In an article posted in the Providence Journal on September 28, 2020, Representative Gregg Amore drafted a resolution for the City to acquire the Metacomet Golf Club property that is currently in the process of being sold. What prompted the movement against the buyer, Marshall Properties of Pawtucket, was its application for re-zoning the property to the mixed use of residential and office space.
The representative started a movement, Keep Metacomet Green, with support from surrounding neighbors. Marshall has since withdrawn its rezoning application and instead decided to develop the property in keeping with the current zoning.
This still has prompted backlash, with the representative pushing his resolution for the City of East Providence to acquire the property through eminent domain. However, it raises many questions, such as, would the City be abusing its power of eminent domain? If open, green spaces were that desperately needed in that area, why wasn’t a resolution or ordinance previously enacted? Why didn’t the City offer to purchase the property outright, paying a fair price to the seller? Doesn’t the developer have a right to develop the property if it is in keeping with the current restrictions? Does not the zoning application process allow Metacomet the power to decide how to use the property, either in keeping with the current zoning or adding a future, desired zoning?
Normally, developers work with governmental entities to take private property for public use through the use of such ordinances and resolutions, such as a Tax Increment Financing Act, known as a TIF Act. Through this method, land acquisition is common for government bodies who aim to keep properties desirable in their jurisdiction, in the economic sense as well as to prevent ‘blight’ in their communities. What is not common in this situation are these roundabout steps, which prompts questions such as those above and more.
Hummel, Jim. “Legislator Calls on East Providence to Buy Metacomet Golf Club, or Take It by Eminent Domain.” The Providence Journal, The Providence Journal, 28 Sept. 2020. Accessed 12 Oct. 2020.