If you’ve been following the recent controversy surrounding CLUCK! and its very public battle with neighboring objectors, you’d most certainly appreciate this open letter to CLUCK!’s opponents by Providence Monthly.
This article, written by John Taraborelli, highlights some of the main grievances that many of us have been feeling towards this whole situation. Not just the Providence Zoning Board, but more specifically, their main objector, Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Church. Now, we don’t believe in fighting hate with hate, at all.
But what this article addresses is the plain and simple fact that these seemingly pointless objections suppress something good for the neighborhood. And by something good, we mean, small businesses, culture, vision and progress.
More than anything, the city of Providence desperatly needs the support of small business ventures. Our state is currently ranked as having the sixth-highest unemployment rate in the country, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s recent report. This isn’t an issue to be taken lightly, by any means (or costs).
Tataborelli hit the nail on the head when he says, “That a small business owner should have to endure months of legal fights, backbiting and fear mongering, rack up exorbitant legal fees and rally the support of hundreds of neighbors simply to earn the right to sell seeds and garden tools in a once blighted property that she has remodeled and revitalized is patently absurd and sends a terrible message about the cost of doing business in our fair city.”
Yes, yes, and yes.
CLUCK! proprietor Drake Patten, shouldn’t have to rally hundreds of people in support to just open up a harmless farming supply store, which in fact, replaces an abandoned gas station.
However, it must be said that public occurrences such as this only furthers other business owners, artists, and the overall community to stand for what they believe in. As a city that is currently undergoing reforms in historic tax regulations, public financing, and abandoned properties, we need facelifts when we can get it. Right?
New owner, John Lanni, opened up Dolce Gelateria about two weeks ago at 270 Wickenden Street, and the local neighborhood couldn’t be more excited.
If you consider yourself to be an East Sider then you’d know how many restaurants are lacking in the dessert area, particularly in the summer and spring time when the concrete pavements are sweltering, and there aren’t any public pools in sight. Sure, you can dive into the muddy waters of India Point Park for some relief, but it’s a bit risky.
One of the greatest aspects of living on the East Side, particularly the Fox Point area, is actually being within walking distance to India Point Park. This waterfront park is most commonly used to host festivals and seasonal events throughout the year. At other times, East Siders roam the area to walk their dog, read a book, or play frisbee with their friends. And you know what their probably thinking: “Man, it would be nice for some ice-cream right about now.”
You may be thinking, “Oh, another ice cream shop.” Don’t get us wrong, there are many wonderful places in the area to buy tasty desserts. The Duck & Bunny, for example, is an amazing restaurant (a snuggery, in fact) where they specialize in creating delicious cupcakes, as well as special order cakes and pies. Then you have other local cafe’s like Cafe Zog and Coffee Exchange, both on Wickenden Street. Great coffee, but we don’t need more coffee, or more thrift shops, or antique shops. We need ice cream.
Interestingly enough, another business owner also got the memo. A new frozen yogurt place is setting up shop a few stores down from Dolce Gelateria.
I ask a young student on Wickenden Street what she thought of both new businesses opening up, and this is what she said: “I work on Wickenden so it’s nice to be able to go get some ice cream on my breaks, especially since there aren’t that many places like it around the neighborhood. There’s definitely a trend happening here, especially with frozen yogurts, as there aren’t that many around.”
Being under contract is never dull. But one recent transaction that I was involved with highlighted one of the more concerning aspect of the home purchase process: the reliability of sellers’ disclosures. Below are a few choice items that were missing from these particular sellers required disclosures, but that anyone who has ever read a Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys book could figure out at first sight of these clues: (more…)
As we move into an age of peak oil concerns and resource scarcity it is important to face these challenges with a positive acceptance and react with sound and well thought out decisions. The following piece is not meant to be a comprehensive description of permaculture, rather a primer describing some of the basic principles and design strategies relating to urban and suburban residential sites. It is a complicated and very far reaching discipline and this should only act as a guide for those who want to explore more. I have listed some texts at the end of the article to get you started.
First, lets briefly define permaculture. Permaculture is a design method and a set of skills for creating resilient human habitats and healthy ecosystems. It is modeled on natural patterns and addresses food production, shelter, energy, water, community, culture and health. Applying these principles to the way we organize ourselves in the landscape increases resilience in the face of energy, environmental, and economic uncertainty. It also presents us with one of our best opportunities to create healthy systems that continue indefinitely.
There are many strategies that can be used to achieve a highly functional, high yield, low input, beautiful garden. Here are just a few of the simple ones that can done by just about anyone. (more…)
When entering into a new restoration or construction project, owners are often faced with a bundle of decisions to make. The process begins with a vision, then figuring out budget costs, where to get financing and who to bring on board.
All those who love to create will usually experience two common things: the process is never linear, but the end result is absolutely gratifying. In fact, the finished product is a culmination of a lot of downturn’s, stop’s and go’s. But if you were to ask a project manager what the most difficult part of the said process would be, it’s more than likely that the answer is who to bring on board. (more…)
Last month, Superman building owner, High Rock Development LLC, requested $39 million dollars in state tax credits and other financing to convert Providence’s Superman Building into 278 new apartment spaces.
According to several sources, the proposed budget was immediately shot down by House Speaker Gordon D. Fox, who says he’s in “no position” to provide that level of financial assistance. Although the reinstatement of tax credits is as part of the House’s new economic development package, each project will only have a maximum $5 million cap in state funding.
Supporters of High Rock’s financial report believe that this new venture will generate 230 permanent jobs, $4.6 million in tax revenue, $26 million of money each year into the economy, and more downtown residents.
High Rock continues to push for obtaining state-funded financial backing, regardless of continued skepticism. ‘‘The obligation is on us to prove the merits of our proposal, and we intend to continue down that road,’’ said Bill Fischer, spokesperson for High Rock Development. “These reports confirm that converting the Superman building into rental apartments is in fact the highest and best use of the building.”
Sure, it’s better than marketing the property for more office spaces. But does it have to come from public financing, our state’s money?
Providence Mayor Angel Taveras also expressed hesitation towards this proposal as a wise public investment towards our state’s economy. Local developers as well are concerned about the merits of this high cost investment: “Many developers have done well without taking any subsidies. If it is a good project, it should be able to be done without them, “ says George Potsidis, president of Geo Properties and restoration company, Sega Construction.
Sounds pretty sensible if you think about. Why should we pay for this? Yet, are the consequences of inaction even greater?
Since the beginning of our country’s history, Americans of all walks of life have fought to defend their basic human rights. It is an action that we hold dear to our hearts because it’s what our nation was built upon. (more…)
Realtors well know that every Buyer approaches the home purchase process differently. Every transaction inevitably becomes a study in human behavior, and the best agents learn how to communicate effectively with every personality type.
In order to get a sense of where new buyers are emotionally as they embark on what is likely to be the biggest investment of their lives, we professionals ask them all sorts of preliminary questions in an effort to learn as much about them as we can in the short amount of time that we have with them. But there is one question that the majority of us neglect to ask – the one question, aka the best recognized retro pick-up line in history; that really shortcuts right to the heart of it all: “What’s your sign?”
The zodiac, long accepted into mainstream culture, is considered by many to be the most expeditious way of getting to know someone. So one (one broker that is) can’t help but wonder, what does it have to say about how buyers buy?
So what does your zodiac sign say about how you approach buying a home? Perhaps more than you think. Read on to see how well your sign’s personality indicators suit you: (more…)
Local investors and property owners are up in arms over the possibility of increasing property taxes by the City of Providence. As of late December, the City Tax Assessor’s Office began conducting a 3-year tax evaluation—with permission of tenant or owner–on all taxable income or investment properties.
In partnership with Vision Government Solutions Inc. (Vision) of Northborough, MA, assessors will be using the income analysis approach, to determine the value of commercial or investment properties. According to the Providence Tax Assessor’s website, property owners should expect to be approached by assessors with questionnaires regarding the income/expense on their property, as well as measuring the exterior and inspecting the property’s interior.
Is This Approach Effective?
Sure, this approach is similar to how banks may qualify you for a loan. However, the income analysis approach is used on income-producing investments and will apply “market” rate income to publicly assess the value of these properties. If you know Providence, you would know that it is quite difficult to correctly assess the taxable value of each property.
Although the approach isn’t objectionable, it does provide an inaccurate calculation of a property’s value. Many investors are worried that their property taxes may ultimately increase as a result.
Geo Properties’ president and co-owner, George Potsidis, is one of many who feel that this tax evaluation is just another ploy used to raises taxes and earn money. “They conducted an evaluation three years ago and my taxes have almost doubled,” says George. “The possibility of taxes going up again is sending owners over the edge. Why another one?”
What You Can Do
Filling out the questionnaire isn’t mandatory so owners have the option of not filling it out. However, in the event that owners choose to not participate, the city will apply a “market” rate income, which can be appealed by providing their own data.
The City of Providence will be asking the General Assembly to consider mandating this questionnaire this year.
2013 is predicted to be a great year for the real estate market. Whether or not you are a current home owner or you are looking to buy, there are a few home design trends to keep in mind. Not only are the following influential in today’s style preferences, but investing in these home designs will help raise the value of your home. (more…)