VIDEO: Council Overrides Elorza; $300M Fane Tower Moves Forward

Friday, December 14, 2018


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The Providence City Council voted on Thursday night to override Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza's veto of the height variance for developer Jason Fane's 46-story tower on 195, allowing the project to move forward. 

Councilwoman Mary Kay Harris proved the key vote, giving the council the 2/3 majority needed for the override. 

Harris, who brought a board to display with pictures and messages from constituents, said the following:

"I have found myself confused on the issue at hand. Was it the height, the park, affordable housing? At the end, it’s about zoning issues," said Harris. "I voted no [in the ordinance committee] because I thought I was voting for the ants and not the elephants. Please pay attention to the display board. I want to bring a board of my community — the ants. Over the past week I have learned that I was a bit bamboozled. My community has been bamboozled. I have people travel from one side of the city to another — providing information that I should be forced into a vote. Maybe I’m not as book smart as my other colleagues, but I’ve been around for a long time."

"I want to thank Sharon Steele for bringing affordable housing to the front of this discussion - from the moment I took office, I’ve been working towards equity, income, and stability — and equality for all those who don’t have a voice and a seat at the table. I’m careful the way I look at things," said Harris. "My biggest stakeholders are the people not having a place to live — I’ve come to the conclusion that the Hope Tower presents more opportunities than threats to the community. It will allow for additional tax revenue."

“The Fane Organization appreciates the support expressed by the City Council in this evening's vote.  It represents an opportunity to help move Providence forward with growth and new development.  As we have said before, we remain bullish on Providence and Rhode Island.  Hope Point (The Fane Tower) will be an exciting and successful project within the Innovation/Knowledge District, where entrepreneurs, innovators, makers and the movers of today and tomorrow will want to work, live and play," said Dante Bellini, Jr. on behalf of Jason Fane.

Latest in Fane Battle 

The vote Thursday came after the Providence City Council postponed the vote scheduled for Tuesday afternoon to override Elorza's veto, after Councilman Wilbur Jennings was taken to the hospital Tuesday afternoon. 

As GoLocal reported Thursday afternoon: 

As the vote to override Mayor Jorge Elorza's veto of the Fane Tower variance is again scheduled for today, members of the City Council are firing an ever increasing number of social media attacks on one another.
The most recent spat started over the weekend as outgoing Ordinance Committee Chairman Terry Hassett took to Facebook to criticize his leadership partner Council President David Salvatore. 

Salvatore is the fulltime lobbyist for the RI Realtors.

This story was first published 12/13/18 6:32 PM.


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