E.P. council formally amends meeting rules, backs Taunton Ave. apartment changes

Variance given to developer of lofts across from City Hall

By Mike Rego
Posted 3/20/19

EAST PROVIDENCE — Oft discussed in the early part of the new session, the City Council at its meeting Tuesday night, March 19, formally approved changes to its rules and regulations for said …

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E.P. council formally amends meeting rules, backs Taunton Ave. apartment changes

Variance given to developer of lofts across from City Hall

Posted

EAST PROVIDENCE — Oft discussed in the early part of the new session, the City Council at its meeting Tuesday night, March 19, formally approved changes to its rules and regulations for said gatherings.
Done at the behest of Council President and Ward 1 member Bobby Britto, who noted discussions on the subject have “been on the docket since the inception of council,” the body unanimously approved a handful of amendments to its proceedings. In the words of Mr. Britto, it was time to “put it to rest and take it off the docket.”
Three rules are affected by the changes.
Under the heading, “Rule One. Duties of the Presiding Officer,” it is now enshrined in subsection “a.” the “Council President shall be the presiding officer at all meetings of the City Council. The Vice President shall preside in the absence of the Council President.” Those positions reflect the switch in the city’s governmental structure from manager-council to elected mayor-council, replacing the old appointed “mayor” and “assistant mayor” references.
Two updates were made to “Rule Two. Order of Business.”
The item “Licenses (Requiring Public Hearing and Non-Public Hearings)” was moved up in the schedule while under “New Business” the old subsection “a. City Manager’s Report” the wording was changed to “Mayor Communications.”
Three matters under “Rule Five. Miscellaneous Provisions” were amended.
The start time of council sessions, included in subsection a., was formally changed to 6:30 p.m. from 7:30.
Under subsection d., “All meetings of the City Council shall be open to the public and all votes shall be cast in public,” new wording now includes “except votes made in accordance with R.I.G.L. §42-46-4(b).”
And lastly, under subsection m. allowing for the extension of proceedings beyond the 10 p.m. adjournment time in 15-minute increments, the phrase “a super majority vote” was replaced with “an affirmative vote of 4/5 of the entire council.”
The amended meeting procedures take immediate affect.
Loft variance
The council gave its approval to a variance requested by the owner of an aged building on Taunton Avenue near City Hall, which will allow for the further redevelopment of the structure into apartments. Though a state road, authority for any zoning changes on Taunton Avenue has been designated to the city council.
The project, under the working title of “The Lofts on Taunton,” calls for converting former commercial space into residences. The owner sought to allow for second floor, balconies extending over the sidewalk on Taunton Avenue to be included in the plan. The balconies will be just 30 inches wide and 12 feet long, according to the owner’s legal counsel, Jospeh A. Lamagna. Mr. Lamagna said the balconies, which could support a couple of small chairs, will be accessed via “French Doors” in each unit. Other aspects of the project have previously gained the support of the zoning and planning boards.
The two-story building to be transformed has the address of 130 Taunton Ave., and was last used commercially by a business named, The Print Source Group.
In supporting the change, At-Large Councilor Bob Rodericks said, “It’s very old, tired building… That area of Taunton Avenue really needs a jolt in the arm. And this is not going to infringe upon anybody else.”
Added Ward 4 Councilor Ricardo Mourato, “I think it’s a great design. It looks good on the rendering and zoning has no issues on it.”
Appointments
The following appointees were approved by the council: Mary Dwyer, 55 Spring St., Conservation Commission; Steven Hardcastle, 20 Beech Tree Road, Waterfront Commission; and Richard Lawson, 19 Plum Road, Waterfront Commission. Of note, the term of Mr. Hardcastle, the commission treasurer and hearing panel member, was about to expire.
Other business
The council granted a pair of licenses, for holiday sales and victualing, to the owner of a new Mexican food restaurant, “El Mariachi,” to be located at 736 North Broadway.

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Mike Rego

Mike Rego has worked at East Bay Newspapers since 2001, helping the company launch The Westport Shorelines. He soon after became a Sports Editor, spending the next 10-plus years in that role before taking over as editor of The East Providence Post in February of 2012. To contact Mike about The Post or to submit information, suggest story ideas or photo opportunities, etc. in East Providence, email mrego@eastbaymediagroup.com.