Newport City Council halts development in city's North End
By: Brittany Comak
NEWPORT, R.I. (WLNE) - There will be no more development in the North End of Newport - for now.
This after the city council voted Wednesday night on a moratorium on development so they can update the city's zoning code for what is planned to be in that area.
The moratorium will last for the next six months. The vote passed 5-2 with councilors stressing they are not anti-business, but want more time to update the code.
Some people spoke on either side of the issue during public comment, ahead of the vote.
"A 6 month moratorium, in all practicality, will only delay the process of reviewing large scale projects," said Erin Donovan-Boyle of the Newport Chamber of Commerce.
"This isn't about the Carpionato project," said one man for the moratorium. "It's not about any of these projects. It's about doing what's right for the city and attracting the right type of development at a time of great uncertainty."
The Carpionato project, also known as Newport's North End on the site of the old Newport Grand is just one of the projects in the innovation district planned for the future.
But city councilors ultimately voted on a moratorium for this development and others in the district, saying they need to update the code for such projects to move forward, to reflect mixed use zoning.
"I don't think there's anybody on this dais who is anti business," said City Councilor Justin McLaughlin.
City Councilor Lynn Ceglie has been vehemently against the moratorium, saying it will keep investors from coming into the city.
She also made the point that the council has had plenty of time to change the zoning code in the past.
"Why we can't we do all of it without putting a strangle hold on Newport's ability to bring in investors? I just don't understand why we have to do this!" she said.
Some councilors did say they would not be open to extending the moratorium.
A representative with the Carpionato project was at the meeting, but declined to comment.