Greater City Providence

New building on Benefit St. on Zoning agenda


Image from Google Streetview

A new building on the corner of Benefit and South Court Streets appears on the agenda for the Zoning Board of Review on April 3, 2013.

WALTER L. BRONHARD: 159 Benefit Street (corner South Court St.), also known as Lot 65 on the Tax Assessor’s Plat 10, located in a Residential R-2 Two-Family Zone and within the College Hill Historic Overlay District; to be relieved from Sections 204.3, 304, 416.2 and 704.2 in the proposed construction of a new two-family dwelling. The proposed use is permitted as of right within the R-2 district; the applicant seeks a dimensional variance for relief from regulations governing substandard size lots, minimum lot area, minimum lot area per dwelling unit, height, side yards, architectural features and paving limitations. Further, a special use permit is being sought pursuant to Section 419.2 in order to provide a home occupation in each dwelling unit. The lot in question contains approximately 4,896 square feet of land area.

This location, lot 65, is next to the building which houses Geoff’s on Benefit. The lot extends above the retaining wall to a second surface lot off of South Court Street. We have not seen any drawings or plans for the proposed structure, so we can’t speak to that, however it is good to potentially see the one of the last surface lots on upper Benefit Street gone. Although the request for relief from “paving limitations” is worrisome.

It is actually rather surprising with considering housing prices on the East Side that this parcel remained undeveloped for so long.

Does anyone else have any more information on this proposed building?

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.


  • I’m far more concerned about the request for relief from “architectural features”…
    Given the remarkable historic nature of that neighborhood, one of the largest jewels in the city’s crown, it’s certainly nice to think of something better than a parking lot…
    BUT, there are plenty of examples of structures that are scarcely an improvement over asphalt. That would be heartbreaking on Benefit St.

  • it will be interesting to see whether the building blocks anything, and folks complain and actually wish for it to remain a little parking lot…

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