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Vote stalls St. Francis House expansion

July 24, 2012

WOONSOCKET – The Zoning Board of Review voted 3-2 in support of a proposed expansion of residential use at the former St. Francis House at 167 Blackstone St., but not by a large enough majority to approve developer Gary Fernandes' request for more units.
The five zoners rendering the decision would have had to vote at least 4-1 in favor to grant approval under zoning board rules.
Zoning Board Chairman Alan Leclaire said he supported the request for an increase of 10 units at the large, four-level former Diocese of Providence assisted living residence because it would be in keeping with the goals of the city's comprehensive plan for residential development.
“I felt that for that area of the community, it was in keeping with the comprehensive plan,” Leclaire said after the decision.
He was joined by board members Norman Frechette and Richard Masse in that position.
The opposing members, Katherine Dumais and Allen Rivers, did not see the request as complying with the comprehensive plan and had sought to decide the matter at the last session of the panel when a hearing on the request concluded.
Fernandes will now have to decide whether to appeal the board's decision. He has 20 days to file an appeal in Superior Court once the decision and testimony from the hearing has been recorded with the City Clerk's office.
Fernandes' attorney, Lloyd R. Gariepy, said Monday evening that he expected the matter would not be approved based on the initial 3-2 vote to table at the board's last meeting.
“It was denied and we will wait until we get a record of the transcript and then decide if we will appeal,” Gariepy said.

Read more in our print edition.


Bad call......

July 24, 2012 by Marcel (not verified), 2 years 38 weeks ago
Comment: 1833

Those voting against this project are what I'd call anti-growth and bad for the City of Woonsocket.
Sure there are plenty of empty apartments but they're old dilapidated multi-family houses that are barely legal with the fire code requirements, very inefficient to heat, never mind cool with A/C.
This proposed project had numerous apartments / rooms before and now planned as a multi-unit apartment complex that will generate tax income while housing people in a modern and safe building. It's a win / win situation.
It's called a no-brainer..... I hope that's not what those two "no" voting members of the zoning board can be considered to be.

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