June 3 Ward Letter

We are now in the season that many Rhode Islanders wait for, and I hope you are getting outdoors, perhaps to the Hope Street Block Party yesterday or the PVD Fest downtown next weekend.  This week’s letter discusses a candidate forum for the City Council, a proposed alternative to the suboxone office at 150 Lloyd Avenue and an proposal to extend the City’s student housing ordinance.

Download a pdf copy.

In recent weeks, three East Siders have expressed interest in running for the Ward 2 City Council seat I will be vacating at the end of this year.  They are (in alphabetical order):

  • Helen Anthony, a land use attorney at the Handy Law Firm who previously served on the City Council in Columbia, Missouri;
  • Mark Feinstein, a local businessman who has served on the Providence Economic Development Partnership, which provides capital to Providence businesses unable to obtain conventional financing;
  • Ryan Holt, a governmental affairs and land use attorney at the Darrow Everett law firm, who had prior experience as corporate counsel in the financial services industry.

All three expected candidates (all of whom have qualifications beyond the brief summaries just provided) have accepted an invitation from the College Hill Neighborhood Association to discuss City issues at the Association’s next meeting on Monday, June 4 at 7:00 p.m. at 199 Hope Street.  The public is invited.

At the same CHNA meeting, a developer’s representative will present a proposal for the 150 Lloyd Avenue residence that currently displays a sign announcing the arrival of a suboxone office.  The proposal calls for the construction of 9 residential units on the property, which cannot happen unless and until the City Council approves a change in the zoning ordinance in that area from R-1 to R-4.  I will be attending the meeting and listening with interest both to the proposal and the questions and concerns raised by our neighbors.

Recently, a property owner rented a two-family home on College Hill to 13 students, well beyond the past use and/or designed capacity of the house.  When neighbors asked the Division of Inspection and Standards whether the City regulated this practice, they learned that existing laws did not apply.  (The City Council enacted a 3-student limit for single family homes only.)  In response, I introduced an ordinance to extend the 3 student per unit limit to all multifamily homes in all zones.  After corresponding with some property owners (who were concerned that the original version was overbroad) and working with the Law Department, I will be submitting an amended version to the Ordinance Committee on Tuesday night, June 5.  The new version will apply only to 2-family houses located in R-1 or R-1A zones.  The Ordinance Committee will set a date for a public hearing, and the City Plan Commission will review the proposal before the Ordinance Committee or the City Council takes any action on it.


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