Capital Center Commission to debate state parking lot projects
A PROJECT TO EXPAND a parking lot on the east side of the Statehouse and a new lot planned for Francis Street will be the target of debate at a Thursday meeting of the Capital Center Commission. As city zoning bars surface lots in the downtown and Capital Center areas, the commission contends that the state needs its permission to move ahead with the projects.
PROVIDENCE - The group that oversees development near the state capitol is weighing what to do about two Chafee administration parking lot projects near the Statehouse that its chairman said violate city zoning.
The Capital Center Commission will discuss the projects - one already in progress on the east side of the Statehouse and the other planned for Francis Street - at a meeting Thursday.
City zoning changes that went into effect in June 2012 bar surface parking lots in the downtown and Capital Center areas.
Capital Center Commission Chairman Deming Sherman said Friday his members believe the state needs the commission’s permission to move ahead with the projects, while officials from the R.I. Department of Administration have argued they can go forward regardless.
On Francis Street, the state wants to build a parking lot to serve the Statehouse and the neighboring Veterans Memorial Auditorium on roughly one acre of vacant land purchased this summer for $3.1 million.
On the east side of the Statehouse grounds, the Chafee administration is renovating an existing parking lot and expanding it into the lawn. That work has already started.
City zoning prohibits surface parking lots in downtown to encourage active uses of land there.
Sherman on Friday declined to comment on what specific course of action the commission intends to take on the parking lots.
The meeting will be held at noon Thursday at the Providence planning offices at 444 Westminster St.