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Pursuant to R.I. Gen. Laws §42-64.14-5(b) and R.I. Gen. Laws §45-24.6-4 (the “SED Act”) any property owned by the I-195 Redevelopment District is designated as a special economic development district (referred to hereinafter as the “District”). Accordingly, only land owned by the I-195 Redevelopment District is within the District (as its boundaries may be adjusted by the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission (the “Commission”)). No approval under this Development Plan for any development shall have any legal effect unless the Commission, in its sole discretion, determines to sell or ground lease land within the District to any such party on terms acceptable to the Commission.
Pursuant to the SED Act, the Commission adopts the following regulations as its plan of development for the District (the “Development Plan”) in accordance with the SED Act. The Development Plan shall be applicable to all construction in the District except projects which are developed pursuant to the Interim Development Plan adopted by the Commission on August 28, 2019; (the “Interim Development Plan”). Approvals granted under the Interim Development Plan shall be effective if construction thereunder commences no later than June 30, 2029 and construction thereof proceeds to completion with reasonable diligence subject to delays constituting acts of God or other delays which, in the particular instance, the Commission expressly determines as beyond the control of the applicant provided the applicant has made best efforts to avoid them. Nothing in this Development Plan shall otherwise be construed to prevent the construction or continuance of the use of any building or improvement constructed under and in accordance with the Interim Development Plan.
Following the completion of a project under the Development Plan on a parcel of land in the District, the subsequent use and alteration, including, without limitation, its signage, shall be subject to the provisions of the Providence Zoning Ordinance. To the extent the project built in accordance with the Development Plan shall be then nonconforming to the Providence Zoning Ordinance, the Commission, acting as a Board of Appeals in respect of the Providence Zoning Ordinance, will grant the necessary relief under the Providence Zoning Ordinance to cause the project and the parcel of land to be, as the case may be, a lawful nonconforming use or structure.
Abutting property shall mean property within 200’ of the pertinent property line.
A deviation is a waiver.
A waiver is a R.I. Gen. Laws §45-24.6-8 deviation which is a specific form of relief that may be granted where the enforcement of the regulations relating to setbacks, build-to lines, and other area and dimensional restrictions would preclude the full enjoyment by the owner of a permitted use and amount to more than a mere inconvenience. For the purposes of the application of the provisions of Sections 2.4, 2.5, 2.6, and 2.7 which authorize the granting of waivers from the requirements thereof, such requirements shall be treated for all purposes as dimensional restrictions under R.I. Gen. Laws §45-24.6-8.
A specific form of relief that may be granted pursuant to R.I. Gen. Laws §45-24.6-8 where, owing to special conditions, enforcement of the regulations would result in unnecessary hardship, where the variance will not be contrary to the public interest, and the spirit of the plan will be observed and substantial justice done.
The Concept Plan is comprised of a set of drawings that fully describe the spatial, physical, material, and expressive aspects of the development proposal.
The Final Plan is comprised of a set of drawings that are equivalent to the architectural and site design/landscape design components of a Design Development drawing set. The Final Plan establishes and fixes the design of the project in the eyes of the Commission, I-195 Staff, and the general public.
The document issued by the Commission approving an application for construction, erection, alteration, demolition, or use of a structure or land within the District, and pursuant to which a building permit may be issued.
The document issued by the Commission rejecting an application for construction, erection, alteration, demolition, or use of a structure or land within the District.
The document issued by the Commission certifying that a proposal has complied with all of the Commission’s conditions and approvals and therefore the project is eligible for a Certificate of Occupancy.
Uses or other modifications of the requirements of this Development Plan specifically authorized to be permitted by the Commission as provided for in Section 1.5.3.a.
A permit that allows a use for a specified period of time but does not confer any property right or use right that runs with the land. Temporary Use permits may be granted by the Executive Director with the concurrence of the Chairperson or by the Commission. Temporary use permits may be revoked by the Commission at any time without cause.
Terms not expressly defined herein shall have their plain and ordinary meaning except to the extent that they are expressly defined within the City of Providence Zoning Ordinance as, by the Commission, determined to be applicable.
The Commission may delegate portions of the Commission’s authority to the Executive Director or the Executive Director’s subordinates so long as such delegation and any actions taken thereunder further the purposes and goals of the District. Otherwise, no action by any officer or agent of the Commission is binding upon the Commission unless and until the Commission either ratifies or has previously authorized the action at a public meeting.
The Commission recognizes the authority of State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) as granted and limited pursuant to the Memorandum of Agreement by and between the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, the Federal Highway Administration, and the Rhode Island State Historic Preservation Officer, with the Rhode Island Department of Transportation, John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor Commission, and City of Providence concurrent, as enacted in the year 2000 and as may be amended from time to time.
At the discretion of the Executive Director and the Chairperson of the Commission, the District may make use of stakeholders such as the Providence Planning Department, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation, or any other such public agencies or nonprofit or community stakeholders as may have knowledge or insight that could support the purposes and goals of the District.
The Commission is empowered to grant, by way of a simple majority vote at a public meeting, any such planning and zoning Certificates of Approval or Rejection or other relief as may fall under the Commission’s powers which include, but are not limited to, powers and authority as may be expressly set forth or implied by other state law or regulation, so long as any such requested relief furthers the purposes and goals of the District as set forth in Section 1.2, Purposes and Goals. The Commission may condition any relief granted in any manner consistent with the District’s Purposes and Goals.
Pursuant to R.I. Gen. Laws §45-24.6-8(b), the Commission shall hold a hearing on any application for relief within a reasonable time, and give public notice and due notice of the hearing to the parties in interest and property owners within two hundred feet (200’) of the affected property. At any hearing any party may appear in person or by agent or attorney.
The Commission is empowered to grant either a Certificate of Approval or Certificate of Rejection to any application submitted to the Commission. Such Certificate of Approval or Rejection will be issued based on whether such application complies with this Development Plan and the goals and purposes of the District as provided in Section 1.2. Applicants may seek relief from the requirements of this Development Plan in accordance with this Section.
Pursuant to R.I. Gen. Laws §45-24.6-8, the Commission, with or without conditions, may grant the following forms of relief upon conclusion of a noticed public hearing regarding said requested relief.
The Executive Director with the concurrence of the Commission Chairperson is hereby empowered to make the following administrative determinations:
The Commission shall review plans at a concept level, and following approval of a Concept Plan, the applicant may submit a Final Plan which shall be sufficient in detail to enable the Commission to conduct a comprehensive design review of the project. With respect to each of the plan filings, the Commission may take action on the applicable plan as detailed below. The Commission has established guidelines with the criteria required to be observed in the preparation and submission of the applicable plan. In each case the plan will be reviewed at a public meeting at which the public will have the opportunity to comment. Each applicant shall be required to establish a third-party escrow account at the time of the submission of the Concept Plan. The amount to be deposited in the third-party escrow account shall be determined by the Executive Director with concurrence of the Chairperson. The third-party account shall be replenished in such amount as the Executive Director may determine at the time of the submission of the Final Plan. The Commission may use the third-party escrow account to reimburse the Commission for its consultant and legal fees incurred in reviewing the plans. No Final Plan shall be submitted until the Commission and the applicant have entered into a purchase and sale agreement, ground lease or other disposition agreement satisfactory to the Commission.
The Commission will review complete Concept Plan applications at a public meeting. Such public meeting shall include the opportunity for public comment. The Commission may vote on the following actions and require any of the following, with any conditions the Commission may deem fit:
The Commission will review complete Final Plan applications at a public meeting. Such public meeting shall include the opportunity for public comment. At the conclusion of that public meeting, the Commission may vote on the following actions and require any of the following, with any conditions the Commission may deem fit:
Pursuant to the MOA referenced in Section 1.4.2., the SHPO must review the Final Plan before approval can be granted.
Once Final Plan approval has been granted, the applicant must submit a construction management plan satisfactory to the Commission. The Commission shall then issue a Certificate of Final Plan Approval for the project documenting the special features of the approved Final Plan and containing such conditions as the Commission may determine (including, without limitation, any condition imposed as part of the approval of the Concept Plan and then not fulfilled to the satisfaction of the Commission).
Upon proof that that the Applicant has built in accordance with the terms and conditions of the Certificate of Approval, the Commission shall issue a Certificate of Completion. Such certificate may contain ongoing conditions as well as conditions of the final (or concept) plan approval not then fulfilled but for which the applicant has provided security for their performance satisfactory to the Commission.
No Certificate of Occupancy may be granted prior to the Commission issuing a Certificate of Completion. Once a Certificate of Occupancy is issued, the property shall there-after be subject to the jurisdiction of the City of Providence and no longer to the jurisdiction of this Development Plan as provided in Section 1.1.3.
If any clause, sentence, paragraph, section or part of these regulations shall be judged by any court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, such judgment shall not affect, impair or invalidate the remainder thereof, but it shall be confined in its operation of the clause, sentence, paragraph, section or part directly involved in the controversy in which that judgment shall have been rendered.
In order to carry out the purpose and intent of this Development Plan, the land governed by this Development Plan is divided into the following Districts:
The West Side Highway District includes Parcel 34, Parcel 35, Parcel 37, and Parcel 41
The Development Plan aims to foster development in the West Side Highway District that enhances the economic vitality of Providence while promoting pedestrian activity at street level to reconnect Downtown and the Jewelry District. The West Side Highway District allows the greatest density in order to promote commercial and economic development that supports the knowledge economy of the State of Rhode Island and extends Providence’s downtown density to maximize District land values.
The West Side Riverfront District includes Parcel 14, Parcel 15, Parcel 22 Lot 5, Parcel 22 & 25 Lot 4, Parcel 25 Lot 3, Parcel 27, Parcel 28, and Parcel 42.
The Development Plan aims to foster development in the West Side Riverfront District that provides a vibrant mix of uses to enhance the economic vitality of Providence and activate the park. Development will be organized around a series of new pedestrian and bicycle connections and linked open spaces that connect Downtown and the Jewelry District to each other and to the Providence riverfront. Uses have been restricted on some parcels in the West Side Riverfront District in order to promote commercial and economic development that supports the knowledge economy of the State of Rhode Island.
The East Side District includes Parcel 1A, Parcel 2, Parcel 5, Parcel 6, Parcel 8, Parcel 8A, and Parcel 9.
The Development Plan aims to foster development in the East Side District that is pedestrian-friendly and mixed-use, activates the park, and creates a continuous urban fabric linking the Fox Point neighborhood to the Providence River.
The location and boundaries of land governed by this Development Plan are set forth in the Development Plan Map, as periodically amended. The Development Plan Map is incorporated into, and made an integral part of, this Development Plan. The I-195 Redevelopment District Executive Director is responsible for updating the Development Plan Map when it is amended by the Commission and shall provide such amended maps publicly on the District website.
Primary Streets include: South Main Street, South Water Street, Wickenden Street, Dyer Street, Dorrance Street, Richmond Street, Ship Street, Chestnut Street, and Clifford Street.
Secondary Streets include: James Street, Dollar Street, Pike Street, Tockwotten Street, Bessie Way, Alves Way, Peck Street, Claverick Street, Hoppin Street, South Street, East Franklin Street, Bassett Street, Friendship Street, and Pine Street.
City Walk is a pedestrian and bicycle priority corridor connecting neighborhoods from Roger Williams Park to India Point Park. In the District, it follows Clifford Street from I-95 to Richmond Street, briefly running along Richmond Street to Elbow Street, then connecting through the park to the corner of South Water Street and Wickenden Street, where it branches, following South Water Street directly to India Point Park, and following a pathway between Parcel 9 and I-195 to the India Point Park overpass.
View corridors are hereby established along Peck Street, Dorrance Street, and Ship Street to preserve important views to and from the Providence River. The three view corridors shall be uninterrupted physical extensions of the existing right-of-way width and geometry of said streets, and extend to the riverfront edge, as indicated in the map above. Structures or landscaping located within view corridors shall not exceed a height of three feet.
The view corridor streets are as follows:
Variances for any use not permitted in this section shall not be granted without an amendment to the Development Plan. The Commission shall, however, have the authority to determine that a use not specifically listed may be permitted upon the Commission’s determination that the proposed use is similar to one or more of the uses otherwise permitted and is consistent with the purposes and goals of the District and shall have no greater impact on abutters than impacts comparable to an allowed use.
Mixed-use buildings are allowed and strongly encouraged.
Programming the ground floor of a building with active uses encourages walking and makes a neighborhood more vibrant. Active ground floor uses are encouraged to the maximum extent feasible, especially along Primary Streets.
Semi-active accessory uses, such as lobbies and common areas associated with office or residential uses, are also allowed.
Residential uses with individual unit entrances from the street are allowed on Secondary Streets, and on Primary Streets by waiver.
Enclosed parking (and if a Special Exception is issued therefor, surface parking) shall be permitted as an accessory use. Parking is prohibited on the ground floor of a building within 20’ of a Primary Street.
Surface parking lots are prohibited except by Special Exception, which may be granted by a vote of the Commission. Surface parking lots are also permitted if constructed and maintained by the Commission.
*Development undertaken pursuant to the Interim Development Plan shall be governed by the height standards set forth therein.
For a vacant parcel of land, building height shall be measured from the average existing-grade elevation where the foundation of the structure is proposed. Building height shall be measured to the top of the highest point of the proposed roof or structure. This distance shall exclude spires, chimneys, flag poles, and the like, as described in item 2 below (Figure 2.3-2). For any property or structure located in a special flood hazard area, as shown on the official FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs), building height shall be measured from base flood elevation, and where freeboard (an elevation above the base flood elevation that compensates for unknown factors such as wave action) is being utilized or proposed, such freeboard elevation, not to exceed five feet, shall be excluded from the building height calculation; provided, however, that the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) design elevation maps may be used by an owner or applicant to establish a base flood elevation for a property that is higher than the official FEMA FIRMs.
Waivers to the standards in this section may be approved by a vote of the Commission, unless otherwise indicated.
There are no minimum vehicle parking requirements in any District. Proposals for development shall be required to include a multimodal mobility and access plan, which may include on-site or off-site parking.
The foregoing limitations on surface parking shall not be applicable to any surface parking lot developed by the Commission.
Table 2.4-1 on page 26 details the minimum bicycle parking spaces required by use in each District. Where multiple uses with different parking requirements occupy the same structure or lot, the required number of bicycle parking spaces is the sum of the requirements for each use computed separately.
Waivers to the standards in this section may be approved by a vote of the Commission, unless otherwise indicated.
Certain architectural features and uses are permitted to encroach into the public right-of-way with approval of an encroachment permit granted by the City of Providence. Two types of encroachment are permitted into the public right-of-way as described in this section.
In order to ensure that impacts of exterior lighting on adjacent properties are controlled, exterior lighting shall adhere to the following requirements:
Temporary signs, such as A-frame signs and banners, shall be subject to the permitting authority of the City of Providence.
Before any sign is erected, it shall be reviewed and the Executive Director’s approval required. At the discretion of the Executive Director, all proposed signs will be reviewed and granted approval during the design review process. Any signs proposed after a Certificate of Occupancy has been granted will be subject to the authority of the City of Providence. No sign may encroach into the public right-of-way unless permitted by this section.