I want Jason Fane to do business in Providence. I appreciate his commitment to our city – particularly, his pledge to hire union labor for his proposed development. And, I believe that Providence needs to expand its tax base to be successful – and that means increasing development. The Hope Point Tower would represent a $300 million investment in our city, and that is much-needed.
I am also a great proponent of job creation and an ardent supporter of our trade unions.
However, I do not believe that the Hope Point Tower is a good fit for the proposed location on the I-195 parcel. Just a few years ago, the City of Providence spent a great deal of time and resources in the creation of a comprehensive plan, which took into consideration input from developers, community members, and a host of other organizations. Approving a spot zoning change for this development would basically throw all of that process and input out the window.
As City Council President, I have made it a priority to engage our citizens; it is important to me that residents of Providence know their voices are heard.
We on the City Council often hear feedback from developers that there needs to be predictability in our zoning, and we need to play by the rules. And, we have worked incredibly hard to bring our city out of the dark days of backroom deals and the attitude of you had to “know a guy” to get things done. The city’s comprehensive plan laid out a series of clear guidelines for development and design. We cannot just disregard those guidelines.
I want to be very clear on two points: first, while I do not believe that the I-195 land is a feasible location for the Hope Point Tower, I do believe that another location in our city could be suitable. I am committed to working with the developer and city officials to find an option that works for the size and scope of the development while staying within the guidelines of our city’s comprehensive plan.
Secondly, if this project is not approved for the I-195 location, that is not the only option for that land. That parcel will be developed, and it is incumbent upon us as city officials to ensure the development is appropriate.