UPDATED: Providence Council Moves to Override Elorza’s Fane Tower Veto
Friday, December 07, 2018
It is likely to be scheduled for Tuesday, and the majority of the council believes they have the votes to override Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza’s veto of the variance that would allow the $300 million Fane Tower to move forward.
According to sources, Councilwoman Mary Kay Harris is expected to vote for the override.
Council Showdown Set
The move comes after Elorza vetoed the height variance which had been approved by the City Council, in a Friday afternoon move on November 30 at end of day.
Citing his opposition to the building’s design, not height, Elorza vetoed the zoning change; he was immediately met with strong support from the Providence Preservation Society — and strong rebuke from General Assembly leadership.
Ten votes are needed to override Elorza’s veto. The override would need a swing vote — with Councilwoman Harris being the key member — to switch from a ‘no’ vote for the change in the height restriction to a 'yes,' to override the veto -- a change that would provide the Council with the necessary two-thirds necessary to override.
The override of Elorza would be a major blow to the Mayor and some say minimizes his ongoing effectiveness in working with legislative leaders at the state House and with Governor Gina Raimondo.
After Elorza vetoed the Council vote to allow for the variance, Speaker of the House Nick Mattiello and Senate President Dominick Ruggerio issued a statement that said in part, “We are extremely disappointed that Mayor Elorza has chosen to stand in the way of progress for our capital city, and we encourage the City Council to override this veto as soon as possible.”
In Elorza's veto message on last Friday, November 30, wrote, "...I made it clear to the developer and to the public that the design of the building was my top priority. I want to be sure that the building, both from a skyline and from a streetscape perspective, worked for the city. I requested that the City, either through the DDRC or the Planning Department, have final approval over the design of the project, rather than merely advisory input. If this building is going to reshape our skyline, then the city should be able to approve what it looks like."
He went on to say in his veto message, "While the developer was amenable to giving some assurances on the timeline and open to some level of public benefit contribution, we were not able to reach agreement on the first and most important point. Given that this project would reshape our skyline and dramatically impact our streetscape, I made it clear both privately and publicly, that the design of the building was my top priority. The developer has been unwilling to provide assurances that the city's design recommendations would not be disregarded. As such, I have decided to veto this zoning change."
According to multiple sources close to the legislative leaders, Elorza has done significant damage to the city’s effort to move a legislative agenda forward in 2019.
Members of council calling for the special meeting and will be voting to override are:
Councilman Luis A. Aponte, Ward 10
Councilman Nicholas Narducci, Ward 4
Councilman Terrence Hassett, Ward 12
Councilwoman Jo-Ann Ryan, Ward 5
Councilman Michael Correia, Ward 6
Councilman John Igliozzi, Ward 7
Councilwoman Sabina Mato, Ward 15
Councilman Wilbur Jennings, Ward 8
Councilwoman Carmen Castillo was not present to sign the letter but is expected to vote for the override.
Those continuing to oppose the increase in the height limitation:
Councilman Seth Yurdin, Ward 1
Councilman Sam Zurier, Ward 2
Councilwoman Nirva LaFortune, Ward 3
Councilman Bryan Principe, Ward 13
The Council member refusing to vote is Council President David Salvatore who is the full-time State House lobbyist for the RI Realtors.
Despite his abstentions, Salvatore has repeatedly voiced his opposition to the project and has refused to answer questions about a potential conflict of interest.
Salvatore has not sought a specific advisory opinion from the Rhode Island Ethics Commission on the project. But, he has repeatedly taken legislative action on the project -- voting to send the measure to committee -- and has failed to recuse himself from consideration of the project.
This story was first published at 12/6/18 9:21 PM and was updated at 5:02 AM on 12/7/18.
Related Slideshow: Fane Tower By the Number, November 29, 2018
Will the Fane Tower have anything on the rooftop?
Yes. But, the developer has not determined how the rooftop will be developed
IMAGE: Fane's Toronto project
How many estimated residents will live at the property?
IMAGE: Fane's Toronto project
What is the cost of the project?
The development budget is $300 million, but the construction cost is expected to increase.
- VIDEO: $300M Fane Tower Plan Sparks More Debate in Providence Showdown
- Fane Addresses Next Steps for Tower Proposal on LIVE
- Bishop: Fane Needs [To Give Us] a Better Deal
- Whitcomb: Down Into the Dark; Fane Tower ‘Residents’; Banana Republics; Mosaics of Protected Land
- Big Projects that Never Got Built in Providence — Is Fane’s Tower Next?
- Guest MINDSETTER™ Miller: Fane Tower Could Prove Disastrous for RI’s Housing Market
- EDITORIAL: Will Fane’s $300M Investment Go the Way of the PawSox, Due to Lack of RI Leadership
- VIDEO: Providence Preservation Society Targets Council Members on Fane Tower
- Providence City Council Delays Decision on Fane Tower Rezoning - Send to Committee for Hearings
- What is Developer Fane’s Track Record in Toronto?
- Fane Tower Gets Big Approval As Ordinance Committee Reverses Vote
- Will Elorza Veto Fane’s Tower?
- Council Approves Fane Tower Height Variance; Mattiello & Ruggerio Urge Elorza to Support Project
- Fane Tower By the Numbers: How Many Condos, Apartments, Jobs, Restaurants and More
- EXCLUSIVE: Fane Tower Not Economically Viable, Charges Appraiser Scotti
- UPDATED: Elorza Vetoes Zoning Change for $300M Fane Tower, Future of Project in Peril
- R.W. Alley: “Fane’s Tower of Babble”
- VIDEO: Fane Tower Moves Forward— Providence City Council Approves Height Variance
- Fane Tower May Be Approved Before Thanksgiving, Now On Fast Track
- Rickman’s Big View - Fane Tower
- EDITORIAL: Providence is a Special Place, It Needs to Grow Upward with the Fane Tower
- Prov Preservation Society Delivers 1,800 Signatures in Opposition to Zoning Change for Fane Tower