Source: CVDaily Feed

PROVIDENCE – A letter written by Providence resident Sharell Eames was distributed to Providence residents with concerns about city council candidate Sandra Checketts in the upcoming election.

Eames wrote in the letter that she is concerned Checketts is “running for office because of a hidden personal reason not stated in her campaign.” In the letter she detailed the history of a stone countertop factory built on Checkett’s residence in a Single Family Traditional zone. She wrote that the factory is not only illegal, but that it has generated complaints from the neighbors because of the dust and noise it generates. She cited “vague and misleading” applications submitted by Checketts and her husband in 2005 during the construction and “sketchy approvals given illegally” by the city administration. According to the letter, legal action was eventually taken to shut down the factory, but appeals have been made by Checketts.

“After nine years of arguing about whether she had to follow the Providence zoning code, this candidate only showed interest in running for City Council when a newly-elected City administration in 2014 began moving definitively via the court system toward the closing of her known illegal commercial use of her residential lot,” Eames wrote.

During Providence City’s Meet the Candidates event Tuesday night, each candidate was asked, “If elected, what is your stand on enforcing city laws and ordinances? What will be your approach with those who refuse to comply with city laws and ordinances?”

In her response, Checketts said she believed the question was submitted because of the letter that was distributed. She said she wasn’t going to discuss the letter, but wanted to discuss what her family has been through during the last 10 years.

“In 2005 we received a commercial building permit,” she said. “We built on our land. We had a business license, we operated for three years. A few neighbors chose to file a complaint. We went to the city, we tried to work it out. For three years all we heard was, ‘What if our neighbors sue us?’”

She said for the past seven years her family has been in and out of court trying to work out the problem with the city.

“The city has ordinances, they also have people that sign documents for people and other people try to, in good faith, operate on those documents,” she said. “We had a building permit, we invested a lot of money.”

Checketts said life has gone on for her family over the course of the last seven years, but there has always been the question behind it all of what the city is going to do.

“I am running for the citizens so they do not have to go through what my family has gone through,” she said.

The complete letter can be read here. The entire Meet the Candidates forum can be heard in the audio attached to this article. Checketts’ response can be heard at the 51:05 mark.

By Staff