer review study of the results of this study be completed under the Preliminary Plan review submittal phase.

IX. Igus Economic Impact Model Report

The applicant has estimated that the proposed development construction costs for this industrial project are approximately $200,000,000 for all phases associated with the development of the property. Utilizing Implan economic modeling software, the Planning Department completed a general economic impact analysis report for the project that identifies the economic output the development would be expected to contribute to the local economy (report attached). Based on these results the following estimated impacts were generated by the Implan modeling software:

Direct Employment – 150 jobs
Indirect Employment – 226 jobs
Induced Employment – 104 jobs
Total income for all identified employment - $37,073,006
Total Tax Revenue Results for State - $4,348,787

In addition, the report provides a table of estimated growth percentages for the top 20 industries that would be affected by the construction of this facility. As expected the top industry growth would be for the plastics material and resin manufacturing use with an estimated regional growth percentage of nearly 136%. Modest growth in rail transportation (2.23%) and wholesale (2.01%) are identified on the report output.

Property tax revenue impacts for the City, based on a $200,000,000 buildout, would be estimated to generate approximately $5,000,000 in annual tax revenue utilizing the commercial building tax rate of $25.33 per thousand in valuation. It is anticipated that the applicant will seek a tax stabilization agreement with the City for the development. Therefore, this local tax impact value does not take into account an approved tax stabilization agreement and is a caveat that would be necessary when computing local tax revenue impacts in the future.

X. COMPREHENSIVE PLAN – LAND USE COMPATIBILITY

The area encompassing this proposed project is designated as “General Industrial” in the 2010 -2015 update of the East Providence Comprehensive Plan. The Comprehensive Plan defines the dominant character of this land use as follows:

The dominant character of this land use shall be wholesaling, storage, repairing, fabricating, processing, and/or assembly of goods. The intensity of the uses shall be compatible with existing or planned uses. Other non-residential uses may be allowed, but shall not alter the character of the area and/or shall provide support services to the businesses and/or employees in the area. Projects that may not be compatible with adjacent land uses, and projects that are not industrial in nature, may require development as a Land Development Project.

The proposed development is abutted on the north and east by industrial uses, a mixture of commercial and residential uses to the south and to the west of the site, predominantly single family development. Planning is of the opinion that the proposed industrial development, with proper buffering of the adjacent residential neighborhood (as is represented in the general development plans), is well suited to this location and is compatible with the Land Use Element and Economic Development Element of the 2010-2015 East Providence Comprehensive Plan.

Based on initial review under the Master Plan review process, the Planning Department is of the opinion that the development as proposed in the submitted Master Plan, is consistent with the 2010-2015 East Providence Comprehensive Plan, East Providence Zoning Ordinances and is generally compatible with adjoining land uses in the area. Planning recommends that a Comprehensive Plan consistency report be submitted by a qualified land use professional at the Preliminary Plan review phase(s) as a further endorsement of the development’s consistency with the City’s current Comprehensive Plan.


XI. CONSISTENCY WITH THE GENERAL PURPOSES OF THE EAST PROVIDENCE LAND DEVELOPMENT AND SUBDIVISION REVIEW REGULATIONS

1. In reviewing this development under the Land Development and Subdivision Review Regulations, the following findings shall be relevant:

(a) Subdivision and Land Development Project proposals shall be consistent with the
East Providence Comprehensive Plan, including its goals, objectives, policy statements
and the Land Use 2010 Plan.

As indicated above, the Planning Department is of the opinion that the proposed application is consistent with the goals and objectives of the 2010-2015 East Providence Comprehensive Plan;

(b) All lots in a subdivision, and all land development projects shall conform to the standards
and provisions of Chapter 19, Zoning.

The application has indicated that that relief is required from building height. Relief from this height standard will require a variance application and decision by the East Providence Zoning Board of Review;

(c) There will be no significant environmental impacts from the proposed development as
shown on the plan.

There do not appear to be any significant environmental impacts from the proposed
Master Plan submission since all of the lots would be connected to the City’s municipal sewer system. Conditions on the property will also be significantly improved through the installation of landscaping improvements that will cool the property more effectively than the current property condition, which is mostly devoid of trees. The applicant has indicated that a number of design features associated with the building will be incorporated to reduce environmental impacts including the use skylights and window placements within the building that maximize natural lighting and reduce electrical costs for powering the plant, achieving zero net runoff and utilizing solar roof panel arrays to generate power;

(d) The Land Development Project, as proposed would 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.

The proposal does not appear to create conditions that create physical constraints that will require future relief from pertinent regulations and building standards in the City.

(e) All proposed land development and all subdivisions shall have adequate and permanent physical access to a public street. Lots cannot be isolated by topographic, natural or other features which prevent adequate physical access from the street.

All lots within the development will have physical access to a public street and will not be isolated from the street by any topographic or natural features.

(f) Each subdivision and land development project shall provide for safe circulation of pedestrian and vehicular traffic, for adequate surface runoff, for suitable building sites and shall provide for preservation of natural, historical or cultural features that contribute to the attractiveness of the community to the extent feasible.

The proposed Master Plan appears to provide for safe circulation of pedestrian and vehicular traffic, and provides parcels which appear suitable for building development within the allowable limits in the I-2 district;

(g) The design and location of streets, building lots, utilities, drainage improvements and other improvements in each subdivision and land development shall minimize flooding and soil erosion.

Sanitary sewer and municipal water exist on the streets surrounding this development. The layout and features of the property do not appear to create conditions that would promote flooding and/or soil erosion.

Based on the above Findings, the Department of Planning is of the opinion that, as proposed, the development is consistent with the 2010-2015 East Providence Comprehensive Plan, the East Providence Zoning Ordinances and is generally compatible with adjoining land uses in the area.

2. The General Purposes of Article 1, Sec. 1 – 2 of the “East Providence Land Development and Subdivision Review Regulations” (Regulations) apply generally to the content and process of the Regulations and generally to standards of development, as follows:

(a) Protect the public health, safety and welfare;

The proposed Master Plan, as proposed, does not, in the opinion of Planning, negatively impact the health, safety and welfare of the residents of the City of East Providence.

(b) Provide for orderly, thorough and expeditious review and approval of land developments and subdivisions;

The regulations provide for an orderly, thorough and expeditious review of subdivisions and Land Development projects, and this application is following that process.

(c) Promote high quality and appropriate design and construction of subdivisions and land development projects;

Based on a review of Comprehensive Plan consistency, the proposed Master Plan is appropriate and in-keeping with the adjacent industrial properties in the area.

(d) Protect existing natural and built environments and mitigate all significant negative impacts of any proposed development on the existing environment;

There appear to be no expected negative impacts to the natural or built environment associated with this Master Plan development.

(e) Promote design of land developments and subdivisions which are well-integrated with the surrounding neighborhoods with regard to natural and built features, and which concentrate development in areas which can best support intensive use by reason of natural characteristics and existing infrastructure;

The proposed Master Plan is well integrated with the surrounding neighborhood which is comprised of industrial land uses to the north and east of the proposed development and residential properties to the west and south of the proposed development. The neighboring residential properties to the south and west of this subject industrial property represents a long-standing condition that will continue under the current redevelopment proposal.

(f) Encourage design and improvements standards to reflect the intent of the East Providence Comprehensive Plan with regard to the physical character of the various neighborhoods, districts, and special and critical areas of the city;

The Regulations have been adopted with design and improvement standards in accordance with the Comprehensive Plan and with regard to the various neighborhoods, districts, special and critical areas of the City.

(g) Promote thorough technical review of all proposed land developments and subdivisions by appropriate officials;

The proposed subdivision has been reviewed by appropriate officials, including: Planning, Public Works, Zoning, Law and the Fire Department.

(h) Encourage dedications of public land and impact mitigation to be based on clear documentation of needs and to be fairly applied and administered, and;

There is no dedication of public land associated with this development.

(i) Provide for the establishment and consistent application of procedures for local record keeping on all matters of land development and subdivision review, approval and construction.

The proposed development is being reviewed under the Regulations adopted by the East Providence Planning Board and pertinent records are being kept.

XII. RECOMMENDATION

A. Master Plan

Based upon a finding that the proposed development is consistent with the East Providence Comprehensive Plan, meets the general purposes stated in Article 1 of the Regulations and further that the required findings of Section 5-4 of the Regulations are met, staff recommends Conditional Approval of the Igus Bearings, Inc. Land Development Project Master Plan submission as proposed subject to the following conditions of Master Plan approval being incorporated into the Preliminary Plan submission:

(1) That all comments in the technical staff memoranda to the Planning Department (as
attached) and all other requested modifications identified in this recommendation
memoranda be incorporated into the Preliminary plans; and that any and all other conditions
of the Planning Board approval be reflected in all future phases of the Preliminary Plan
submission;

(2) That the Preliminary Plans and supporting documentation be based upon this
Master Plan approval, and that the Preliminary Plans meet all City regulations and
ordinances, and all applicable State and or/Federal Regulations;

B. Peer Traffic Review

The Planning Department recommends that the Planning Board authorize the Planning Department to conduct a peer review of the traffic report to be submitted at the Preliminary Plan review stage of the development. The cost of completing the peer review shall be borne by the applicant.

WF/JFM/jfm


Attachments: Plans and accompanying LDP Master Plan submittal materials

cc. Mayor Roberto L. DaSilva
Glenn Quick, Fire Department
Daniel Borges, Public Works Director
Erik Skadberg, City Engineer
Edward Pimentel, Zoning Officer
Michael Marcello, City Solicitor

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