Tower Opponents File Lawsuit

A lawsuit has been filed by Fane Tower opponents Building Bridges, a nonprofit advocacy group, and Peter Scotti and Associates, a real estate appraisal company. A piece appeared in today’s Providence Journal in which editorial pages editor Edward Achorn interviewed tower developer Jason Fane. The article was written by staff writer Madeleine List, but apparently Mr. Achorn wanted to the control the interview.

One thing I have found irritating during all this is that Fane keeps talking about building an “iconic” building. You can’t build an iconic building, any more than you can make a viral video. A building might become iconic, but the developer can’t make that happen. It is up to the people, and the fact that he thinks height is the attribute that will make this town swoon, reveals his complete lack of understanding of what makes Providence special.

Can you imagine trying to explain to Mr. Fane the Crook Point Bascule Bridge, the rusty old railroad bridge that has been stuck in the up position forever? A structure so familiar and beloved that the silhouette appears without text on T-shirts and even baby onesies (see below). You might as well try to teach algebra to a dog.

List writes about the law suit:

Friday, the nonprofit group Building Bridges and real-estate appraisal company Peter Scotti & Associates filed a lawsuit in Providence Superior Court against New York developer Jason Fane’s company — the Fane Organization — the Providence City Council and the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission.

The complaint contends that a zoning change approved by the City Council to allow developers to surpass local height restrictions on former Route 195 land violates the city’s comprehensive zoning plan, which was created to guide development citywide.

You can help support the legal effort by making a donation to Building Bridges. The statement at their website:

Our coalition is in favor of development because:

  • Development provides jobs for our construction unions.
  • We want the investment in Providence.
  • We want to increase the tax base of Providence.
  • We want development that respects the City Comprehensive Plan and Zoning.

Mr. Fane, we support you building in Providence, but we want you to build where your project can adhere to our Comprehensive Plan and Zoning.  That means, a 100 foot tall structure on P42 or a taller structure on one of the many lots that are zoned for taller structures downtown.

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