[Summit] Planning meeting on Rochambeau-Blackstone development proposal

Kerry Kohring kerrykohring at gmail.com
Thu Dec 11 22:38:21 CST 2014


     The two main speakers at Wednesday evening’s meeting about the Blackstone-Rochambeau development proposal both stressed the need for as many opponents as possible to attend the Providence Plan Board’s hearing on the project.

     Realtor Sharon Steele, who began the preparation briefing, said getting names and concerns about personal adverse impacts of a poorly executed carving up of the Granoff estate “on the record” was essential to influence members of the board and to solidify a body of evidence for a possible appeal.

     She said she plans to “read into the record” a letter from the Providence Preservation Society opposing the current subdivision proposal even though the organization does not have legal standing to be a party in any litigation.

     Attorney William Landry, who has been retained by the newly formed Blackstone Neighborhood Association and who arrived soaking wet because of having to walk around weather-snarled traffic, also urged opponents to attend the hearing to demonstrate the depth of neighborhood concern.

     He pointed out that the appeal process to the Zoning Board and ultimately to Superior Court relies completely on the record and that no new testimony is permitted.

     Landry also told the about 25 people attending at the Central Congregational Church, 296 Angell St., that the current application for approval of the lot division fails to meet the required standards on may levels, most specifically that it doesn’t show that it is compatible with the surrounding area or how it conforms to the city master plan.

     He further stated that the law requires a majority approval of the seven seats of the Plan Board, which now has only five members. One has recused herself because of employment by a party to the dispute, so all four remaining members would have to vote for the application for it to succeed.

     The BNA lawyer said there has been activity on the property in question that indicates the applicants are trying to remedy some of the deficiencies of their proposal, but that they have not as yet attempted to file any amended documents. He said he would continue to monitor the situation but again urged concerned neighbors to attend the hearing and write letters to the board stating objections to the proposal. 

     The meeting’s steering committee stressed that if people cannot come to the hearing, they email Bob Azar of the City Planning Commission at razar at providenceri.com, and cc sharon at sharonsteele.com to outline concerns that will go into the record.
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