Tourister project hits minor delay

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The American Tourister redevelopment project passed a hurdle recently but will end up being delayed on another front.

The project went before the Warren Zoning Board on Wednesday, May 21, for consideration of several 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 the board will reconvene later this month and hold a special meeting on the matter.

“It was just a miscommunication” between the town and the developers’ engineers, he said.

The plan for the old mill deviates from Warren zoning ordinances in six areas, and developers are looking for the following:

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

n 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.

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

n 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.

n 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.

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

Apart from planning and zoning review, the project also needs approvals from the state DEM and CRMC. It earned planning board Master Plan approval earlier this spring.

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