If approved, The Preserve at Rolling Greens would be home to 26,000 square-feet of commercial space, as well as housing units with a total of 212 bedrooms. The more than 130 acre development would include the existing Rolling Greens Golf Course located on a 97 acre parcel in North Kingstown.

Opponents of the proposal say allowing a compact village at the corner of Route 102 and South County Trail would lead to more unwelcome development.

“It is a domino effect. You don’t need to do any studies to see that,” said Frank DiGregorio, of the Exeter Town Council. “It’s like a cancer. It just keeps spreading at its perimeter and keeps expanding.”   

DiGregorio and others in Exeter became involved in opposing the project because the proposed site borders their town. He said a development like The Preserve at Rolling Greens would be more appropriate in areas of North Kingstown that are already significantly developed.

“It’s just more commercial, strip development,” he said. “That’s a threat to Exeter as a rural community, and we’re trying to prevent that from happening.” 

Developer Mark Hawkins, who is also proprietor of the Rolling Greens Golf Course, has argued that his plan is environmentally sound and that The Preserve could add revenue to the North Kingstown tax base while requiring very little in the way of additional town services.

Opponents have worked against the proposal for more than a decade, even challenging its progress in court. 

The town of North Kingstown has approved an amendment to rezone the site as a compact village. The proposal is now before the town Planning Commission.

A public hearing was held last night at the Beechwood Senior Center on Beach Street in North Kingstown for residents to voice their concerns and support of the proposal.

This story was reported through The Public’s Radio’s new South County Bureau, which opened earlier this year and will eventually be located at The United Theater arts, performance and community space currently being renovated in historic downtown Westerly.