Smart Hotel Project

9/14/20 Update:

At its August meeting, the Zoning Board of Appeal upheld a portion of an appeal filed by abutters, specifically the portion that challenged the reasoning of the City Plan Commission to lower the required on-site parking. It will be remanded back to the CPC for reconsideration. ZBA denied other parts of the appeal. This matter will be heard by City Council’s Committee on Ordinances at a meeting on September 15 at 5:00 p.m., where it is expected to be continued.

8/12/2020 Update:

The City Plan Commission (CPC) voted 4-3 in June to send the zone change for the proposed Smart Hotel in College Hill to City Council with a positive referral. While an August appearance at City Council’s Ordinance Committee was expected, two appeals have been filed by neighbors. These appeals are to be heard at the August 20 Zoning Board of Appeal (agenda).

Action Items:

  • Attend the virtual ZBR meeting on August 20 (instructions on agenda). No public comment will be allowed at this time.
  • Sign the petition opposing the zoning change. Help neighbors reach 1,000 signatures!

7/28/2020 Update: Due to the filing of two appeals by abutting neighbors, the City Council’s Committee on Ordinances continued Smart Hotel’s petition for a zoning change on Monday. The matter is expected to be heard by the committee in September following hearings in August at the Zoning Board of Review.

7/27/2020 Update: As we’ve reported, the CPC voted 4-3 in June to send the zone change for the proposed Smart Hotel in College Hill to City Council with a positive referral. We are tracking this next hurdle and had shared how you can voice your opposition to the City Council’s Ordinance Committee.

PPS has learned that two separate appeals to the CPC decision have been filed with the Zoning Board of Review (ZBR). While Smart Hotel is on the Ordinance Committee agenda for TODAY, July 27th, we now expect the committee to continue the item because they may not take action until after the ZBR has heard the appeals — which are scheduled for August 20.

If you wish to watch the Ordinance Committee, please note there are TWO parts to the meeting and each one has a Zoom log-on. Find the agendas and virtual meeting info here: public hearing | regular meeting.

7/20/2020 Update: The Smart Hotel project proposed for the corner of Angell and Brook Streets is scheduled for an important hurdle at the July 27 Ordinance Committee of the City Council. At this meeting, the Ordinance Committee will have a public hearing. We do not expect a vote at this meeting.

In June, the CPC voted 4-3 to recommend to the City Council the applicant’s zoning change request from R-P (Residential-Professional) to C-2 (Commercial) to allow for construction of a hotel (rezoning item | new hotel item).  

PPS remains opposed to this project at this location because it would necessitate the demolition of three 19th century dwellings that contribute to the College Hill Historic District on the National Register. Additionally, we oppose the rezoning of these three parcels because they are in opposition to the Zoning Ordinance adopted in 2014 that established the boundary of the Commercial zoning district on the west side of Brook Street at this location.

Call to Action:

Testify at the virtual meeting of the Ordinance Committee on July 27. It’s VITAL that the committee is aware of and hears from those who oppose this rezoning. All those wishing to speak against this project MUST sign up by 3 pm on Monday, July 27 either online or by calling 401.680.5248.

Send a message of opposition to the Ordinance Committee via City Clerk Shawn Selleck before 3 pm on Monday, July 27 for it to be included in the record.  

Sign the petition to the Providence City Council by neighbors and concerned citizens here.

Smart Hotels Group has proposed a boutique hotel at the corner of Angell and Brook Streets on College Hill (Map | Image 1 | Image 2 | Image 3 | Image 4 [photo credit: ZDS, Inc]). The site chosen is currently occupied by three dwellings (dating from 1857- c. 1895) that contribute to the College Hill National Historic Landmark District. Last year the proposal was rejected by the City Plan Commission (CPC), but received support from Mayor Elorza and the opportunity to submit a revised proposal. We expect the developer to return to CPC in June 2020.

PPS’ Planning & Architectural Review Committee (PAR) has reviewed both proposals– the original and the revised. While PPS supports the hotel development in concept and acknowledges its need on the institution-rich East Side, we find the location problematic due the required demolition of the buildings at 209, 211, and 217 Angell Street. The assembly of these three houses at a prominent intersection present a case where historic preservation should prevail in Providence. 

The streetscape these dwellings creates is consistent with the residential scale of the eastern end of Angell Street, an important east-west travel corridor in the city. PPS accepts that demolition can be justified for economic benefit and the organic growth of healthy cities. However, we believe that these contiguous houses at this location contribute significantly to the historic fabric of the district.

PPS is not anti-development. We support new development that enhances a sense of place and demonstrates design sensitivity to that place. The bar is high, especially at a location that is neither vacant nor blighted, such as this proposal.

These views have been expressed to the developer, along with our hope that a new location will be considered. Apart from the location, the project has merit and would be a positive addition to Providence. We appreciate Smart Hotels’ receptiveness to feedback from neighbors and PAR on matters of design, street presence, and traffic patterns, and their efforts to reduce the size and scale of the building. We are confident that this developer would achieve welcome new construction in College Hill at an alternative location.

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