Yard waste pickup schedule announced

The City of Providence Department of Public Works has announced that free yard debris collection will begin Monday, April 14, 2014.

  • Residents are encouraged to recycle and compost all yard debris.
  • Yard debris should be left curbside on regular recycling and trash collection days.
  • Sticks and trimmings must be cut to 4 feet or smaller and tied together. Yard debris may not be placed inside plastic bags.
  • Yard debris collection ends on Friday, December 12, 2014.

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Road work ahead for Ninth Street

New curbs and drains installed on Ninth at Highland.

The Narragansett Bay Commission has said that repaving of Ninth Street will begin after the contractor has put in place new curbs and drains. As of Friday, that work was done in the block between Summit and Highland, but exactly when the resurfacing will begin is up to the companies involved. Where it will be done is shown on the map.

RE:ZONING PROVIDENCE – Upcoming Public Meetings

From Providence Zoning….

Come view the proposed changes to the citywide Zoning Map at our open house on Tuesday, April 15th at 12:00pm or join us at one of our neighborhood meetings for a more in depth discussion of the proposed changes within each area of the City.

Open House: Citywide Zoning Map Changes

Tuesday, April 15, 12:00-1:30 PM
at the Joseph A. Doorley Municipal Building, 444 Westminster St.

Neighborhood meetings:

Upper South Providence, Lower South Providence, Elmwood,

South Elmwood, Washington Park Public Meeting

Tuesday, April 8, 5:30-7:30 PM
at the Southside Cultural Center, 393 Broad Street (Trinity Square)

(click here to view flyer and meeting agenda)

Olneyville, Smith Hill, Valley, Hartford, Silver Lake, Manton Public Meeting

Wednesday, April 9, 5:30-7:30 PM
at William D’Abate Elementary School, 60 Kossuth Street

(click here to view flyer and meeting agenda)

College Hill, Fox Point, Wayland, Mount Hope, Hope, Blackstone Public Meeting

Date and location to be announced.

Federal Hill, West End, Reservoir Public Meeting

Date and location to be announced.

Mount Pleasant, Elmhurst, Wanskuck, Charles Public Meeting

Date and location to be announced.

Come be a part of a comprehensive overhaul of the Zoning Ordinance, and help us reshape the future of development in Providence.

For more information, please visit the project website at
www.rezoningprovidence.com or call 401.680.8400.

Update on plans to pave local streets

Here is the Summit neighborhood portion of the city’s comprehensive paving map, which includes the streets that the Narragansett Bay Commission is responsible for. Those marked in black are the NBC’s domain, those in dark purple are to be done by the city between the summer of 2014 and the spring of 2015. The map is provided by NBC’s Public Affairs Manager Jamie R. Samons, who says, “If it’s a street that the NBC is doing work on, then we’ll pave it.”

In the Combined Sewer Overflow project schedule on NBC’s website, “Reconstruction and curb-to-curb repaving of all affected street and sidewalks,” includes “Cemetery Street, Nashua Street, Frost Street, Collyer Street, Concord Street, Matilda Street, White Street, stubs to Colonial, Dexterdale, Edgehill, Stenton, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, Chace, Hillside” to be completed by the fall of 2014.

Samons adds, “Starting next week, neighbors will see resetting curb and construction inverts in the 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th street areas. There will be no road closures until the contractor resumes drain construction early April.”

City of Providence Paving Map - Small

Neighbors, elected officials, candidates socialize at SNA’s annual meeting

Nearly 90 people gathered for social and political conversations on the evening of March 3 at the SNA annual meeting.

Held at The Highlands on the East Side, the event featured drinks and snacks with an opportunity for neighbors to socialize with neighbors plus their elected representatives and candidates for office.

House Speaker Gordon Fox, Sen. Gayle Goldin and City Councilman Kevin Jackson were all present as were mayoral candidates Lorne Adrain, Jorge Elorza, Daniel Harrop, Brett Smiley and Michael Solomon, plus gubernatorial hopeful Clay Pell and R.I. Senate candidate Chris Wall.  Representing the Providence Police were Capt. George Stamatakos and Lt. John Ryan.

Members of SNA plus other Summit residents were able to meet with the invited guests face to face to discuss state, neighborhood and individual issues. Many participants praised the rare chance for such personal exchanges.

After SNA President Dean Weinberg introduced Highlands Executive Director Valerie Houshar, who welcomed everyone, he presented a short summary of the organization’s achievements in the past year and a survey of projects for the coming year. Then board of directors member Tom Schmeling presided over the election of the 2014 governing body.

Approved by unanimous voice vote were Weinberg as president, Kerry Kohring as vice president, Anneliese Greenier as treasurer and Schmeling as secretary. New members Vishal Jain, Michael McGlynn, Lee Pichette and Sharon Waldman joined incumbents Jim Barfoot, Sierra Barter, Chris Bull, Joan Retsinas, Daren Bulley, Grant Dulgarian, Daniel MacLellan, Britt Page, Sheila Perlow, Mary Ann Rossoni and Peter Sandby-Thomas.

The rest of the evening was dedicated to one-on-one discussions and getting-to-know-you conversations while enjoying wine and beer provided by Campus Fine Wines, coffee by New Harvest Coffee Roasters, olive-oil tasting by Olive del Mondo, pizza by SNA and desserts from the Highlands own kitchen. There were also free massages by Harmony on Hope.

With the annual meeting concluded on a social note, SNA is planning more formal candidate presentations for future dates.

Councilman Kevin Jackson and a constituent discuss issues.

Mayoral candidate Daniel Harrop presents his case.

Summit residents sit with Senate candidate Chris Wall as mayoral hopeful Michael Solomon, right background, listens to ideas.

Public Meeting Announcement – RE:ZONING PROVIDENCE

Flyers: English [PDF]  |  Spanish [PDF]

A discussion of the key changes proposed in the draft of the new City of Providence Zoning Ordinance.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014
5:30pm – 7:30pm

Joseph A. Doorley Municipal Building, 444 Westminster Street, First Floor Cafeteria

PUBLIC MEETING AGENDA:

  • Project overview by the City of Providence Department of Planning & Development followed by a presentation by the consultant team outlining the key changes proposed in the draft of the new City of Providence Zoning Ordinance
  • Question & Answer period
  • Open House – Department of Planning & Development staff and the consultant team will be available to talk with you about your issues and concerns.

Re:Zoning Providence will help us better preserve, strengthen, and protect the historic pattern of development that is central to the character of our City, as well as to revitalize and further develop the areas of our City that can accommodate additional economic growth.

For more information, please visit the project website at www.rezoningprovidence.com, or contact:

Martina Haggerty at mhaggerty AT providenceri.com or 401.680.8528

City planning director explains proposal for complete overhaul of zoning ordinance

Providence is currently engaged in a total overhaul of its zoning ordinance in an effort to “craft regulations to guide the markets in a way that is beneficial to the city,” a representative said Monday night.

Speaking to local residents attending the Summit Neighborhood Association’s board of directors’ monthly meeting, Robert Azar, director of current planning for the city’s Department of Planning and Development, said the major thrust of the reorganization is to “recognize what we have and preserve it.”

He said the zoning document now is “held together with tape” and has too many loopholes relating to rules dating to the 1950s. Azar said planners in the 1970s began a change that adopted a suburbanization outlook with a separation of uses that is not consistent with today’s urban attitude. He pointed out that cities do not have enough land to compete with suburbs and their vast parking lots surrounding commercial centers. In town, he said, “we love our walkable urban forms and we should seek to preserve them.”

Now, Azar said, there is “a great opportunity for the community” to try to keep the things it has and enhance them by using zoning tools to carry out the vision of the city’s Comprehensive Plan. He cited federal funds available and said planners had hired Camiros, a Chicago-based consulting firm specializing in zoning laws in urban situations, to assist.

An initial draft report is being reviewed “in house” by the planning department, Azar said, and is not yet ready for public view. He said presenting a huge, detailed and dense document is a challenge and his staff is seeking a way to communicate with residents about the proposed ordinance. It must be approved by the City Council with public input and all “clients” must come together, he said, predicting that a comprehensive proposal would be ready in less than a year.

Azar projected that the final document would be completely reorganized with consistent terminology and voice, clearing out archaic sections on measurements and temporary use. He said there would be better design guidelines to preserve traditional concepts, but would not rule on esthetics, which are subjective. Commercial districts, including Hope Street, should have design regulations that don’t put undue pressure on developers, such as continuing to demand a set number of off-street parking spaces for a certain amount of floor space, he said, adding that zoning should encourage pedestrian activity and biking. He said houses shouldn’t be lost to parking, but that adapting parking rules would be subject to further discussion as the process continues.

The planning director also said the new zoning would support linking public transportation to land use and develop North Main Street as a rapid-transit corridor. “Zoning should be in tune with transportation policies,” Azar said, and “we want to encourage residential with transit” use.

He also said that planners would be evaluating signage and landscaping standards plus how the zoning ordinance would be administered by government and how much public review would be meaningful in refining institutional restrictions and development.

In response to questions, Azar said the variance process would be more transparent, but that some of it was governed by state law. He said that the zoning board should not be changing “use” rules and that planners are developing a citizens’ guide to the new ordinance.

Answering another question, Azar said public parks are zoned as possibilities but do not always occur. He noted that the city cannot take away property rights, such as on the Butler Hospital campus, by zoning and that park use is determined by the Parks Department with public input.

Concerns about excessively tall construction are “well founded,” Azar said, but that “we are trying to encourage development in sync with correct usage.” He agreed that enforcement of current standards is a problem but is under the control of the Department of Inspections and Standards with recourse to Housing Court, not the Planning Department. He said getting compliance or remediation is difficult because only the courts can order changes and usually don’t want to cause financial hardship. He admitted that people who are savvy can manipulate the system to their own advantage.

State law requires that current non-conforming situations be “grandfathered” to continue under the new rules, Azar said, but that they cannot be changed or altered. He said that there is still much controversial debate in the planning community about requirements for developers to comply with the new rules, but noted that downtown projects now have to have building plans in hand before any demolition can proceed. He said “demolition by neglect” was a challenge not addressed by zoning but that the Department of Inspection and Standards has the power to enforce the building code.

Azar pointed out that in Summit, most house lots are undersized according to the old rules. “Some of the things we like best about our city are illegal under current zoning,” he said, but they’re trying to change that “based on what we hear from communities.”

The complete Technical Review and Approaches is available here.

Narragansett Bay Commission update invitation

Dear Neighbor:

Work has begun on the installation of pipes in the area surrounding Miriam Hospital for Phase II of Narragansett Bay Commission’s Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) Abatement Program. These pipes are helping to keep our water clean.

To date, they’ve stopped close to 5 billion gallons of sewage from entering Narragansett Bay.

Additionally, with the completion of Phase II pipe installation along North Main St., we’ll soon be starting curb-to-curb repaving on North Main St. This repaving work will begin in May and is expected to take a few weeks to complete.

We appreciate your patience as local traffic and accessibility will be impacted during this time. We also understand you will likely have questions about how this activity will affect your area, and we’d like to update you about the construction and street improvements that will be taking place to help minimize disruption.

We’ll be having a one-on-one informational meeting on Wednesday, April 17 at 6:30 p.m. at Summit Commons on 99 Hillside Ave., and we hope you’ll join us. If you’re interested in learning more about the project, please visit www.narrabay.com, www.Facebook.com/narrabay, twitter.com/narrabay, or call the Narragansett Bay Commission at 401-461-8848.

Thank you for your continued support as we work to keep our water clean.

Sincerely,

Vincent Mesolella, Chairman
Narragansett Bay Commission

Hope Street Paving to Begin Soon

The following is a letter from the Narragansett Bay Commission, dated March 25th, 2013. There is also a PDF version.

Dear Neighbor:

As you know, over the past months we’ve been working on Hope St. installing pipes for Phase II of Narragansett Bay Commission’s Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) Abatement Program. To date, the pipes have stopped close to 5 billion gallons of sewage from moving into Narragansett Bay.

With that phase of project construction in the area now complete, we’ll soon be starting curb-to-curb repaving along Hope St., including replacement of some of the sidewalks. Repaving will begin in April and is expected to take several weeks. Local traffic and accessibility will be impacted, and we’d like to answer your questions about these street and sidewalk improvements and provide you with information on what to expect during this time to minimize disruption.

We’ll be having a one-on-one informational meeting on Monday, April 1 at 7:15 p.m. at the Church of the Redeemer on 655 Hope St., and we hope you’ll join us. If you’re interested in learning more about the project, please visit www.narrabay.com, www.Facebook.com/narrabay, follow us on twitter @narrabay, or call the Narragansett Bay Commission Public Affairs office at 401-461-8848.

Thank you for your continued patience and support as we work to keep our water clean.

Sincerely,

Vincent Mesolella, Chairman
Narragansett Bay Commission

cc: Mayor Angel Taveras
cc: City Council President Michael A. Solomon
cc: Councilman Kevin Jackson

Firing of Librarian Protested

Picketers in front of the Rochambeau library protest the firing of librarian Tom O'Donnell. More information and an avenue for action are on the "Friends of Tom O'Donnell" Facebook page. Here is a link to the Providence Journal coverage - http://www.facebook.com/l/kAQFPpTP-AQGzX5PyWeNgE7GokbJPINkDUan76yh1o7s9hQ/news.providencejournal.com/breaking-news/2013/03/video-providence-residents-want-their-librarian-back.html and http://www.facebook.com/l/2AQEKRpRcAQHNJdfxKPhffuLtLhUyAZqS4rORkW1xahDckA/digital.olivesoftware.com/Olive/ODE/ProJo/LandingPage/LandingPage.aspx?href=VFBKLzIwMTMvMDMvMDY.&pageno=NA..&entity=QXIwMDQwMA..&view=ZW50aXR5