PAWTUCKET — Proposed changes to the city's zoning ordinances that are designed to make the downtown area more business-friendly will be the topic of a public hearing at tonight's City Council meeting. The hearing will start at 7 p.m. at Pawtucket City Hall.
The proposed zoning amendments are based on the recommendations from a Downtown Design Plan and were drafted by the city's Planning Department. According to Planning Director Michael Davolio, the intent is to make the zoning regulations, as they apply to the commercial downtown district, be more flexible to business owners and developers as a means of boosting economic activity.
One of the key changes involves the removal of parking requirements from proposed business development projects in the downtown, allowing developers to cite available public parking that already exists within a one-quarter mile radius.
Another amendment in the city's Table of Use Regulations changes requirements for a special use permit
to “by-right” for many development projects located in the downtown commercial district, including multi-family (5 dwelling units and over); mixed residential/commercial uses; and multi-tenant commercial structures.
Additionally, in an effort to streamline the Development Review Process, several sections of the review criteria, including procedure, design standards and final action, are being removed from the Zoning Ordinance and placed under the Land Development and Subdivision Regulations.
Also being considered at the public hearing are proposed changes to the zoning ordinances pertaining to several properties on East Avenue and Pawtucket Avenue and the overlay Historic District and Table of Use regulations.