yossarian

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About yossarian

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  1. yossarian

    Providence Tomorrow

    I think it has less to do with a policy of encouraging people to come downtown and more to do with the fact that ticketing on the weekend would be less cost effective because 1) the parking enforcement folks would be making time and a half and 2) there are far fewer cars in downtown on the weekend (with the exception of the evenings of waterfire, Civic Center events).
  2. yossarian

    Thinking about moving to Providence?

    I can because I plan to. My wife and I own a house in Elmhurst, no kids yet but we will soon. Barring some catastrophic turn of events they will go to public schools. I went to Newport's public schools, which have some real issues. I and my friends all still managed to get in to good colleges and beyond. My nieghborhood elementary school in Providence (Kennedy) scores as well on those standardized performance tests as the schools I went to. I am sure it can be better, and I'll do what I can to make it so. I acknowledge that right now middle school would be tough (but since thats over 13 years away I won't lose too much sleep) but Classical is great, as good as any school in the state.
  3. yossarian

    Thinking about moving to Providence?

    Jerry obviously has some very strong feelings on what has caused the decline of Providence's middle class neighborhoods. If I read him correctly its RI's overly generous welfare benefits attracting the poor to our City and the crushing burden of dealing with so many illegal immigrants that is the problem. I haven't seen Jerry offer any evidence to support those contentions, but since I agree that for a city its size there are very few middle class neighborhoods in Providence, let me throw out another explanation. The City used to have a residency requirement for City workers. Residency ordinances automatically create a middle class tax base for a city. The end of residency requirements first from 1990-1992 and again in 2004 had a tremendous impact on some neighborhoods. Provplan.org has some discussion about that effect in its profiles pages.
  4. yossarian

    Thinking of moving to the East Bay?

    A couple of thoughts. Provplan.org has plenty of links to crime statistics by neighborhood. So this is one of those debates where we don't have to depend on anecodotal evidence. To generalize crime does occur on the east side. For some propery crimes, especially those don't that involve violence, many east side neighborhoods have crime rates as high or higher than neighborhoods that would be traditionally thought of as high crime. But the East Side is not monolothic. Violent crime is a rare phenomen on the east side and when present tends to be linked with a property crime (i.e. robbery ) A few highlights. Larceny: College Hill, Fox Point, Hope and Mount Hope are all above the city wide average (39.6 per 1000 people). Wayland is below the city wide (29.9). But the bottom two are Elmhurst (18.1) and Mount Pleasant (18.1). Larceny from a car: same as above in terms of College Hill etc., except that there the bottom two are Reservoir (4.6) and Mount Pleasant (4.6) with West End (5.2) and Elmurst (5.2) next in line. Wayland is at 10. Citywide average is 12.8 Burglary. Mount Hope and Fox Point are above the city wide of 10.7. Wayland is 8.8 . Safest is South Elmwood (4.1) and Resevoir (5.8). Elmhurst is 7.3. College Hill is 7.9. Getting more violent, robbery without a gun. No east side neighborhood is above the city wide average of 1.9. College Hill slightly below at 1.7. Safest are Wayland and Blackstone. With South Elmwood and Elmust next in line. For violent crimes generally speaking, Wayland, Blackstone and the other east side neighborhoods are all well below the city wide average along with Elmhurst. That all being said. Your anecedotal experience seems spot on. You (and single women) should feel safe jogging and walking alone. Its incredibly unlikely someone would try to do you harm.... but while you (and the single women) are out jogging somebody may be breaking into your house/car. There also seems to be some truth in Jim's idea that the affluence (and I would add college students with lots of consumer electronics due to daddy's credit card) on the east side does attract a certain degree of crime.
  5. yossarian

    Thinking of moving to the East Bay?

    Classical is a city-wide exam school and its students score as well those of affluent suburbs like Barrington on statewide standardized "acheivement" tests. There is also a gifted and talented program at one of Providence's middle schools, but I cannot recall which one. The elementary schools are generally neighborhood dependent. I live in Elmhurst. If I had kids they would go to RFK, which is supposed to be pretty well regarded. There are also a number of parochial schools with relatively modest tuitions. Since you are reconsidering Providence, I'll put in my 2 cents for Elmhurst. Based on your requirements the Cons would be lack of walkability to destinations. From where I live, I can walk to a number of errand type places - there is a corner market, dry cleaner, liqour store, lunch spot, a bakery/cafe, a park. But that's it. There aren't any sit down restaurants or bars within an easy walk (i.e. sub ten minutes). There is no city center or downtown to speak of. The places I mentioned are located on very small commercial strips along Smith St. at a few intersections. On the plus side you are a 5-10 minute drive from downtown providence depeding on traffic, and therefore 5-10 minutes from plenty of great restaurants and bars. The neighborhood is quiet and safe; much less crime than the east side. It is also, and I use this in the relative sense, affordable. Houses range from mid 200s and to the low 300s. Dowtown is also easily accessible by public transit. Finally, there is a strong sense of community, with lots of folks with very deep roots in the neighborhood.
  6. yossarian

    Thinking about moving to Providence?

    Pretty much. Article II of the Chapter 27 governs non-conforming uses. A use is non-conforming and "grandfathered in" if "a building, structure or the use of land was lawfully established if it was in existence prior to June 6, 1923, or was established in conformance with the zoning ordinance in effect at the time the use was established." There is a specfic provison for parking, Section 205, which provides "A building or structure is considered nonconforming by parking if the lawfully established use of the building or structure does not meet the parking requirements of Article VII. 205.1. Addition, enlargement, expansion and intensification. A building or structure nonconforming by parking, may be added to, enlarged, expanded or intensified provided additional parking space is supplied to meet the requirements of Article VII for such addition, enlargement, expansion or intensification. The number of additional parking spaces supplied shall be the difference between the number of spaces required for the building or structure including such addition, enlargement, expansion or intensification, and the number of spaces required for the previous use of the building or structure; each calculated in accordance with the requirements of Article VII. " So basically if you were grandfathered in, and you have don't expand the building you don't have to provide parking. If you do expand your building, you have bring the parking up to code.
  7. yossarian

    Thinking about moving to Providence?

    Zoning is chapter 27. The provision you are talking about is Section 703.
  8. yossarian

    Thinking about moving to Providence?

    I often have the same thoughts. I live in Elmhurst and work downtown, so at least five days I week I go back and forth via Smith St. (either via a bus or car). Maybe its just because I spend a far amount of time staring at the streetscape, but it seems like there should be a lot of potential in the neighborhood, especially the portion around the intersections of Smith, Orms and Chalkstone heading toward 95, given 1) its proximity to downtown and 2) the quality of some of the housing stock. Maybe what you and I are observing comes from the absence of a "pride of ownership." I don't know what percentage of the neighborhood is owner occupied versus rental, but if it is renter dominated that might explain in part the absence of care. Just to be clear I am not knocking renters in general, but I think people are more likley to go out of their way to improve an area (e.g. cleaning the street in front of their home even though it is technically the city's responsibility) when they have bought into a community, in constrast to someone who is more transitory.
  9. yossarian

    Thinking about moving to Providence?

    Speaking from personal experience I can tell you a well maintained, decent sized 3BR is around $300K in Elmhurst. I know of two new constructions in the neighborhood going for around $390K. In terms of inflated, it is all relevant. Before moving back to RI I lived in the Allston/Brighton section and sold my 1BR condo on a semi-noisy street for in excess of $200K. So an extra 100K for an addtional 1200 square feet, a nice yard and a great neighborhood with a real sense of community seemed like a steal.