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Planning Board approves Rockport Hotel

By Jackson Long | Feb 28, 2020
Photo by: Jackson Long Rockport Planning Board met Feb. 27, to discuss  plans for the building of a hotel on Central Street, among other issues.

Rockport — The Planning Board approved a revised application for the Rockport Harbor Hotel at 20 Central St. at the Feb. 27 meeting. The revision removed a floor from the hotel and brought the total number of rooms from 35 to 26, but did not change the size of the building.

The approval was contingent on the applicants meeting several conditions including maintaining 35 offsite parking spaces, completing a sewer test, requiring employees to park at a remote location and redirecting service vehicles to Sandy's Way as reasonably practical.

Tyler Smith representing 20 Central Street LLC said the changes were made in response to community concerns. "We're very fortunate to live in a community where people are engaged in the town." Smith also spoke about the changes to the plan. "These changes have resulted in revisions to the elevation and lighting plan for the building.”

Clare Tully, a resident of Rockport, thanked Tyler Smith for the effort he has put forward to accommodate complaints from the community but still stated that "the footprint of the hotel remains the same.”

Kristin Collins, from the law firm Preti Flaherty representing residents Kimberly and Rex Rehmeyer and others, spoke about the new proposal saying, "the parking and traffic problems still exist." She also noted that "placement of the hotel will cause safety problems."

Both Tully and Collins also asked for an independent traffic study with Collins saying, "I've never seen a hotel approved without a traffic study."

In public comments and letters to the board, many community members have asked for an independent study and several members of the board have said the study would be appealing. However, Chairman Joe Sternowski said calling for an independent traffic study is not within the board's authority.

Collins challenged that by saying, "The board has a requirement to evaluate the safety and traffic circulation and the parking, and all of that requires technical information and background that you do not have in front of you."

Smith said the removal of the fifth floor and the reduction of rooms, have resulted in revisions to the elevation and lighting plan for the building. There was a discussion by the board about whether or not the lights on the balconies violated section 801.7 part 4 section C of the land use ordinance. The ordinance states "no lighting fixtures except for street lights shall extend beyond a height of 25 feet as measured from ground level." Clark Doran made the motion that the lights comply with the ordinance. The motion passed 5 to 2.

The planning board unanimously approved the application.

In other business, the board reviewed a subdivision amendment, which was submitted by Rockport Property Holdings LLC. John Viehman made a motion that the change met the requirement. Doran seconded the motion. The motion passed with a 7 to 0 vote.

The board also reviewed a subdivision of land, which was submitted by Tom Fowles. Fowles represents Goose River Holdings LLC. The subdivision of land would create a 3 lot subdivision. A motion to recuse Doran was made. 6 opposed the motion, and 1 abstained.

 

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