4th Street bicycle shop zoning issue

The zoning variance for the proposed bicycle shop on 4th Street goes before the zoning board on September 1.  If you are interested in reading the letter sent from SNA to the zoning board, it is here:

February 10, 2010

Myrth York

Chairperson

Providence Zoning Board

Dear Madam Chairperson,

The Summit Neighborhood Association supports the North Hope street business district. Strengthening this business district is important to helping make our neighborhood strong and an enjoyable place to live. In these hard economic times we don’t want to limit owners or tenant businesses in their efforts to be successful.

While the neighborhood association supports a zoning variance that would allow the sale and service of bicycles at 210-212 Fourth Street, we respectfully request that the Providence Zoning Board formally rule abandonment of a nonconforming use at this property before opening any discussion of the new zoning request by the property owners.

Specifically, according to zoning ordinance 201.10 Abandonment; 210-212 Fourth Street, lot 77 in plat 93 has lost any zoning exceptions it may have previously had for the property’s use as a detailing shop, car wash or auto sales/garage repair due to the fact that for more than two years it has not been in use and in fact, such facilities necessary for these uses are no longer in the building.  The ordinance states that, “If any nonconforming use is halted for a period of one year, the owner of the nonconforming use will be presumed to have abandoned such nonconforming use.”

While the Neighborhood Association looks forward to the addition of a bicycle sales and repair service in the neighborhood, we do not support a variance allowing auto sales and service due to significant parking and traffic congestion issues.  The Association believes any auto repair/service would bring unsustainable auto congestion to this already crowded corner of our neighborhood.  Bank of America is on one corner with limited parking.  Many of their employees park on this section of Fourth Street because the bank does not allow its employees to park in their small lot. On the opposite corner is the Seven Stars bakery also with limited parking space.  Finally, the RI Ballet is just opposite with limited parking. We understand from the neighbors on Fourth Street that there is no street parking available on Saturdays when there is ballet practice or a recital. The truth is that this intersection of our neighborhood is so over crowded with parked cars and traffic, that is extremely difficult to turn off Fourth Street onto Hope Street or vice versa, and is in fact sometimes very dangerous.

Additionally, we would ask that the zoning board postpone granting the sign variance until next month to allow time for the applicant to submit to the Summit Neighborhood Association a full color, dimensioned drawing or mock-up of the sign and how it will be hung in relation to the building.  In turn, the neighborhood association will ensure that our neighbors on Fourth Street have the opportunity to review the drawing and comment on it. In this way our new business neighbors can move forward in setting up their new store short of installing the new sign.

Thank you very much for helping us to build and maintain a quality neighborhood for families, businesses and visitors.

Jim Kelley,

President of the Summit Neighborhood Association

SNA

PO Box 41092

Providence, RI 02940

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