This week’s Providence Business News has an article and a strongly worded editorial about Providence Working Waterfront Alliance member Promet Marine’s recent Rhode Island Supreme Court victory:

Promet deserves to keep its property

The R.I. Supreme Court’s decision to support Promet Marine Services Corp.’s bid to buy the 5-acre waterfront parcel it operates on is a victory for private-property interests.

City officials opposed the purchase because they want to use the property for mixed-use development – including residential elements. Two years ago, the Providence County Superior Court threw out Promet’s $1 million bid on technical grounds and issued a ruling saying the city had the right of first refusal to purchase the state-owned land that Promet sits on.

The Supreme Court’s reversal of the lower-court ruling is similarly convoluted. And since the city has appealed, Promet is not yet celebrating its victory.

This issue should not turn on a technicality. As a matter of good public policy and common sense, the city should respect ongoing, successful businesses. Promet has been operating on the Providence waterfront for 35 years, providing services that are needed for the state’s maritime industry. Pushing out thriving companies in favor of speculative development (especially in light of the current downturn in housing) is not only wrong, it is bad for business and bad for the economy.

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