Citizens Bank Site Redevelopment
Despite overwhelming neighborhood opposition to the proposed development at 946-1000 Westminster (part of the six-parcel former Citizens Bank flagship site), the City Plan Commission voted 5-1 to grant final plan approval in August. Most of the community frustration and opposition centers around process and disappointment with this once-in-a-century redevelopment opportunity, as proposed.
At their July 21 meeting, the City Plan Commission (CPC) voted to continue the application for 946-1000 Westminster, a portion of the former Citizens Bank flagship site at Westminster and Cranston. The CPC was not satisfied with the developer’s effort to meet conditions — primarily outreach to the community — of their conditional preliminary plan approval from December 2019.
The developer participated in a community meeting hosted by Councilwoman Mary Kay Harris (Ward 11), on August 10 — a condition of final approval. Other conditions include comprehensive information on landscaping and traffic circulation for the entire site (6 parcels) and enhanced design of building entrances for the three new buildings.
- Tune into the virtual CPC meeting on August 18 at 4:45 pm to comment on this project and to see how the commissioners react to the applicant’s efforts. Click here and scroll down to Virtual Meeting Documents to see the agenda and meeting materials.
- Click here to read the letter to the CPC about this project from PPS, the South Providence Neighborhood Association, and the West Broadway Neighborhood Association.
- Add your signature by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by messaging @wbnapvd on Facebook or Instagram with your full name and address to be included!
On Monday, August 10 from 6 – 7 pm, Councilwoman Mary Kay Harris (Ward 11) will host a virtual community meeting with the Omni Group, developer of the former Citizens Bank site at Westminster and Cranston Streets. Dwayne Keys of South Providence Neighborhood Association will facilitate the meeting.
Residents of Ward 11, this is YOUR opportunity to comment on this project prior to the CPC’s consideration of final plan approval. The developer’s preliminary plan approval for three three-story, multi-unit residential units at 946-1000 Westminster Street was granted by the City Plan Commission on the condition that they:
- Meet with the community
- Provide a comprehensive site plan (landscaping and traffic) for the larger 6-parcel site, and
- Further develop the design of the building entrances
The developer first appeared before CPC in December 2019 and had seven months to meet the condition of a constructive community meeting. Their attempt to host a meeting the day before the July CPC meeting was not considered a good-faith effort by the CPC commissioners as it was last-minute and did not allow for wide-spread announcement of the meeting. Thus, the application was continued and Monday’s meeting was set.
The community meeting will take place virtually. To register (by 4 pm on August 10), click here. We appreciate Councilwoman Harris for hosting this gathering. Join the community and BE HEARD.
You can study CPC materials for this application here.
7/27/2020 Update: At their July 21 meeting, the City Plan Commission voted to continue the application for 946-1000 Westminster, a portion of the former Citizens Bank flagship site at Westminster and Cranston. The CPC was not satisfied with the developer’s effort to meet conditions of their conditional preliminary plan approval from June 2020.
The developer is expected to host a meeting in early August to meet with the constituents of Ward 11 (represented by Councilwoman Mary Kay Harris), South Providence Neighborhood Association, West Broadway Neighborhood Association, and other concerned parties. PPS will keep you apprised of this meeting once scheduled.
7/22/2020 Update: At yesterday’s meeting, the CPC voted to continue the Omni Group’s application for 946-1000 Westminster to the August 18 meeting. The commission found the developer’s effort to engage the community, a condition of the preliminary plan approval, inadequate. A community meeting is tentatively planned for the first week of August. PPS will confirm once the date is set.
You can read PPS’s full comment letter to the CPC here.
7/20/2020 Update: The developer of the former Citizens Bank flagship site at Cranston and Westminster Streets on the West End returns to the City Plan Commission (CPC) on July 21. They seek final plan approval for the portion of the site at 946-1000 Westminster: new construction of three three-story residential dwellings (16 units each). Instructions to attend the CPC meeting virtually are found in the agenda.
CPC staff recommends approval if the conditions set at preliminary plan approval (December 2019) have been met. One condition was to meet with the community and councilperson (Mary Kay Harris, Ward 11). Though seven months have passed, the developer waited until the very last minute to schedule community meetings. PPS does not find this to be a good faith effort to meet with and receive feedback from the neighbors and interested parties and hopes that the CPC will agree.
The CPC Staff Report for this item can be found here.
Unfortunately, our March appeal of redevelopment plans at the former Citizens Bank property was not successful. The effort, led by the Providence Preservation Society, the West Broadway Neighborhood Association, and West End business owners, neighbors, and stakeholders, was denied in a 5-1 decision by the City’s Zoning Board of Review. As we consider next steps, we still need your support for the legal defense. Donate now.
Check out the results of our design competition for the Citizens Bank site here!
This historic Citizens Bank site at Westminster and Cranston Streets offers a once-in-a-century development opportunity, but is threatened by an inappropriate proposal for redevelopment that we believe should have been reviewed by the City Plan Commission (CPC) as a MAJOR, not minor, land development. The site consists of six parcels under common ownership beginning with the 1921 Citizens Bank building at the tip.
The prospective buyer successfully sought waivers from the CPC in December without proof that they were needed, resulting in the preliminary plan approval of redevelopment plans that are sorely out of step with best urban development practices.
Just last year neighbors joined with their city councilor and city planning staff to change zoning language on “Main Streets” like Westminster and Cranston Streets to require first floor commercial. Two recently proposed developments in the neighborhood are complying with that requirement. Redevelopment at this crucial gateway location should also follow the law.
Very rarely do we appeal a decision of the CPC, but we find this project and decision so egregious that we felt like we must stand up for the health and future of the West End neighborhood. Waging a legal appeal by a qualified land use attorney requires financial commitment. We ask you to please support the effort to stop inappropriate development at this vital gateway of the West End.
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