Blount Boats gets Warren OK for large tent

Workers well the steel structure of a ferry boat being built at Blount Boats on the Water Street waterfront. The firm wants to expand its Warren operation. Workers well the steel structure of a ferry boat being built at Blount Boats on the Water Street waterfront. The firm wants to expand its Warren operation.

Workers well the steel structure of a ferry boat being built at Blount Boats on the Water Street waterfront. The firm wants to expand its Warren operation.

Workers well the steel structure of a ferry boat being built at Blount Boats on the Water Street waterfront. The firm wants to expand its Warren operation.

A plan to build a 45-foot-tall tent on the Warren River waterfront has gotten town approval and now moves on to the state. But it likely won’t be the last building to spring up at Blount Boats.

At its most recent meeting, the Warren Zoning Board unanimously approved a height variance and special use permit which will allow Blount to build the large tent structure on its boat-launching ways at the river’s edge. Blount officials need the structure to comply with federal regulations while they finish and paint boat superstructures just prior to launching. The plan now moves on to the state Coastal Resources Management Council for review.

“We are just about ready to apply to CRMC,” said Blount Boats’ Marcia Blount. “We’re very excited.”

The tent will rise 10 feet above Warren’s maximum allowed building height, but it won’t even be the tallest at Blount’s sprawling plant. There is already a 47-foot-tall building there.

It also likely won’t be the last building to rise at the complex. Blount officials plan to resurrect a plan, dismissed late last year, to build a new fabrication building along Water Street. The building was part of a plan previously submitted to the town which was then withdrawn in favor of a single tent.

“Originally we had both, a tent and the building,” she said, but the new building, which according to plans would have been a nondescript metal structure, didn’t go over well with some.

“We had something that we really hadn’t thought through,” she said. “When we realized the questions we were getting from (Warren’s) historic board, about what it looked like, we decided to drop that and go ahead with just the tent.

Now that the tent structure is moving forward, Blount has the time and flexibility to take a closer look at the proposed building and “do it right,” she said.

“We certainly need something functional, but in terms of windows and bringing light in, the building could be much more interesting than just a big box,” she said. “Now we can get an architect and do it right, go to work on a really iconic structure.”

Ms. Blount said she hopes the tent structure can be assembled by the summer.

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