April 24, 2018
Ms. Christine West, Chairperson
Providence City Plan Commission
Department of Planning & Development
444 Westminster St. Suite 3A
Providence, RI 02903
Dear Ms. West:
Building Bridges Providence is a nonprofit (501 (c) 3) organization focused on supporting economic development and improving the quality of life in our neighborhoods.
While our mission is to promote economic development in our City, we are against the proposed Fane Tower. This proposal is not right for Providence. A survey conducted by Building Bridges Providence and the Jewelry District Association resulted in feedback from 453 individuals. Six out of seven respondents living or working in adjacent zip codes, or 85% were against the Fane Proposal.
From that survey, the following reasons were given against the proposal.
• Negative impact on our public assets: park, pedestrian bridge, CityWalk, the Wexford building and Dyer Street. These assets must be protected for our children, our grandchildren and beyond.
• Spot zoning – after a long and effect effort to develop Providence zoning, this proposal requires a re-zoning of 100 feet (10 stories) to over 600 feet … 6 times higher. We believe that the current zoning, the will of the people, must be respected. Spot zoning requires a compelling reason … where is the compelling reason for this parcel? The bottom line of one company or short-term construction jobs are not compelling reasons when looking at a building that will stand for decades.
• Long term impact on Providence zoning (a precedent for taller buildings anywhere in the city) and opening the option of a developer taking over park land for their private use.
• Although we have not seen the new design, our respondents overwhelmingly thought the original design was “too tall and too ugly”
We are also very disappointed that the revised Fane proposal, due to be presented at your Wednesday night meeting, has not been made public before that meeting. Transparency and the objective of an informed public were not provided. We insist that additional opportunity for public comment be provided after the public has an opportunity to evaluate the new proposal and before the CPC votes. What you will get on Wednesday night will be “gut reactions” on the design, not informed and thoughtful opinions.
Do we support the Fane organization investing in Providence? Yes, just not on this parcel. A Fane proposal on a downtown site or on I-195 land next to I-95 could get our support.
In summary, our organization and six out of seven residents are firmly against this proposal.
Building Bridges Providence