Tonight at 5:30, the Zoning Board of Review will hear Providence Public Library’s request for relief from Zoning Ordinance limits on the size of signs at the Rochambeau Branch. The Library says it has promised this sign in return for a sizable gift. Concerned neighbors and patrons, including board members of the SNA and the Friends of Rochambeau have pressed the Library to move the donor recognition inside the branch without success. SNA will appear to oppose the request at tonights hearing and will present written opposition from 11 neighbors. We encourage other to attend and speak.
SNA’s letter outlining its opposition follows:
To: John M. Kelly, Chairman, Providence Zoning Board of Review
From: Jonathan Howard, President, Summit Neighborhood Association
Re: Variance request for signage at Rochambeau Branch of Providence Public Library
The Board of Directors of the Summit Neighborhood Association opposes the Providence Public Library’s request for a variance for signage on the exterior of the Rochambeau Branch Library. We will speak in opposition to the request this evening.
I attach two petitions and two letters from 11 abutters and close neighbors to the branch who also wish to be on record as opposed to this variance. I will submit the notarized originals of these letters at the hearing tonight.
We oppose granting of relief for these reasons:
- The branch lies in an R2 residential zone within sight of many homes.
- A14’ X 18” sign far exceeds the six square feet of signage allowed in R2 zones.
- The branch already has an internally lit sign post that exceeds R2 standards.
- The branch displays 40 to 60 square feet of additional signage etched into the glass façade of the new wing. (“ROCHAMBEAU” in very large block capitals).
- Added signage at the Library further extends the character of the commercial district of Hope Street into the adjacent residential areas.
- The total signage at Rochambeau Branch will exceed that of many commercial establishments in the C2 area of Hope Street immediately to the north.
- Neighbors and patrons of the branch overwhelmingly oppose the sign.
- The Providence Public Library suffers no hardship from the Zoning Ordinance.
- PPL has promised a donor recognition in the form of signage which it did not have the legal right to grant under the Zoning Ordinance.
- The Library has feasible alternatives for suitable recognition, including its full discretion to use the interior of the branch or any other Library property in any way it sees fit.
- There are no reasonable legal or philanthropic standards setting the size of donor recognition in relation to the importance of a charitable gifts.
The community is grateful to the donor for this investment in our community institution. We would gladly work with the Library to express our thanks within the bounds of the Zoning Ordinance.
Jonathan W. Howard,
President, Summit Neighborhood Association