Zoning board meets Wednesday, planning board on Thursday

Proposed Rockport Harbor Hotel subject of two municipal board meetings this week

Mon, 01/20/2020 - 6:30pm

Rockport’s Zoning Board of Appeals will convene Jan. 22 at 5:30 p.m. to hear an appeal for off-site parking by the developers of a proposed 35-room hotel in Rockport Village. The open meeting will be held at the Rockport Opera House and streamed on the town’s website.

Should the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) grant the request filed by Gartley & Dorsky Engineers on behalf of Stuart Smith and 20 Central Street LLC to provide off-street parking for 34 vehicles at 310 Commercial St., the Planning Board will continue its review of the application for the hotel project at its Jan. 23 meeting.

Jan. 22 ZBA Meeting

The proposed Rockport Harbor Hotel would be built on a vacant lot between the Shepherd Block and Union Hall, two existing buildings that now house businesses, including the restaurants 18 Central, Nina June and Seafolk Coffee, as well as the nonprofit Bay Chamber Concerts.

At a Dec. 19 public hearing, the Planning Board concluded a long discussion with a directive to the hotel developers that they seek zoning board of appeals approval to provide off-street parking for 34 vehicles, a requisite process under the town’s land use ordinance. The board voted unanimously in favor of a motion: “To require 20 Central LLC to go to ZBA to obtain approval of off street parking of 34 parking spaces, either under same ownership or lease, as condition of approval.”

Under the town’s current land use ordinance, the hotel would need to provide a total of 37 parking spaces: one for each of the rooms, and two extra spaces. Initially the majority of these spaces were to be sourced from the lot in the back of the building, which is owned by the Smiths and consists of approximately 50 spaces.

But in a Jan. 3 letter to the ZBA, Will Gartley proposed that off-street parking will be located at 310 Commercial Street, a property where Main Street Meats and Guinea Ridge Farm are located, and which is also owned by Smith as Hoboken House LLC.

Under the proposal, the hotel, as 20 Central Street LLC, would lease the parking spaces from Hoboken House LLC.

“The area is existing gravel and will not require changes or improvements,” wrote Gartley. “This area is not currently used or included in the lease to the greenhouse operators....The leased parking is located at 310 Commercial Street, which is approximately 0.7 miles from 20 Central Street. The leased parking will be for valet only and is approximately a two-minute drive.”

The property at 310 Commercial Street is zoned within the town’s business district, and hotel parking is a permitted use within this zone. Gartley’s proposal said the Rockport Harbor Hotel “will be working with 18 Central Oyster Bar and Grille and Nina June to provide complimentary valet parking for customers who want the convenience of this service.”

While the Planning Board had initially agreed to continue its review of the hotel proposal after the ZBA meeting, at its regularly scheduled February meeting, the schedule was moved up so that the Planning Board is now meeting the day after the ZBA meeting.

Jan. 23 Planning Board meeting

In addition to their continued review of the proposed hotel project, at its Jan. 23 meeting the Planning Board will consider an application by Max MacCoole two construct three residential rental units at a property located at 1047 Commercial Street. The board will also consider applications for a proposed family childcare service and the modification of a telecommunication tower in town.

Proposed multi-family structure

In his application to the board, MacCoole said that he and his family acquired the property at 1047 Commercial Street and its existing buildings in 2018 with the intention of constructing apartment units which could be rented by the public. Since then the existing buildings on the site have been removed, and MacCoole has begun construction on one of two multi-unit structures, which runs parallel to Commercial Street (Route 1).

“We have extended the parking lot to accommodate the parking volume needed, and have begun the construction of the first two units along with a laundry/utility facility. The construction to this point has been completed under the permit issued by the Code Enforcement Office,” said MacCoole.

MacCoole is seeking approval by the board to construct a second building which will run perpendicular to Route 1 and provide three units. The new residences are located opposite existing businesses such as the Claddagh Motel.

“It is my understanding that we own the necessary amount of land to support five single family units,” he wrote. “We are eager to comply with any ordinances regarding parking and access.”

In-home daycare facility

Maegan Foley has submitted a site plan review application to operate a daycare facility at 34 Mt. Pleasant Street. Foley states that she is in a purchase agreement with intent to buy the property from its current owners, David and Christine MacWilliams. She said the daycare would operate from within the home on the 2.2 acre lot, as well as on an outdoor playground.

Foley intends to have the facility licensed to accommodate up to 12 children, with eight children in attendance on a typical day. The business, tentatively named “Monkey Doo Daycare,” would be on the lower level of the house with a back entrance and operate from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.  She said the driveway can accommodate up to six cars at a time.

Extension of cellphone tower

Lincoln Erhard of Northern Pride Communications Inc. has proposed extending a telecommunications tower from 100 to 112 feet in height. The tower is located at 18 Rockport Park Center on a property owned by Charles and Joan Foote.

The project is expected to cost $52,000 and involves installing a new safety ladder on the additional 12 feet of the tower, as well as reattaching a lightning rod and applying a foundation coating.

The Planning Board meeting will be held Thursday, Jan. 23 at 5:30 p.m. at the Rockport Opera House.