The Providence City Plan Commission Tuesday approved a revised plan to construct a fitness center on North Main Street and to replace the Sears building with a 300-space parking lot.
Although 11 neighborhood residents testified against the plan and members of the UniteHere! union displayed a chain of 86 letters, many from Summit, opposing the project, the board voted unanimously in favor of the construction.
The approval was conditional on the LA Fitness chain working with planning staff to develop a system to dim after-hours lights in the parking lot and make the building’s signs more in keeping with the surroundings.
Acting Director of Planning and Development Robert Azar admitted that the proposal would not have been permitted under the new zoning rules currently being codified, but said that “this is today” and under current regulations, the developer had met all the requirements.
Commission chair Christine West said that the zoning revision “is an opportunity to make the city we want,” but also said current criteria had been met. She and other members of the panel thanked the residents who had taken the time to testify Tuesday and at a similar hearing in April.