PROVIDENCE – A lawsuit has been filed against the City Council of Providence, the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission and developer Jason Fane that challenges the proposed Hope Point Tower rezoning as an example of illegal spot zoning.
The suit seeks to void the zoning change that would allow construction of the luxury high rise. It was filed on Friday by Peter Scotti & Associates Inc., a Providence based real estate broker and appraiser, and Building Bridges Providence, a nonprofit based in the Jewelry District. They are represented by Armando E. Batastini and William H. Wynne IV, attorneys for Nixon Peabody LLP of Providence.
The lawsuit, anticipated by the developer and the I-195 commission, was filed in Superior Court. It affects a parcel of land at 250 Dyer St., which is owned by the commission. Jason Fane, president of The Fane Organization, has the land under contract with the commission.
The plaintiffs argue that the rezoning, which was authorized by the City Council, then vetoed by Mayor Jorge O. Elorza, then approved again in an override vote, represents a violation of the city’s comprehensive plan.
That plan established the height restriction for the land, known as Parcel 42 in the I-195 district, at 100 feet. The Fane tower would reach up to 600 feet under the rezoning.
The lawsuit cites the year-long, complicated path to approval taken by the project, including recommendations to reject the project taken by the Providence City Plan Commission and, initially, by the city council’s ordinance committee.
The City Plan Commission, in its decision, found the rezoning request would fail to protect the city’s historic character, complement the scale of existing buildings or create housing appropriate for city residents.
“[The] comprehensive plan’s vision is to gradually raise the height of buildings, starting with lower heights along the river to higher heights to the west and north. This gradual rise creates he transition guideline statement found within the zoning ordinance,” the lawsuit states. “The [zoning change] violates this provision of the comprehensive plan.”
Mary MacDonald is a staff writer for the PBN. Contact her at email@example.com.