Newport City Council voted 5 – 2 on a Second Reading to amend Chapter 14.04 of the Codified Ordinances, entitled, “Comprehensive Land Use Plan”, to add a new section 14.04.020 entitled, “Moratorium”.

The passage by the council imposes a moratorium on decision relating to the development activity for uses requiring Development Plan Review in the Mixed-Use Innovation district for a period not to exceed six months from the date of passage.

The ordinance, which was introduced by Councilors McLaughlin and Taylor, passed 5 to 2 at the Council’s September 25th meeting as well. On both votes, Councilors Napolitano and Ceglie voted against.

The moratorium takes effect upon its passage and “all all ordinance or parts of ordinances inconsistent herewith are hereby repealed”.

Carpionato Group, who owns the Newport Grand land, issued the following statement on Thursday in response to the ordinance.

“It is unfortunate the City Council has taken this step, which hurts this $100-million project, the Innovation District and the surrounding neighbors.  At a minimum, it means a six month delay in the City collecting increased taxes on the property, a six month delay in the creation of 250 construction jobs and a six month delay in the creation of new permanent jobs tied to the Innovation District. 

There is a misperception among some in Newport that this project was on a fast track, however, that is simply not true.  Indeed, we never expected this project to be approved and permitted overnight.  In fact, there needs to be at least 9 public hearings before the City Council and the planning board before this proposal could be approved.

The real issue here is that development is happening in Newport, and apparently there are some people who are nervous about that progress, but singling out one area of the City for a moratorium like this is the wrong way to go about addressing those concerns.  In terms of next steps, all options are on the table,” said Gregg Perry, a spokesman for Carpionato Group.


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