Monday, June 9, 2014

Re:Zoning Providence - Drafts and Public Meeting

The revised public release draft of the City of Providence Zoning Ordinance is now available for download. The public release draft of the City of Providence Zoning Map is also available for download. For more information regarding specific proposed zoning changes by Neighborhood, click here.
A Public Meeting will be held Wednesday, June 11th at 6:00pm (meeting location: 444 Westminster Street, first floor) where City of Providence staff and consultants will present the key changes proposed in the third draft of the proposed zoning text and zoning map. Following a presentation of the key changes, staff and consultants will be available to gather your feedback and comments, and respond to questions and concerns regarding the draft zoning ordinance.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Adjusting the Property Owner Tax Rate

Excerpt from Sam Zurier's newsletter
              At its June 5 meeting, the City Council deferred consideration of a measure to adjust the relative property tax rates of owner-occupied and rental property.  As described in my June 1 letter, the measure, which was introduced on May 1, seeks to adjust the proportion between these two tax rates in 2015-16.  The normal procedure for this type of legislation is to refer it to committee for vetting, and then for the City Council to review it for passage at two separate meetings.  In this case, the City Council invoked a rarely-used rule to pass the ordinance for the first time prior to referring it to committee.  I opposed this vote, because the measure does not take effect for more than a year, and it raises significant financial issues for taxpayers.  Last week, the Ways and Means Committee scheduled a public hearing to take place Monday, June 16 at 6:00 p.m. at City Hall.  This hearing will allow the public to offer its input on this measure.  Among other things, I am interested in learning (1) how the recent revaluation affected the tax burden and rental market, and (2) how this ordinance, if enacted, will affect tax rates and the rental market.


Residents are urged to report graffiti to 1-800-TAGGERS or online at


State law prohibits the disposal of e-waste (computer monitors and hard drives, laptops, TVs, including CRT, LCD, and plasma, and similar video display devices in your regular trash.

Call Waste Management Customer Center at 800-972-4545 to make an appointment for free pickup of e-waste, or dispose of e-waste in marked containers in the parking lot of the Department of Public Works at 700 Allens Avenue. E-waste collection events are also hosted by the RI Resource Recovery

Friday, June 6, 2014

Good government groups call on Rhode Island Senate to withdraw ethics resolution

Common Cause Rhode Island, along with the Rhode Island Taxpayers, and the League of Women Voters of Rhode, ask the Rhode Island Senate to withdraw Senate resolution 2824 Sub A as amended. This resolution, which would put a constitutional amendment regarding the jurisdiction of the Ethics Commission over the General Assembly on November’s ballot, has been hopelessly compromised. The groups remain committed to future efforts to fix the loophole created in 2009 by the Rhode Island Supreme Court’s decision in Irons v. Rhode Island Ethics Commission.
Read the editorial in today's (June 4, 2014) ProJo.


Reminder - Three upcoming events‏

1)    June 11, Wednesday, 4:30 pm, Governor’s Reception Room, State House
Celebration of Susan B. Wilson Award winners, a competitive award given to social studies teachers for excellence  (see for more details)

2)    June 12, Thursday, 6 pm, Wanskuck Library, 233 Veazie St,  Providence.  Mayoral candidates debate, sponsored by Friends of Providence Community Libraries, conducted by Providence League of Women Voters

3)    June 19, Thursday, 5:30 – 8 pm.  603  Angell St, Providence, Annual Meeting/Barbecue/potluck desserts. RSVP:

Monday, June 2, 2014

Providence - Zoning, Brown Master Plan

Neighborhood email lists and newsletters are a good source of information.

A recent Wayland Square newsgroup email provided information about proposed changes to East Side zoning and Brown University's Institutional Master Plan.

Providence - Budget, Tax Rates, River Road

This is not a candidate endorsement, but for anyone interested in Providence Issues, Sam Zurier's Ward Letters are a wonderful source of information about what is going on in the City.

June 1, 2014 Ward Letter

Last month, the City Council reviewed the City budget in the Ways and Means Committee, and the School Department in the Education Committee.  Those reviews will conclude this week.  The Ways and Means Committee holds a public hearing and possibly a vote on Monday, June 2 at 5:30.  The Education Committee will hold a hearing the next day at 5:30, and likely a vote on the School Department budget that evening.  If that occurs, the City Council may review the budget this Thursday night, June 5. 

On May 1, a group of City Council members introduced legislation to narrow the spread between tax rates between homeowners (which currently is at $19.25) and owners of rental properties of 1-5 units (currently $33.75), a differential of 75%.

A week from Thursday (June 12) at 6:00-8:00 p.m., I will host a community meeting at Nathan Bishop Middle School to discuss a neighborhood group’s proposal to reconfigure River Road. The group wishes to restrict vehicular traffic on the road to benefit visitors on foot and bicycles. 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Action Alert - Energy

Distributed Generation Growth Program bills (H7727/S2690). The Senate will vote on their version on June 6, but the bill is still in committee in the house, being “held for further study.”  This program will expire in 2014 unless reauthorized by the RI Legislature.   Please read the explanation below, and then call or email your representatives in the Legislature. Senate House

Developing renewable energy is our best way to fight climate change, as well as to protect ourselves from rising prices for natural gas.

Per an article in the ProJo of May 30, 2014, the distributed generation pilot program created in 2011 to develop the clean energy industry in RI has been very successful. “It created 175 jobs in the first 18 months of the program and the cost of solar power generation dropped more than 50%...Renewable energy companies …lined up in droves to vie for the wind, solar, anaerobic digestion and small-scale hydro projects awarded through the 2011 program.” 70 projects proposed so far, but program only big enough to accommodate 28.  16 have been built or scheduled to be built, with more on the way.

This program will expire in 2014 unless reauthorized by the RI Legislature.  Distributed Generation Growth Program bill (H7727/S2690).The Senate will hear their version on June 6, but the bill is still in committee in the house, being “held for further study.” 

“According to a May 20143 report commissioned by the state Office of Energy Resources, a new distributed generation program along with Renewable Energy Fund investments would result in nearly 250 net jobs and an average annual net economic output of more than $30 million.  Over the next 25 years, the state could expect to see more than a half-billion dollars in economic output if the bill were enacted.  With an expanded renewable energy market, the state’s solar businesses would no longer have to cross state lines to do business. “  By Peter Rothstein, president of New England Clean Energy Council.  John Marcantonio, Exec. Director of RI Builders’ Association, and Michael Daley, business manager of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers local union 99.   

This is an area in which we have not been active for a while, so we need help.  If you have time to research these issues or help us cover what is happening and plan ways to inform legislators and the public, please let us know.  See for contact info and to see what we are doing so far.