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State defiantly moves ahead with surface parking

state-house-parking

In spite of Providence Zoning rules and Capital Center rules forbidding it, the State is moving ahead with plans to expand a surface parking lot on the State House grounds and building a new surface parking lot adjacent to the State House.

ecoRI reports that the Department of Administration (DOA) has already started work on expanding the Assembly Members parking lot on the State House grounds. “Work on the two tiers of new parking to the east of the Statehouse, along Smith Street, will replace 2,000 square feet of grass with some 40 parking spaces.”

Meanwhile, as we discussed in July, the DOA has spent $3.1 million purchasing property along Francis Street next to the Veterans Memorial Auditorium for even more surface parking.

The Chairman of the Capital Center Commission, Deming Sherman is none to happy about all this. Sherman told The Providence Journal that there should be less parking around the State House, not more and that a parking garage should be built behind the DOA building.

When the State restarted the project to expand the parking lot on the State House lawn in June of this year, Sherman contended that the plan had to be submitted to the Capital Center Commission for review, the DOA claims that their authority supercedes the Capital Center Commission (which was created by the State) as well as City zoning.

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Jewelry District Association on the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission

The below letter was sent to House Speaker Gordon Fox by the Jewelry District Association regarding the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission:

27 June 2011

Dear Mr. Speaker and Providence Representatives:

The Jewelry District Association (JDA) strongly urges you to take no action on Senate Bill 114 as Amended.

JDA membership is made up of a broad cross-section of businesses and residents and institutions, including the largest employers in Providence. For the past six years the JDA has participated in all the City’s planning sessions on the Jewelry District along with interested parties from throughout the City and the State. Two and a half years ago the JDA and the Providence Foundation sponsored a study by the Cecil Group that outlined strategies for creating a thriving mixed-use community in the Jewelry District. Now we and others are engaged with the City and their consultants, Perkins + Will, in work that will result in I-195 parcel develop-ment plans, updated citywide zoning and a streamlined permitting process.

With no regard for these planning efforts, Senate Bill 114 proposes a Redevelopment Commission for the I-195 parcels that has sweeping powers and little or no checks and balances. As one critic said, it creates, “a city within a city,” which flies in the face of comprehensive planning.

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News & Notes: Things in the ProJo you should read Edition

The Journal had a few good articles this weekend that we all should be reading:

Editorial: Stop Route 195 commission

The overriding state interest in the land is its federally mandated sale at fair-market value. A commission is not required for that. Indeed, a commission may retard both the land’s sale and its development.

Instead, the land should be sold to be developed under existing municipal authority. Let market forces guide its progress. That would be much more efficient than seven commissioners and their train of agencies, lawyers, consultants and other hangers-on. In fact, as of now the bill looks as if it is intended to create the next secure feed bag for the well-connected.


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