Tourister plan back after delay

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The American Tourister project is coming back before the town after a month-long delay caused by a “miscommunication.”

The Warren Zoning Board of Review will meet Tuesday, July 8, to consider several variance sought by Tourister Mill, LLC, which had originally been scheduled to be heard in late May. They include:

* A variance from dimensional requirements for construction in the waterfront zone.

* A variance is being sought to exempt the project from a section of the ordinance that prohibits nonconforming structures (like the mill) that lie in special flood hazard areas from being enlarged or expanded.

* Another variance would allow buildings to be set closer than 200 feet from a floodway (the Warren River).

* Developers are looking for a variance on the number of off street parking spaces. In all, zoning codes would require 892 parking spaces at the development; developers are looking to install 733 spaces.

* A variance is being sought for the ordinance’s parking lot requirements, which require one “island” for every eight parking spaces. The amount of parking lot to be landscaped is also at issue.

* Finally, the developers seek a reduction in the total number of loading spaces/docks required.

The project went before the board on Wednesday, May 21, for consideration of those variances and special use permits, all of which are needed before the project can continue on with preliminary and final approval before the Warren Planning Board. While the special use permits were granted, zoning board members were forced to delay discussion on the variances because the specific ones needed were worded improperly on a legal notice published prior to the meeting. Zoning board chairman Alden Harrington said “it was just a miscommunication” between the town and the developers’ engineers, he said.

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.