2017-01-05 / Around Town

Proposed Wharf Hotel to be Vetted

By Barry Bridges

A proposal for a three-story 20- room hotel on Howard Wharf is set to be heard this month by the Newport Planning and Zoning boards.

Vincent Sandonato, owner of The Pier restaurant, is seeking a variance to the dimensional requirements applicable to the Waterfront Business zone in constructing the hotel on a private lot on Howard Wharf near Thames Street, across from the International Yacht Restoration School. Zoning approvals are needed because the envisioned footprint of 4,338 square feet would create a lot coverage of 56 percent, above the 40 percent coverage allowed.

The building would rise to 45 feet, the maximum height allowed in the area, and would feature 20 ground-level parking spaces. Since 21 off-street spots are typically needed for a project of that size, a variance to parking requirements is also needed.

The plan is the latest of several boutique hotels under development or on the drawing board in Newport, including a project at the former fire station at Wellington Square and a proposal put forth by the Peregrine Group for a “micro hotel” at the Yachting Center.

As for Sandonato’s project, Dave McLaughlin of Clean Ocean Access told Newport This Week that Howard Wharf was designated as a public right of way in 1989. “While we have no particular issues with the project now, we’ll stay current on it. We want to make sure that the right-of-way at Howard Wharf is maintained, consistent with one of COA’s long-term goals for people to be able to get to the water. We have to balance economic development with public access.”

So far, no written comments have been submitted in opposition to the Howard Wharf hotel, but public comments can be offered at the upcoming meetings. The Planning Board will consider the required special use permit for the application on Thursday, Jan. 5, at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall. The Zoning Board of Review is scheduled to take up the variance requests on Monday, Jan. 23, at 7 p.m., also in Council Chambers.

Return to top