Ever since the former nightclub closed its doors over 10 years ago, the future of the Shooters property has been subject to contentious debate. But last week — in what John Rousseau of the Fox Point Neighborhood Association described as a "hard-fought victory" — the City Plan Commission voted to remove residential zoning recommendations from the site, striking down the possibility of a large-scale residential development.
The decision nullified an October ruling allowing residential development on that particular portion of the waterfront, according to a press release issued by the Fox Point Neighborhood Association.
The Feb. 23 decision will align the College Hill, Wayland and Fox Point Neighborhood Plan with the Waterfront Neighborhood Plan in their common restriction of residential uses like building condominiums and hotels, according to Rousseau. The association wants the Shooters site to become a public marina in the future.
"It's a big win for FPNA and Head of the Bay Gateway, the advocacy group," Rousseau said, referring to the committee that has allied itself with the Fox Point Neighborhood Association under the goal of turning the Shooters site into an area for public use.
City Solicitor Adrienne Southgate objected to holding the vote at the meeting, said Robert Azar, director of current planning for the Department of Planning and Development.
Southgate was concerned about the legality of changing the zoning regulations, according to the Fox Point Neighborhood Association's press release, but the Commission decided to continue with the vote.
Last month, the Rhode Island Coastal Resource Management Council denied the Providence Department of Planning and Development's request to change the zoning of the waters in front of the Shooters site. That change would have turned the site from a Type 6, which indicates use for industrial waterfronts, to a Type 4 that would allow for multipurpose use.
Because the waters are zoned as industrial, they cannot legally be used for a public marina, Azar said last month. But Rousseau has pointed to the fact that the site has been previously used for exactly that purpose, and that there is a historic precedent.
The issue might be addressed further at the next City Plan Commission meeting on March 16, Azar said. The agenda for that meeting will be made public next week.
The City Council needs to approve the revisions when the comprehensive plan is finished, Rousseau said. The plan, which defines the zoning for neighborhoods for the next 10 years, will then need state approval.
Mayor David Cicilline '83 will attend a Fox Point Neighborhood Association meeting on Monday, Rousseau said.