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195 Redevelopment District Commission Meeting, Jan. 9

A meeting of the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission will be held at the offices of Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation, 315 Iron Horse Way, Suite 101, Providence, Rhode Island, on MONDAY, January 9, 2012, beginning at 5:00 p.m., for the following purposes:

PUBLIC SESSION

  1. To approve the Public Session minutes of the meetings held on December 6, 2011 and December 12, 2011 and the Executive Session Minutes from the meeting held on December 12, 2011.
  2. For discussion and consideration of the By-laws of the District.
  3. For a briefing regarding the status of the amendment of the City of Providence zoning ordinances and comprehensive plan.
  4. For presentation regarding the terms and mechanics of the prospective of bond offering.
  5. For update on and consideration of Executive Director position.
  6. For consideration of obtaining directors and officers liability insurance for the Commission.
  7. For consideration of recommendations and engagement of a civil engineer, transportation engineer and environmental engineer for the District.
  8. For consideration of recommendations and engagement of legal counsel for the District.
  9. II. EXECUTIVE SESSION

  10. To consider and act upon such matters, indicated in agenda items 5, 6, 7, and 8, as may be considered at a meeting closed to the public pursuant to the Open Meeting Law, specifically matters permitted to be so considered under subsection (7) (investment of public funds) of Rhode Island General Laws Section 42-46-5(a) (the Open Meetings Law)
  11. Agenda [.pdf]

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5 Responses to 195 Redevelopment District Commission Meeting, Jan. 9

  1. Jef Nickerson January 6, 2012 at 10:21 am #

    They need to hire 3 engineers and a lawyer, for what?

  2. Peter Brassard January 6, 2012 at 11:11 am #

    Because the master plan might get modified? Several of the parcels would be fairly difficult to develop as currently envisioned. Example, Parcel #30 would probably only work as a residential use and would be inefficient programaticly and expensive to build, meaning the parcel might sit vacant for decades. There are likely other inefficient problematic parcels. The commission would probably need to hire a few administrative staff as well.

  3. Mark Rhodes January 6, 2012 at 11:11 am #

    It’s the Rhode Island way to get things mired in bureaucratic b.s. rather than taking action and doing something good.
    Also is it purely coincidence that the RIEDC is located in a building managed by Peregrine Group, of which Mr. Kane is a partner?
    Why are there no designers on the board, either?

  4. Jef Nickerson January 6, 2012 at 11:20 am #

    Peter, my question is really, why create a commission and have said commission hire engineers and lawyers and who knows what other staff (since they seem to need to go into closed session when discussing spending public money???????!?!?!?!!) when the city already has a planning department and access to engineers and lawyers and other staff.

    All the land, regardless of the challenges the parcels face will take decades to develop, look at Capital Center.

    The Capital Center Commission did not hire myriad staff to sit around and do nothing while we waited for land to be developed.

  5. Peter Brassard January 6, 2012 at 12:42 pm #

    Jef, You’re probably right about the engineers and lawyer, but the commission will need staff. The Capital Center Commission initially had several staff people. I don’t know if they do today.

    This does all goes back to the need for a commission to begin with. The state’s apprehension with the city and DPD running the show, which lead to the creation of the commission to begin with, true or not, was partly an attempt to avoid the process from being dragged down by cumbersome city regulations and an archaic approval process.

    Even with all the studies and reports to date, with notions of New Urbanist streetwalls and activated retail frontage, the underlying 1950s zoning prevails. For downtown that means the lowest building heights are at the river and the higher at the highway. Because RIDOT didn’t want to upset their construction schedule, little consideration was given to logical land use. The largest most useable parcels for development that could handle buildings with greater bulk are designated as a park. Whereas, more marginal parcels like #30 are proposed as buildable.

    My speculation is that the commission wants to have the ability to move streets and shift around parks. How easy would that be for the Planning Department to achieve when they are forced to defend decades old mediocre zoning laws that have been most successful at generating surface parking lots and making it nearly impossible to construct a 3-decker anywhere in the city? Providence’s zoning is lousy.

    With all the openness with charettes and public meetings, how successful and how much time did it take and what was the quality of the result with the city’s Comprehensive Plan process? I agree the commission should be open to a public process, but how can any work get done if everything is open?

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