Letter: Proposed Gateway building would not be welcoming

Posted 12/2/21

To the editor:On the subject of the Gateway property and the proposal for a 55-foot high “boutique hotel”, I agree whole-heartedly with Andrew Shapiro's letter of Nov. 17, 2021 that a …

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Letter: Proposed Gateway building would not be welcoming

Posted

To the editor:

On the subject of the Gateway property and the proposal for a 55-foot high “boutique hotel”, I agree whole-heartedly with Andrew Shapiro's letter of Nov. 17, 2021 that a building of such mass and height on the waterfront would be anything but welcoming.

The depiction of the hotel on the front page of the Times does not do justice to the mass of the building in the conceptual drawing in the article. The Welcome Center, the supposed attraction of the site, would be dwarfed by that seems to be nothing more than an extension of the Tourister building. The emphasis will be on the money maker, the hotel/brewery/restaurant, etc. etc.

And what of the financials? Will this project become another 38 Studios? I'm glad that Bob Rulli is watching out for the Town's best interests.

There is another, larger issue here, and it is how do the citizens of Warren want to see their waterfront develop? Should our waterfront from the bridge to the beach to be a mass of Tourister-height buildings because businesses of a lesser height supposedly can't be financially viable?

Warren's Zoning ordinance limits the construction height of buildings to 35 feet high. In the last two years, the architect for this Gateway project, Paul Attemann, a former Zoning Board chairman, has designed three buildings for the waterfront — two near the beach, and this one near the bridge. All three buildings proposed to be 55 feet high.

If one or two or three buildings of that height are approved for the waterfront, then who will dare to refuse the next developer who wants a building of the same height? The precedent will be set. If this prospect disturbs you, the time to stop the 55-foot high buildings is with the first one.

The Planning Board is currently updating the Town's Comprehensive Plan. It is supposed to be created with input from the citizens of Warren as to how the Town should develop. If you are concerned about what is happening on the Waterfront from the bridge to the beach, or land use anywhere in town, then I would urge you to make your feelings known to the Town Council members, the Town Manager and, perhaps most importantly, to the Planning Board.

The policies and actions in the Comprehensive Plan will become the basis for a rewrite of the specifics in the Zoning Ordinance and how Warren will develop going forward. So speak up, get involved, make your ideas, likes and dislikes, known. You have an opportunity to have some say over how our Town will look and function in the future.

Jane MacDougall
500 Water St.
Warren
Jane MacDougall is a former member of the Warren Planning Board member

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