Please Be an Advocate for our Historic City
Say NO to Waites Wharf Hotel
The city of Newport is in critical need of mandating an infrastructure and environmental assessment for developers before zoning approvals and variances are granted. Strategic Planning is vital for every community. We have seen the consequences to communities that do not establish and enforce goals with policies and procedures. Without this crucial initial understanding of the impacts of large construction, the citizens of Newport are at considerable risk of experiencing:
Depletion of our small island’s limited quality water supply
Extreme stress to our infrastructure – sewer / water / electric / gas / streets
Choking Traffic (also negatively impacting first responders)
Increase risk of flooding with loss of community green space
Obstruction of the iconic views which draw people to the city (residents and visitors)
Increased waste (gray & black water, trash, CO2)
We ASK you to please say NO to the Waites Wharf Hotel and Banquet Facility.
Collectively, hotels’ environmental impact can be directly related to three key areas: water; energy and waste. In an historic city, such as Newport, with aging infrastructure, located on an island that spans just 15 miles by 5 miles, severe degradation of these resources is very real. Quality drinking water and the waterfront views cannot be replaced. The financial burden of repairing and replacing the infrastructure must also be considered.
We, the Newport Waterfront Alliance, are not opposed to responsible development with the necessary infrastructure and environmental impact assessments. Our mission is focused on preserving the visual integrity and architectural character of Newport while addressing the pressing issues of flooding, sewage and water infrastructure, traffic and parking, which collectively strain our natural resources. Our goal is to foster constructive discussions and creative solutions, which benefit the needs of all residents and visitors, while striving for a balance of economic prosperity with environmental stewardship.
Currently, there are two new large hotels (Hammetts and Brenton Hotels) with a combined total of over 140 rooms under construction on America's Cup Avenue. The unforeseen impacts of these facilities relative to the depletion of our limited water supply; increased risk of flooding; increase discharge of wastewater; and the further choking of the waterfront with hundreds of additional cars and parking are of major concern. Further, two additional hotels (on Broadway and Memorial with over 80 additional rooms) have been approved for construction in 2020. Additional impacts are unknown.
The Waites Wharf proposed project consists of two massive five-story buildings (beyond zoning dimensional allowances) with 150 transient guest rooms; a restaurant, banquet and wedding facilities; 266 off street parking on non-contiguous lots (over 34 spots short of the parking space density requirement), and no allowance for use of the public right-of-way to the tidal waters. The site is on the one of the busiest streets in the city, in a flood zone and contains contaminated soil from the former Newport Gas Light Company (Coal gasification plant).
The Developers profit and the State of RI benefits with the majority of tax revenue, while the City's (home page of website) goal to "strive to be the most diverse, livable and welcoming city in New England: an innovative place to live, work, learn, play and raise a family” fades away.
“It appears that the City has taken its priceless harbor and ocean-front assets for granted and perhaps lost sight of the basic fact that Newport’s harbor and shoreline is the fundamental economic engine that drives our local economy” (Harbor Management Plan, 2010).
Lastly, the building of these large transient lodging facilities on the waterfront is contrary to The 2017 Newport Comprehensive Land Use Plan which states: “The city shall maintain design standards to protect historic structures, maintain the heritage of the community, and maintain views and access to the harbor and waterfront areas.”
Enough is Enough – Tell the Planning & Zoning Boards and City leadership to mandate independent environmental and infrastructure assessments prior to granting permits and variances.
Please be an Advocate for Responsible Development in our historic City by the Sea.
Please Sign & Share this petition - No to Waites Wharf Hotel
Newport Waterfront Alliance