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Ward 3 + PVD Updates - March 17 2024

Hello Neighbors & Friends,


Happy St. Patrick's Day weekend! And Happy Nowruz - Persian New Year, which celebrates the spring equinox!

I love springtime in Ward 3 -- so many of our neighbors are such amazing gardeners, our neighborhood fills with flowers and beautiful smells. But if you're itching to get out there and do some yard work, please keep in mind that curbside yard waste pick up does not start until mid-April.


There's a lot going on in Providence this month, so I'll jump right into the updates!


Carbon Neutral Buildings:

On March 7th, the Council unanimously passed an ordinance I wrote to require all municipal buildings to be carbon neutral by 2040. The Mayor signed the legislation on March 12th.


This legislation requires not only that all municipal buildings are carbon neutral by 2040 (including school buildings), but calls immediately for no new gas hookups to municipal buildings and includes strong labor standards for workers. With the once in a generation investment we are making in the physical infrastructure of our schools, this was the perfect moment to ensure that we are doing it right. This law was nearly a yearlong process to create -- I worked in partnership with our own Council staff, the City's Public Properties and Sustainability Departments and Policy staff, as well as our friends in the building trades and environmental community. We wanted to ensure that this was feasible economically and could be implemented in the timeline proposed, while also being on the leading edge to address the climate crisis in our own operations.  


This is an early step in our commitments as America's first Climate Jobs City and a key piece of implementation of the City's Climate Justice Plan. I was so pleased to celebrate this milestone with Mayor Smiley this past week.





Updates on 103 Evergreen Street:

Thank you to the nearly 150 of our neighbors who attended our community meeting about the proposed development at 103 Evergreen on March 4th -- and the countless others who have reached out to me via email or phone. Big thanks to Steve Alquist for recording the whole meeting for anyone who would like to watch.


As I shared at the meeting, this is still the beginning of a process. The request that was on the table was to change the zoning of this parcel from R3 to R4. R3 zoning is a zone that already supports dense housing and allows for things like triple deckers or row houses. R4 allows for increased density and a removal of limitation on number of units (though with the same height restrictions).


Any zoning request like this would also need to pass the Ordinance Committee and then the full Council to move forward.


There are several options available right now:

  • The developer could rescind the request for R4 zoning and instead develop a project that fits within R3 guidelines, which is how the property is currently zoned. This would end the process and keep the parcel in R3 without any additional public hearings.

  • The developer could continue to push for R4, with either current drawings or a new proposal. **This would trigger a Public Hearing in the Ordinance Committee where public testimony would be welcomed.  

Right now, it is not certain which path the developer will choose to take. No Ordinance Committee Public Hearing has yet been scheduled. I will be sure to include updates with dates for that hearing in subsequent newsletters if the proposal is not rescinded.


As I shared at the end of the meeting, while I am very supportive of increased density across the city, I do not support the request for an R4 zoning change to build this proposed 58-unit building on the property. I have also spoken with the Chair of the Ordinance Committee, our Council President, and the solicitors office about the reasons for my opposition and to ensure that I can best represent the Ward in whichever path this takes.


**Also, at the Public Meeting and since, a few folks have asked about this developer making campaign donations. I want to be clear that I have not taken any campaign donations from Dustin Dezube, who is proposing this development. I also wanted to share that you can look up any RI politician's campaign donations on this website. We are all required to report our donations and expenses quarterly. I take campaign finance very seriously and have refused donations when I did not feel like the donation was in line with my ethical standards.


Lippitt Park Improvements & Trees:

The Parks Department is planning some great improvements to Lippitt Park for this spring/summer! After long last, contracts have been signed with two different contractors - and I have been so pleased to provide some support through my Neighborhood Improvement Funds. Expect to see some work happening M-F 7am - 4pm during the spring and summer. Construction will not impact the weekend farmers market.


The project will include:

  • Repairs to the park's paths -- I know this has been a big concern for many park users!

  • A new splashpad/misting area with LED lights

  • Removal and replacement of some compromised trees**


A few folks have reached out about the tree removal process. The City does not take tree removal lightly (as an environmentalist myself - I hate to see trees cut down!). The trees being removed were specifically and individually chosen because of either health issues of the tree itself (even if a tree looks healthy to your eye, it might have a dying root structure or disease) or safety hazards for park users caused by the tree. My understanding is that new trees will be planted - and overall across the City, we are focused on greatly increasing the urban forest.


Upcoming Meetings & Events:


City Plan Commission: March 19th, 4:45pm:

The City Plan Commission will hear a presentation on the draft land use chapter of the proposed update to the Comprehensive Plan. The Comprehensive Plan affects future land use decisions across the City and is only updated every 10 years. The agenda and information about this meeting can be found here.


North Main Street Task Force - March 20th at 5:30pm:

The next meeting of the North Main Street Task Force is this week. We will be hearing updates from RIPTA about work they have contracted to make improvements to the R line. We will also have an update from the Providence Police about the increased enforcement for speeding violations and data they have collected in the speed sleds that have been positioned along the street for the past several weeks.  

Join in person at City Hall or online. You can see the agenda and ways to connect at this link.





Council meeting on 360 School Closure, Wednesday March 20th at 5:30pm

The City Council will hold a "council as a whole" meeting to hear from the public about the closure of 360 school. This will take place in the Council Chambers. (I will be at the North Main St. Task Force, which is an unfortunate scheduling conflict. But whatever portion of this meeting I miss, I will watch afterward on YouTube to hear the public comment).


Ward 2 & 3 Community Meeting on Stormwater, April 3 at 6pm, Zoom

Please join Councilwoman Anthony and I at an East Side Community Meeting about stormwater and flooding. I want to thank Councilwoman Anthony and her team for their work in putting together this document explaining Providence's sewer system. Municipal systems can be very complex, and we are both dedicated to increased transparency and openness about city processes.

To attend our community meeting, please RSVP at https://bit.ly/MeetApr3 to get the zoom link.  





Upcoming Council Meetings:  The Council holds our regular meetings on the first and third Thursday of every month at 6pm. Our next meeting is this coming Thursday. Meetings are held in Council Chambers, but are also available online to watch remotely.


Presidential Primary:

The primary for the presidential election is on April 2nd.  Early voting is available right now at City Hall. To vote day-of, you can look up your polling places at Vote.RI.gov.


Mayor's Budget Address - April 17th

The Mayor will give his annual budget address in the evening of April 17th in Council Chambers. This is when the Mayor unveils his proposed budget and his priorities for the coming fiscal year. After this, the Council's Finance Committee (of which I am a member) will hold public meetings with each major department to carefully examine and evaluate the budget. Once we have the final calendar for those meetings - which will include at least one public hearing - I will share it with you.


Gratitude:

As I hope you can tell - I am working hard for Ward 3 and the City of Providence every day! I am so grateful for each and every one of you. Please reach out anytime by replying to this email if you have any questions or comments. And in between newsletters, please check out my social media for updates on events and what I'm up to.  I'm post regularly on Facebook and Twitter.

My Best,

Councilor Sue AnderBois


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If new trees aren't planted will you personally seek and allot funds to ensure the old shade trees that were chopped down are replaced?

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