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Newport City Stables Building May Have New Use; City May Drop Fees for Board of Adjustment

The historic city stables building in Newport could soon be home to a medical and dental clinic.

The city commission met Monday night to discuss a zoning change. Its members listened to a first reading of the legislation which could be approved on April 8.

The change would be from light industrial use to medium density residential, allowing the medical and dental clinic to move forward.

Commissioners discussed removing a $500 fee to make an appeal to the Board of Adjustments.

According to City Attorney Daniel Braun, the fee could be seen as “a burden to the due process.”

Commissioner Frank Peluso had concerns that without the fee, the city could be responsible to pay the board of adjustment members for additional meetings to hear appeals. Currently, the board meets once a month at the cost of $500 or $100 per board member.

“I understand the concern for due process, but we also have to be fiscally responsible,” Commissioner Peluso said.

City Administrator Tom Fromme suggested that the commission consider doing away with the appeal fee and add fees to the application process. He said there could be a fee of $50 for smaller projects and a $500 for larger projects.

“A smaller fee might have merit,” Commissioner Beth Fennell said. “We won’t know until we try it. We can just move forward with what we have and if there is a flood of appeals, look at this again down the road.”

A vote on the first reading was positive, with four commissioners in favor and one opposing. Frank Peluso voted against it, while Fennell and commissioners Ken Rechtin and Tom Guidugli voted in favor along with Mayor Jerry Peluso.

Newport city commissioners also listened to the first reading of an amendment of an ordinance regulating cellular antenna and small cell towers.

The amendment clarifies the process for small tower placement, where they can be located, how they are designed, and criteria to be placed in commercial, industrial and residential areas.

The amendment encourage co-locations, as well.

Written by Melissa Reinert, RCN Contributor

Photo: Monmouth Street in Newport (RCN file)