Roberta Houllahan’s letter to the editor in today’s Providence Journal strongly conveys the overwhelming public consensus against mixed-use condos and hotels that was expressed at June’s waterfront charrette and September’s charrette follow-up meeting:

How many more times do we need citizen consensus at another charette/charade regarding the Providence waterfront before city Planning Director Thomas E. Deller and the Planning Department get it? Community consensus on Sept. 24 at the Allens Avenue focus group was the same as in June: industrial use only.

The elephant not in the room, developer Patrick T. Conley (Google for background), ducked out of Roger Williams Park Casino just before most people came downstairs for the focus groups. His rehabbed waterfront building was prominently displayed as an example of the mixed-use zoning (for yet more condos, shops, hotels, etc.) desired by Mayor Cicilline and Mr. Deller.

What influence does Mr. Conley (one vote) have on city planning over a consensus of many citizens (many votes) at these charettes?

Mr. Deller said many people would disagree with me regarding citizen consensus on the waterfront for industrial use only. Who are these people and what are their agendas? They and Mr. Conley obviously were not at the table. Do they see Southside Providence as another area of the city to gentrify for their own gain?

I suggest that the Rhode Island Waterfront Alliance consult with the Rhode Island Service Alliance to invest in and expand training programs like Youth Build to bring Southside minority youth into mainstream employment.

I am tired of my taxes supporting developers of unoccupied condos for the rich.


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