GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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March 9, 2013

Hotel OK'd by Council panel

Gloucester’s Fort neighborhood is one step closer to becoming home to a new waterfront hotel after a City Council subcommittee voted late Thursday night to support all of the required special permits for the project.

The City Council’s Planning and Development subcommittee’s unanimous 3-0 decisions on each account means the subcommittee, headed by councilor-at-large and former four-term Mayor Bruce Tobey, formally recommends the full council to approve each permit necessary for Cruiseport Gloucester’s Sheree DeLorenzo and New Balance owner Jim Davis — organized as Beauport Gloucester LLC -- to build the 101-room hotel on Pavilion Beach.

“...The adverse effects of the proposed use will not outweigh the benefits of its proposed impact to the city and the Fort neighborhood...,” said subcommittee member Jackie Hardy, who also serves as City Council president.

“There is a demand for a year-round hotel in Gloucester,” Hardy added.

The recommendation means that the full council could cast a final vote Tuesday after that night’s pubic hearing on whether or not to approve the special permits needed for the project. Those include motions for a lowlands permit, a beach deed, a special height permit, and a parking permit, generator noise plans, traffic plans and lighting — all of which the Planning and Development panel Thursday night recommended for approval.

Beauport Gloucester LLC does face some requirements and constraints still. In order to obtain the subcommittees blessing for the special height permit, Beauport erected metal staging to demonstrate the height of the proposed hotel. Tobey has asked that Beauport leave the staging up through Tuesday’s hearing.

The city will also require the hotel to hire a full-time staff member to work as a liaison to the city.

Because the Fort area is zoned as a marine industrial section of the city, rather than purely residential, the sound maximum is 70 decibels, rather than the 55 decibel maximum for residential neighborhoods, a “large difference,” according to building inspector Bill Sanborn. Beauport builders must take extra precautions to diffuse the noise of a loud generator and purchase to sound measuring tools, one for themselves and one for the city.

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