It's on to Round Four.
The Planning Board once again continued its review of Beauport Gloucester LLC's proposal for a hotel overlay district to a new round of discussion now set for this Thursday night.
And Chairman Richard Noonan said the board would develop its recommendation to City Council regarding the overlay at that meeting.
Still on the table is the proposed hotel overlay zone that would cover an area from 33 Commercial St. — the so-called Chamber of Commerce building, owned by local developer Mac Bell — through the 61 Commercial St. address at the end of the former Birdseye property.
The Birdseye site is where Beauport Gloucester LLC, the company headed by Jim Davis of New Balance athletic apparel and Sheree DeLorenzo of Cruiseport Gloucester, are seeking to build a beachfront hotel.
Board members focused on issues of appropriateness, dimensions and the presence of 33 Commercial St. in the company's overlay on Thursday.
"It was agreed that it (the overlay) may be an appropriate use, but until we see a project at the City Council level we don't have anything to talk about," Noonan said.
At last week's review, Noonan said, Beauport Gloucester LLC made changes to the dimensional requirements of the overlay district.
The limited liability company, he said, increased setbacks and raised the minimum square footage from 40,000 square feet to 60,000 square feet.
Noonan said the company also adjusted the height requirements. The proposal initially asked for a 75-foot height requirement. Beauport, he said, has reduced that to 40 feet, and will apply for height variances at the special permit level if the proposal is approved.
Beauport also separated out the Birdseye tower — which the company said it would like to incorporate into the hotel design — from the initial height of the building. The current Birdseye tower rises roughly 75 feet.
Noonan said the board would leave questions of appropriate use to the project review stage, rather than the overlay proposal. When Planning Board members see a plan, he said, they'll know whether it's appropriate for the area or not. City Planning Director Gregg Cadematori stated, in a memorandum to the board, that the site, if it's going to be used for a hotel, have appropriate setbacks from existing marine industrial uses.
"With the overlay district proposed between two concentrations of residential use and immediately across Commercial Street from active industrial use, setbacks would increase the separation of these diverse uses and provide opportunity for buffering," Cadematori stated.
Planning Board members, Noonan said, had concerns about the inclusion of 33 Commercial St. in the overlay. John Cunningham, the attorney for Beauport's proposal, said the company would be open to including just the parking lot of 33 Commercial in the overlay.
The proposed overlay zone would not replace the marine industrial zone, which has long covered the entire Fort neighborhood, with the Fort's residences allowed as a non-conforming use. It would, however, open the door to a hotel and related amenities such as restaurants and a conference center by "overlaying" the added uses on top of those allowed under the marine industrial designation.
Steven Fletcher may be contacted at 1-978-283-7000 x3455, or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @stevengdt.