Statement from Councilman Pedro Espinal Regarding the Passage of the Change to the Zoning Code of Ordinances Eliminating Waste Incinerator or Waste Facilities from the City of Providence

Sep 4, 2020 | 0 comments

In February of this year, there was a proposal for a waste facility on Allens Avenue that would have been able to accept, process, and haul 2,500 tons of construction and commercial waste per day. This would have caused an increase in industrial traffic and would have undoubtedly caused more pollution along Allens and Thurbers Avenues. This is in an area that is already considered a “frontline community” by the City of Providence’s recently published Climate Justice Plan and also has some of the highest rates of childhood asthma in the nation.

I, along with invested community partners and neighbors, testified before the City’s Planning Commission against the requested zoning variance for the site. After hearing from concerned residents, the petitioner decided to pull their zoning request for this property. To ensure that no other waste facility would be considered for this site or any site in Providence, I introduced an amendment to the City’s Zoning Ordinance in May that would eliminate any new incinerators or waste facilities from being able to open in the City of Providence.

Last night, the City Council unanimously voted and passed for the second and final time this significant environmental change to our City’s Zoning Ordinance. As a Councilor, it has never been my intention to stand in the way of bringing new businesses to our City. However, I believe that these types of industries would only serve to harm our residents and create more air and water pollution in Providence.

There is no viable place for such facilities in a city as densely populated as ours, and by removing this from our Zoning Code, we have ensured the health and safety of our residents.

I want to extend my thanks to my community members, the City Plan Commission, my fellow Council colleagues and fellow elected officials, and community groups who helped make this change a reality. As we face a changing climate, we have to do everything we can to protect our environment.

Pedro Espinal
Providence City Council
Councilman – Ward 10

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