Last Landowner Standing

Last Landowner Standing

Final holdout in Briarwood is ready to join development.

When the Briarwood Trace development was approved in 2002, two property owners decided not to go along. One of those two was added to the development in September 2003. Now the development is complete, and the final owner, Jean Francios Ramos, has decided to jump in.

Developer Watermark Two has proposed tearing down Ramos' house, which sits on about a half acre at the corner of Citrine Drive and Topaz Street, and replacing it with two houses.

The house on the property is about 1,800 square feet on a half acre. It is towered over by 3,500-square-foot houses on lots about one-tenth of an acre.

Briarwood Trace was originally approved in 2002 as 86 houses on about 23 acres just south of I-66 off Nutley Street. Four of those houses are "affordable dwelling units," three constructed by volunteers from Habitat for Humanity, a fourth an existing house which was renovated, also by Habitat for Humanity.

The terms of the original development envisioned incorporating the Ramos property and the other holdout into the larger development. The new homes will become part of the larger Homeowner's Association. The developer has also hired the same architect so it can better incorporate the new houses into the development, said Greg Riegle, attorney for the developer.

Jim Clark, vice president of the Briarwood Trace Homeowner's Association, said that his association supports the new development.

However, the association would like to use part of the land on the Ramos property to provide additional on-street parking in the development. The original developer had to provide substantial proffers in the original development, Clark said. "We believe it is appropriate for the applicant to basically pony up at this point," Clark said.

Riegle was not opposed to the idea, but said that providing the additional parking might impact the terms of the existing development. He was not certain if his client would be permitted to provide the spots.

The Planning Commission deferred the decision on whether or not to permit the development until June 14. "We will need to seek the middle ground," said Commissioner Ken Lawrence (Providence).