2018-09-13 / Front Page

Developer to Meet with Neighbors

By James Merolla

The developer of the former Cranston-Calvert School is taking time to specify his plans to meet the satisfaction of the city’s approving boards and, perhaps more important, to meet the approval of his prospective new neighbors.

The project to turn the former school into more than 30 apartments was up for review this week at the Sept. 10 Planning Board meeting and the Sept. 12 City Council meeting.

The Planning Board will hear the latest plans for the rezoning petition of the Newport Project Development Company, LLC at its next meeting on Oct. 1. It is not clear when the project will be up for council review, but it has to be after that date, based upon Planning Board recommendations.

“We requested the continuance to October in order to complete additional engineering and other due diligence for the project,” attorney Peter Regan, representing the developer, told Newport This Week.

“We would like the plans we present to the Planning Board and the City Council to be as specific as possible, and this additional work will allow us to do that.

“We also plan to use the time to meet with abutters and the local neighborhood association. In speaking with some of the abutters, there appears to be some misconceptions about what the project entails, which we hope to clear up.”

In a memo emailed to members of the Off Broadway Neighborhood Association on Sept. 10, President Jack McVicker confirmed that developer Conner Melville requested the delay after meeting with McVicker.

“I met with Mr. Melville last week and he has accepted an invitation to come to our next OBNA meeting to present his plans to our group,” wrote McVicker in the email.

“That meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 25 at 7 p.m. at Parlor Restaurant. The proposed plan for the buildings is very well-defined at this time and the proposal includes 22 two-bedroom units and 12 one-bedroom units.

“The two-bedroom units average about 725 square feet and one-bedroom designs look to be under 500 square feet,” McVicker emailed his association. “The plan involves the use of ‘Historic Tax Credits,’ and this will limit the changes that could be made to the buildings.”

In other matters:

. A continued discussion on zoning clarification on short-term rentals was continued to sub-committee meetings scheduled for Sept. 13 and Sept. 20. The Planning Board meeting also included a discussion on a proposed Zoning Board amendment regarding the Newport Armory. Joseph H. Olaynack III, counsel for the armory plan, discussed a change in the City Zoning Code as to the definition of a “maritime” museum, where it may be allowed, and its consistency with the Comprehensive Plan.

. The board unanimously approved a request by The Newport Housing Authority, applicant and owner, for a demolition permit for the structures next to Hillside, Kennedy,

Truman & Rosedale streets, which currently include some 58 residential apartment units.

. The board unanimously approved a request by K. Gibbs, applicant and owner, for a demolition permit for the structure at 28 Connection St., the next step in the next phase of building projects going forward. The Planning Board was being asked to provide review, findings and recommendations to the City Council on the petition. Some members of the board felt the language change was not necessary. Olaynack, who said the revision had gone through several drafts, maintained it was necessary to differentiate between “maritime” museums and other museums seeking to occupy buildings in certain districts. The city is attempting to codify all pertinent language as it attempts to move the National Sailing Hall of Fame from Maryland to the armory building. The Hall of Fame and museum would occupy a condo space within the armory.

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