As one of the key initiatives in my economic development action plan, Putting Providence Back to Work, I am pleased to invite you to collaborate with us over the next 12 months as we work to update and improve Providence’s Zoning Ordinance. Zoning is a critical tool to implement the City’s goals for smart, sustainable, equitable and transit-oriented development that enhances the vibrancy and livability of our Capital City.
The new zoning ordinance will be the result of a collaborative effort between city departments, residents, business owners, developers, institutions, and other stakeholders. I am confident that the new ordinance will provide a clear framework for guiding the growth and development of Providence, which will enhance and strengthen our City into the future.
The last general amendment to the City of Providence Zoning Ordinance occurred in 1994; since that time, zoning amendments, both to the text and map, have been made to address specific issues as they emerged. This project, unlike the piecemeal amendments over the past ten years, is comprehensive and meant to address the variety of issues and conditions present in the City today as well as realize the land use goals of adopted policies. Therefore, comprehensive changes are anticipated to both the Ordinance text and Zoning Map, rather than to specific properties or sections of text.
A general amendment of the Zoning Ordinance includes a wide range of revisions to the different components of the Ordinance text including district standards, use permissions, processes, and development standards such as accessory structures, signs, and parking. In addition, this revision anticipates changes to the geographic boundaries of current zoning districts, the consolidation of existing districts, and creation of new districts, which means that the Zoning Map will also be part of this general amendment. In the end, this update will create a new Ordinance and Map that better addresses “on the ground” conditions, which will reduce nonconformities, and creates new regulations and districts to implement the vision articulated in Providence Tomorrow, the City’s officially adopted comprehensive plan, and other adopted policies.