Greater City Providence

Does the Providence Comprehensive Plan allow for the abandonment of Bradford Street?

Recapping the preceding sequence of events, on June 19th, City Plan Commission reviewed a request, referred to it by Providence City Council, to abandon a portion of Bradford Street. The developer of a 180 unit residential high-rise, which includes a 275 space parking garage, claims that this street abandonment is necessary to accommodate the proposed site plan. The City Plan Commission voted to continue the request, meaning their review has not been completed. Later that evening, the Public Works Committee of Providence City Council voted to approve the abandonment. Greater City Providence opposes the abandonment of Bradford Street (see Don’t abandon Bradford Street).

Looking ahead, on Thursday, July 5th, the Providence City Council will vote on the resolution to abandon a portion of Bradford Street. However, section 1014 (d) of the City of Providence’s Home Rule Charter indicates that council’s vote may not be pursuant to its provisions (paragraphs 1 & 3 which pertain to this project are referenced below). To paraphrase the charter, section 1014 (d) states that a project such as the abandonment of Bradford Street cannot proceed unless it complies with Providence’s Comprehensive Plan. Also, any project which requires city council approval, such as Bradford Street’s abandonment, must be submitted to the Director of the Providence Department of Planning & Development to determine if it complies with the Comprehensive Plan. Any appeals from the director’s decision would then be heard in front of the City Plan Commission.

The importance of citing the above paragraph cannot be understated enough. The review process for abandoning Bradford Street has not complied with section 1014 (d) of City of Providence’s Home Rule Charter. Providence’s Planning Department and City Plan Commission has not been given a chance to verify this project’s compliance with Providence’s Comprehensive Plan as is stated in the charter. Therefore, in order to ensure that the public’s interest is being represented and the merits of this project are adequately reviewed, please contact the Providence City Council. Insist that no vote be held until it can be determined by the Planning Department that the abandonment of Bradford Street complies with Providence’s Comprehensive Plan.

Please note that the July 5th City Council Meeting is scheduled to begin at 7:00PM at City Hall. The public will not be allowed to speak at this meeting. Ask that your written correspondence be read into the public record if you want to be heard.

From City of Providence Home Rule Charter of 1980, as amended:

Section 1014 (d): The effect of the comprehensive plan.

Paragraph 1: No public or private improvement or project or subdivision or zoning ordinance shall be initiated or adopted unless it conforms to and implements the comprehensive plan and elements thereof.

Paragraph 3: All development and project plans and proposals and all privately developed projects and developments which require approval by the city council or by other city boards, commissions or committees shall be submitted by the appropriate aforementioned public agency to the director of the department of planning and urban development for determination as to compliance with the comprehensive plan and its elements. All appeals from the director’s decisions shall be submitted to the city plan commission for a determination as to compliance with the comprehensive plan.

Jef Nickerson

Jef is Greater City Providence's co-founder, editor, and publisher. He grew up on Cape Cod and lived in Boston; Portland, Maine; and New York before settling in Providence. In addition to urbanism, Jef is interested in art, design, and ice cream. Please feel free to contact Jef if you have any question or comments about Greater City Providence.

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