Contact City Government

If you think you‘re being exposed to noise levels that exceed legal limits, you probably are — and you should contact Providence officials to request that they address the problem. Start with the mayor’s office (see below) and, particularly for noise reports, the municipal agencies he oversees, because they are the branch of the city government that enforces local and state laws.

(If you e-mail city officials about noise, please “cc” the Noise Project’s info@ address, so were aware
of your issue and can follow up. This may also lead them to take your complaint more seriously.)


The Mayor / Executive Branch

One of the major components of Providence Mayor Brett Smiley’s 2022 election campaign was the need to reduce excessive and unhealthy noise in Providence, and voters elected him at least partly on that basis. The mayor is the city’s chief executive officer and is responsible for how it implements municipal laws and policies — including regulations limiting sound levels.

Providence officials1 and employees answer to the mayor for their conduct (or inaction) regarding violations of noise ordinances, and resident complaints about them. So if they ignore noise laws or are ineffective in implementing them, and the mayor doesn’t act to improve their response, it means they’re essentially doing what he wants.

OFFICE OF THE MAYOR

Phone: (401) 421-2489
E-mail: mayor@providenceri.gov
Mayors office contact page: www.providenceri.gov/mayor/mayors-office-contact-us
Mayor Smiley’s Twitter account: https://twitter.com/PVDMayor (@PVDMayor)
Official Providence Twitter account: https://twitter.com/CityofProv (@CityofProv)

City Services (PVD 311): www.providenceri.gov/pvd-311 (mobile app: Apple / Android) or dial 311 or (401) 421-2489 from Monday to Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. The Noise Project recommends that residents use the 311 website or mobile app, so you can submit your report after business hours and retain a record of it. (If you call by phone, the person who answers will log your report in their words, which may not accurately convey the issue you’re reporting.)

Note: PVD 311 is not staffed in the evening and weekends, and takes an indeterminate amount of time to transfer noise reports to the appropriate city government department, so it is not designed to address excessive noise that requires a rapid response (e.g., within an hour). It‘s more useful for longer-term noise issues, such as houses or businesses that generate excessive noise on a recurring basis. For faster response to a current source of excessive noise, contact the city agencies below.

Community Relations office (https://www.providenceri.gov/community-relations/)
Director: Anthony Aquino
E-mail: aaquino@providenceri.gov
Phone: (401) 369-4930

City Agencies

PROVIDENCE POLICE DEPARTMENT — Enforces local and state laws regulating sources of noise.
Police Chief (appointed by the mayor): Oscar Perez
Non-Emergency Phone: (401) 272-3121
PVD Police Twitter account: @ProvidenceRIPD

Until Providence implements alternative proposals for reducing excessive noise, city residents are forced to either simply endure disruptive and unhealthy sound levels, or contact the police to request enforcement of municipal limits.2 Reporting noise violations doesn’t guarentee they will be addressed, but not reporting them ensures they won’t be. Moreover, since noise reports are logged, contacting the police at least contributes data on the location and frequency of noise in the city.

If possible, try to provide the dispatcher with a specific street address for the source of the noise, so the responding officers can find it. If you call to report noise and get an unsatisfactory response from the civilian dispatcher, call again and ask to speak to the officer in charge. If you still don’t get a satisfactory response, call again and ask for the officer in charge of the patrol division. If their response is still not satisfactory, call Chief Perez or Deputy Chief Timothy O’Hara during a weekday at (401) 243-6109 or email their secretary at amcginn@providenceri.gov.

District commanders (https://ppd.providenceri.gov/find-your-local-police-station/) — Use the map to identify the police district the noise source is in and then contact the commander for that district.

ATV Community Response Team — (401) 680-8288 (680-8ATV) or e-mail ATVtips@providenceri.gov. As above, if you can provide a specific address where ATVs are stored, the police can confiscate them.

License Enforcement Unit — Enforces regulations related to commercial licenses (see the Board of Licenses below). Sergeant Vincent Sollitto currently runs the unit.

Police Community Relations Bureau (https://www.providenceri.gov/police/community-relations/)
E-mail: communityrelations@providenceri.gov
Phone: (401) 680-5320

It’s worth noting that Providence Police are often touted for what is known as “community policing,” the foundation of which they describe as resting on three pillars: partnership, prevention, and problem-solving. We leave it to city residents and voters to decide if the department has been successful in preventing noise (not just responding to it) and solving the problem of noise recidivism.

PROVIDENCE BOARD OF LICENSES — The License Board is responsible for regulating noise from the 8,000+ commercial sources it issues licenses to each year, including 400+ liquor licenses to bars / clubs / restaurants, and enforcing local ordinances and state laws that regulate such establishments.
Chair: Dylan Conley
Board members: Delia Rodriguez-Masjoan (vice chair), Adewole Akinbi, Sylvia Bernal, Peter Mancini
Staff: Stephany Lopes, director of licensing; Jose Giusti, deputy license administrator
Louis DeSimone, Board attorney; Mario Martone, city attorney
E-mail: licensing@providenceri.gov (If you e-mail the License Board, please “cc” the Noise Project’s info@ e-mail address so we can track your complaint)
Phone: (401) 421-7740, ext. 5206 / 5207

CITY SOLICITOR’S OFFICE — The City Solicitor is Providence’s chief legal officer. Among other things, it refers cases to the Board of Licenses and the city’s Nuisance Task Force.
City Solicitor: Jeffrey Dana
Phone: (401) 680-5333


City Council / Legislative Branch

Whereas the mayor is responsible for implementing the city’s ordinances and public policies, the Providence City Council is responsible for deciding what those laws and policies (including noise limits) actually are — and also for ensuring that Mayor Smiley and his administration actually do their jobs by enforcing those laws and implementing those policies.

If the City Council passes laws (including budget allocations) but then allows the mayor to choose whether or not to implement them, it is effectively abdicating its legislative role and authority under Providence’s Home Rule Charter, and ceding it to the executive branch — i.e., letting the mayor determine what the city’s laws are. In which case, why bother to have a City Council at all?

If Smiley administration officials are unresponsive or otherwise ineffective in addressing noise, contact the City Council, Council President Rachel Miller, and your specific City Council representative to ask them to require the executive branch to implement the laws that the Council has passed.

The most “accountable” way to contact the Council and individual members is to e-mail their official city e-mail addresses, which generate a legal city record that must be legally retained and can be requested later. This is preferable to using the contact form on city website, because it allows you to include their unofficial / personal e-mail address(es) — and the Noise Project’s info@ address, so we can track the issue — and lets you retain a copy of your correspondence.

City Council President: Rachel Miller (see contact info below)
Main phone: (401) 521-7477
E-mail: council@providenceri.gov
Webpage: https://council.providenceri.gov/connect/contact-us/

WardCouncil Member*E-mail Address(es)Notes
1John Goncalvesward1@providenceri.gov
info@JohnforWard1.com
Fox Point, downtown
Re-elected in 2022
2Helen Anthony
Finance Committee chair
ward2@providenceri.gov
helen@helenanthony.com
Blackstone, Wayland
Re-elected in 2022
3Sue AnderBois
Environment Committee
ward3@providenceri.gov
anderbois.ward3@gmail.com
Summit
Elected 2022
4Justin Roiasward4@providenceri.govCharles, elected in 2022
5Jo-Ann Ryan
Majority Leader
ward5@providenceri.gov
campaign e-mail
Elmhurst
Re-elected in 2022
6Miguel Sanchez
Finance Committee
ward6@providenceri.govMt. Pleasant, elected in 2022
7Ana Vargasward7@providenceri.govManton, Silver Lake
Elected in 2022
8James Taylor
Finance Committee
ward8@providenceri.govWest End
Re-elected in 2022
9Juan Pichardo
Finance Committee
ward9@providenceri.govElmwood
Elected in 2022
10Pedro Espinal
Ordinance Committee chair
ward10@providenceri.gov
pedroe1130@gmail.com
Washington Park
Re-elected in 2022
11Mary Kay Harrisward11@providenceri.govUpper South PVD
Re-elected in 2022
12Althea Gravesward12@providenceri.govValley, Elected in 2022
13Rachel Miller
Council president
ward13@providenceri.govFederal Hill
re-elected in 2022
14Shelley Petersonward14@providenceri.govElmhurst
Elected in 2022
15Oscar Vargasward15@providenceri.gov
oscarvargas15@gmail.com
Olneyville, Silver Lake
Re-elected in 2022
* City Council members are limited to three consecutive four-year terms


Rhode Island and U.S. agencies

In addition to Providence government officials, some state and federal agencies have legal authority to regulate sources of noise in the city, such as motor vehicles. If the mayor and City Council are unresponsive to complaints about noise, you can try to contact RI agencies and / or the EPA.

_______________________
1 This includes the Providence Police; Board of Licenses; Department of Arts, Culture, and Tourism; and other city agencies with responsibility for enforcing municipal noise ordinances.

2 Noise apologists / denialists often deflect the issue by claiming that people simply need to ask those making noise to be quieter, but residents’ submissions to our Community Noise Survey indicate that asking people to be quieter only resolves the issue 7% of the time — 39% report that it gets “somewhat” quieter, and 54% say there’s no change. (We did not include an option to indicate that it gets worse, but residents occasionally report that some people’s response is to make it louder.)