Comprehensive plan advances in Providence

Dan Barbarisi has the details of the City Plan Commission's approval last night of the amended Comprehensive Plan, which will guide the future of planning and zoning in Providence.

On paper, some of this sounds pretty good:

The plan will form the groundwork for creating a Providence with walkable paths and green spaces along the rivers and waterfront. It designates “jobs-only” districts as a way to keep businesses in the city as traditional spaces are lost to housing. The plan also labels likely areas for future growth, and identifies “growth corridors” like Broad Street, Westminster Street and North Main Street, where future development will be encouraged. At the same time, it restricts heavy industrial development in the Port of Providence south of Thurbers Avenue, and encourages mixed-use development in the north areas of the port along Allens Avenue.

Yet it's no secret that this has sometimes been a contentious process (see here and here). Barbarisi adds:

Some of the major changes in the plan have left business and neighborhood groups unhappy. For instance, members of the City Plan Commission see the industrial waterfront areas as a potential economic powerhouse, with marinas, retail uses and pedestrian activity.

But existing businesses along the Allens Avenue corridor see that vision as a threat to their livelihood, and came out strongly against that change. They were unable to sway city planners.

Residents in the Fox Point and College Hill neighborhoods also lobbied city planners to expand the attention to the city’s waterfront in the plan. They said that the plan was not clear enough, and did not protect the waterfront from the kind of development they fear: towering condo high rises along the water, restricting public access.

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