opinion Newport Rhode Island

To the editor,

As a resident “off-Broadway” I was concerned when I read the article in the June 10, 2021 issue of Newport This Week titled ‘Broadway Zoning Change Being Considered’. The Planning Board has already forwarded the request with a positive recommendation to the Newport Zoning Board and City Council. 

I questioned why the five businesses are requesting a change in the zoning designation from Residential to Limited Business when they have been operating without it? With the change to a Limited Business designation, they would have the option of expanding or changing the use of their properties, or selling to a buyer who would do so.  Approved use in a Limited Business District includes, but is not limited to, standard restaurants, retail stores, banks and other financial institutions, guest houses and offices. For more information see Chapter 17.52 in the City Zoning Ordinance.

One of the properties extends deep into the neighborhood between Gould St. and Park St.  Another property extends into the neighborhood on Rhode Island Ave. To approve the change would be a clear example of “spot zoning” which erodes the quality of life in an area, threatens the future of nearby neighborhoods, and affects property values. It also makes it more difficult to oppose other property owners who may wish to change their zoning designation in the area in the future.

The area north on Broadway from Equality Park is, in the main, a residential area. The upgrading of Broadway from Equality Park to Farewell St. has greatly benefited businesses. It is a clearly defined business district. Let’s keep it that way and not open the doors to the possibility of businesses spreading further north on Broadway. Please protect our neighborhoods by contacting the Zoning Board and Newport City Council with an objection to the requested change in zoning for the properties housing Renaissance Fitness, C.H. Charles Five & Dime Store, Parlor Restaurant & Bar, Water’s Edge Flower Shop, and the garage & storage unit at 9 Gould Street.  They are able to apply for Special Use Permits should they wish to make changes in the use of their properties.

Ann Rossman

Newport, RI

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