Parcel 42 – Fane Tower

Fane Tower Rendering / Poster by DWRI Letterpress

On 7/18,

Last night, the five-member City Council Ordinance Committee witnessed a true display of representative democracy, as hundreds of residents came out to voice their opinions. Ultimately, the Committee made the correct decision in a 3-1-1 vote to DENY the request for a zoning change for Parcel 42.

In all, 34 residents spoke in opposition to the zoning change and 73 more submitted letters. Providence residents from at least nine neighborhoods were united in opposition to the change and in support of Providence’s future. Only nine residents spoke in favor of the change, with an additional nine proponents submitting letters.

The work is not done yet. This decision to deny the request for a zoning change was strictly advisory. The full City Council will hear this proposal in the coming weeks – we will provide dates as soon as they become available.

CALL TO ACTION:
  • We urge you to contact your councilperson to:
    • Ask how he/she will vote on this issue
    • Voice your opposition to this project and its non-compliance with the comprehensive plan
    • Cite points in PPS’s letter of opposition.
  • We are running a postcard campaign to alert the City Council of the concerns of the community. Stop by our office at 24 Meeting Street to pick one up!
  •  Make a financial contribution to the cause! A campaign like this requires attorneys and expert witnesses. Help us to underwrite these services and donate now.

 

Previously…

The proposal for a 46-story tower on I-195 District Parcel 42 in the Jewelry District was reviewed by the City Plan Commission (CPC) on 4/25 and 5/15.  After public comment that was overwhelmingly in opposition to the tower, the CPC sent a recommendation to City Council to deny the proposal to change zoning from 100′ to 600′.

On 3/1, Senate President Ruggerio introduced Senate bill 2556 that will allow the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission to “alter” the boundaries of Parcel 4 in the I-195 Development District.  This would effectively allow the I-195 Commission to take away land from the proposed riverfront park (on Parcel 4) and allocate it to Parcel 42 for development of the tower.  The Rhode Island General Assembly voted to pass S.2556 and Governor Raimondo signed the bill into law.

Next, the proposal will head to the City Council Committee on Ordinances for a public hearing. From there, it goes to the full City Council for two public hearings.  The City Council Committee on Ordinances has scheduled a public hearing regarding the proposal on 7/18 at 5:30 pm – City Council Chamber (Third Floor, City Hall).

We urge the City Council to “Keep it 100” and maintain the current, 100′ height limit on that site. Other sites in the city are more suitable for a very tall building, such as the 300′ height limit zones in the financial district and near I-95.

At the May 15th City Plan Commission (CPC) hearing, the board voted to deny a recommendation to City Council regarding Fane’s petition for THREE changes to the Zoning Ordinance and ONE change to the Zoning Map of the City of Providence to allow his tower proposal to move forward.

In a 5-2 vote, the CPC found that the proposed changes are not in compliance with the comprehensive plan. See this ProJo article for a summary of the hearing.

Over the course of two CPC public hearings (4/25 and 5/15), 28 individuals spoke in opposition of the proposed Fane Tower and 16, mostly labor representatives, voiced support. Comments were also submitted to the CPC via email and letter. Thank you to all of you who spoke up and wrote in. Your voices were heard by the commissioners!


A proposal is winding its way through the legal processes necessary to receive approval to build a 30- to 46-story residential tower on Providence’s riverfront. Read below for more on this and refer to the letter (2018 04 Parcel 42 Letter) we sent to elected and appointed decision-makers.

MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD. Visit this link to see more about the process, what meetings to attend, and who to contact.

The Providence Preservation Society has grave concerns about this proposal, which is to be sited on the northern portion of Parcel 42 (and part of P4 – a planned public park) in the I-195 Redevelopment District. This proposal is currently known as Hope Point Tower, but we believe it will decrease HOPE for Providence if our elected leaders allow it to be built on that location.

This proposal fails to meet existing development and design guidelines set forth by the City and the State. It is wrong for Providence.

This proposal, which has been shown to be financially unfeasible, is diverting time and resources from the construction and redevelopment that Providence is currently experiencing. It is distracting from key issues of economic growth, job creation, affordable housing, and long-term environmental sustainability.

Why are we spending time on this when deserving and realistic projects can’t secure the funding or attention they need? There are more than 60 projects awaiting historic tax credits, but the General Assembly doesn’t support that type of incentive.

We find that this application for a tower on Parcel 42 defies universal urban planning and preservation principles, namely:

It requires SPOT ZONING. The current maximum height is 130’, per the 2014 zoning ordinance. Spot zoning gives preferential treatment to an applicant seeking a use or form wholly at odds with a city’s zoning ordinance. It also sets a poor precedent and could open the floodgates to other projects in every neighborhood in Providence. If the City Council approves a change in zoning for this single parcel, they are prioritizing a single out-of-state developer over the agency and intent of the people of this city.

The SCALE is wrong. The scale that has developed organically in Providence over the past three centuries, and which is one of the city’s best attributes, would be compromised and adversely affected. It will overwhelm the park and riverfront, public amenities we have invested in developing over the past several decades.

It does not benefit the life of the STREETSCAPE. The planned six-story parking podium, in this location, is detrimental to an active and enjoyable streetscape

What is the PUBLIC BENEFIT associated with such a SUBSIDY? The public is asked to give this developer tax incentives (ReBuild RI, Tax Stabilization, Sales Tax Abatement, etc.) yet beyond three years of construction jobs, what is the benefit to the public?

PPS supports appropriate, well-planned, and realistic new development. This type of development should comply with publicly determined zoning. New development should contribute to an active and enjoyable streetscape. New development should have significant public benefit. This proposal does none of these things.

We call on Mayor Elorza, the Providence City Council, Governor Raimondo, and our elected leaders in the General Assembly to reject this proposal and to redirect their energies toward long-lasting job creation, appropriate new development, and redevelopment of cherished icons such as the Industrial Trust Building and the Cranston Street Armory, among others.

 

 

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