Supporters rally for business on Broadway

A rally was held Sunday in front of 399 Broadway in Providence to show support for business owner Drake Patten.

Patten is trying to open an urban farm supply store on the site of an old gas station. She was dealt a blow in court Friday when a judge overturned a zoning variance granted by the city based on lack of notification for one abutter.

"I'm going to go through this process again. It's a hard decision but after an outpouring of support and the response from the community, I think it's important. I think it has to be done," said Patten.

Patten said she believes her store, Cluck!, will be a good fit for the west side of the city.

"It's also a place where there are many community gardens, many people growing food. There are beekeepers and chicken keepers all over this neighborhood," Patten said.

Among those who attended Sunday's rally was Providence Mayor Angel Taveras.

"Today's a day to listen to what we can do as a city to make things easier for businesses not more difficult," Taveras said. "I support urban agriculture."

While the zoning board approved the variance, not everyone agreed with the decision, which is why it went to court.

"It's a solid business idea, and I wish her the best of luck, just not here," said Jason Simonian with Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Apostolic Church across the street.

He said church officials are concerned about parking for parishioners and what a zoning variance will do.

"It would always be retail, and we believe that that would denigrate the value of historic Broadway," said Simonian.

Anthony Paolino owns the property next door to the proposed store.

"We're fighting for the fact this will detract from the rest of us. I always thought the rest of us had rights also," Paolino said.