The following Letter to the Editor from Providence residents Bob Bissland and Laura Fisher appeared in the Herald Journal only in the online edition on April 24, 2018.
To the editor:
Tonight at 6:00 p.m. the Providence City Council will vote on a proposal for a new zone in Providence while a revision of the General Plan is in progress. Simultaneously they face a proposal for annexing 41 acres of farmed property between Providence and River Heights near the “bench”. The proposed Development Agreement would apply the new zone to 18 of those acres. This zone would permit town homes, duplexes, twin-homes and apartments in single-family neighborhoods. Citizens are mystified by the rush to judgement. The area is surrounded by single-family zones on three sides with the soon-to-be-developed “bench” area on the fourth side. These 41 acres (plus more acreage) failed annexation in River Heights last year due to citizen opposition to multi-family zoning in single-family neighborhoods.
Opponents predict increases in traffic, parking problems, noise, school crowding (Providence City students are already being taught at River Heights Elementary and the River Heights school is already using “temporary” buildings to house overflow), crime, blight, flooding of houses and decreases in property values. No one knows whether recent flooding in houses near Spring Creek in the proposed area was due to irrigation or to wetlands factors. The property had water shares which were used only rarely and it is unusually wet without irrigation.
Providence and River Heights homeowners have publicly protested the addition of multi-family zoning to single-family neighborhoods. Our Providence mayor used the monthly newsletter/water bill as a bully pulpit to promote this new zone and its application in existing single-family zones, admitting possible lowered property values. The Mayor’s analysis omitted the potential negative results. Some Providence City Council members have supported the new zone in single-family neighborhoods, yet have failed to address citizen concerns. Citizens view some officials as favoring their own personal preferences over homeowners’ concerns. The applicant already has recent approval for a development in the existing multi-family zone designated by the Master Plan in another area of Providence.
There is also voiced concern over conflict of interest for one member of the Providence City Council.
Citizens may contact the Providence City Council and mayor about this before and at tonight’s meeting. The issue is placing multi-family zoning in well-kept, cherished, quiet, friendly, scenic single-family neighborhoods.
Bob Bissland and Laura Fisher