Newport This Week

Comp Plan Doesn’t Envision Hotel

To the Editor:

Greed never takes a holiday. The proposal for the development of the property on West Main Road was recently voted by the Middletown Planning Board to be compatible with the Comprehensive Community Plan. It is not.

The Comprehensive Community Plan is a 216-page document whose stated purpose is to “serve as the basis for land use regulation and establish an implementation program for achieving a community’s stated goals and desires.” The town “held dozens of meetings over a several year period to prepare a thoughtful and thorough (writing) of plan elements, including narratives, assessments of current conditions, statistical data, goals, policies, and action items.”

More than 40 people, including town officials and residents of Middletown, helped draft and approve the comp plan. This was a complex and thorough assessment of the town and its future.

The part of the comp plan entitled “West Main/Coddington Development Center Master Plan” states “The town would like to see the area transformed into a walkable and attractive destination to include a mix of commercial, residential, and municipal uses that is well integrated with the surrounding neighborhoods.” The word “hotel” is not mentioned. This was not an oversight.

The word “hotel” appears five times in the rest of comp plan: two times in references to transportation, one time about Church Community Housing, one time in recounting the history of Middletown, and one time in a discussion about the Atlantic Beach District with its proximity to beaches. The West Main property is mentioned several times in the comp plan. Not once does it include a hotel as desirable. A “hotel” was not part of the comp plan for the West Main property. To repeat, this was not an oversight.

The developers of the proposed plan, Chris Bicho, Rocky Kempenaar, James Karam and their chosen “experts,” repeatedly claimed their plan was “compatible” with the comp plan. It has become all too common in the current political climate that if you repeat a falsehood often enough, then one can expect that falsehood to be accepted as truth by a portion of the community. With the Planning Board’s vote to approve the developers plan as compatible with the comp plan, the developers have scored their first success.

The developers have repeatedly stated they will walk away if the hotel is not permitted. Their claims for their love and caring about Middletown, and how their project will benefit Middletown, are a smoke screen. Money is the driving force. Based on their assessments of the town’s elected and appointed officials’ bias toward real estate interests, they fully expect to win approval for their plans.

Greed is not part of the Comprehensive Community Plan. Greed is not part of the zoning code. Greed is not part of the town charter. The town needs to stop this charade now.

Lawrence Frank Newport

One response to “Comp Plan Doesn’t Envision Hotel”

  1. Timothy John Sullivan says:

    Lawrence Frank got that exactly right, spot on! Let the greedy developers walk away…

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