2018-02-08 / Around Town

NEWPORT Board Approves Demolition Project

By Bob Rulli

Melissa Pattavina was elected chair of the Newport Planning Board at its January meeting, replacing Kim Salerno, and her first order of business at the Feb. 6 meeting was the approval of a demolition permit for two mixed-use buildings spread over three lots on Memorial Boulevard and Merton Road, which would include demolition of Jimmy’s Saloon.

The permit was approved in a 5-1 vote, with Liam Barry voting against it, Salerno recusing herself and Tanya Kelley and Jeffrey Brooks absent. The proposed development must still go before the city’s Development Plan Review, the Historic District Commission and the Zoning Board of Review, and the demolition plan must be approved by the city’s building official, William Hanley.

If ultimately approved, the development, being led by local developer Mark Brennan, would merge the three lots to construct a 12-unit vacation guest facility.

According to preliminary plans filed with the city, the project would consist of two-, three- and four-bedroom units, each with a kitchen. “[The project] is located in a General Business Zone and its new use would be ‘by right’ and meets all the dimensional requirements for new construction and that the use is an allowable use,” said Attorney J. Russell Jackson, representing Brennan.

Jackson said that after a conversation with Newport Zoning Officer Guy Weston, “We will need to make an application to the Zoning Board of Appeals for a parking variance for two spots, in order to accommodate the loading area associated with the facility.”

There are 19 planned, on-site parking spaces.

Barry questioned the structural integrity of the buildings, asking if they were safe or a risk to tenants and the public.

“There have been water issues over the years, but there is no immediate structural concern,” Brennan said.

Barry asked City Planner Christine O’Grady if any of the buildings are on the protected building list. She said there was no evidence that they were.

William McGowan, an abutting property owner, told the board, “I am not against the project; I just want to be sure that someone will be responsible for the structural integrity of my property during the development process.”

He said that when the People’s Credit Union was developed on the former Coca-Cola property, “curbing on my property was damaged.”

Pattavina added language to the motion to approve the application with the stipulation that the integrity of abutting property owners’ structures and properties be preserved during demolition and construction. In other matters:

A demolition permit for the structure located at 102-108 Girard Ave. was unanimously approved.

Modification to a previously approved subdivision plan for 22 Kay St. was unanimously approved.

The board voted unanimously to provide a positive recommendation to the City Council on an application of the Ida Lewis Yacht Club to construct a time timber deck expansion.

Return to top