New 23-unit apartment building in
South Elmwood moves toward approval

PROVIDENCE – The City Plan Commission this week agreed to rezone a site on Stamford Avenue in the South Elmwood neighborhood of the city to allow multiunit housing, and gave initial approval for a 23-unit, three-story apartment building.

The development is sought by property owner John Massenzio, who said he initially wanted a smaller apartment building but couldn’t get project financing for fewer than 22 apartments. The building will rise to three stories, instead of two, to save a mature tree on the site.

The project will replace two existing, smaller apartment buildings.

Neighbors John and Raymond Tomasso, who have an office building and homes in the area, were opposed, saying the new development would be substantially larger.

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“South Elmwood … is a good neighborhood because it has low density. It’s going to ruin the unique character of our neighborhood,” said John Tomasso.

Said Raymond Tomasso: “I haven’t even seen the plans. I’m very concerned about the intensification of the units being proposed.”

The City Plan Commission, which has an advisory function on zoning, voted in favor of the project.

Said City Plan Commission Chair Christine West: “It does seem to me on the face of it that this is a much-needed project that provides housing in a neighborhood that is walkable.”

Mary MacDonald is a staff writer for the PBN. Contact her at

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