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October 15, 2012

Back Shore overlay bid scaled back

The attorney representing two hotels on Gloucester’s Back Shore has agreed to reduce the number of guest units the owners would be able to add as a matter of right in his proposal for a hotel overlay district.

Under the revised proposal for an Atlantic Road hotel overlay district, the Atlantis Motor Inn and the Bass Rocks Ocean Inn would only be allowed a 10-guest unit expansion before they would have to seek a City Council Special Permit.

That’s different from the 30 percent matter-of-right expansion Attorney Michael Faherty proposed in his initial submission. The 30 percent expansion provision would have allowed Bass Rocks to grow from 54 to 70 rooms, while the Atlantis, which now has 40 rooms, could have gone to 53.

The 10-unit proposal is one of several changes that Faherty made to his overlay proposal since it left the Planning Board’s review to seek City Council approval.

“We’ve made concessions,” he said.

The 10 units, he said, would allow both Bass Rocks and Atlantis to add a third floor, said Faherty, and would give owners more certainty for pursuing such projects in their efforts to remain competitive in the growing local tourism market.

“We’re looking for a degree of certainty with respect to the project, so that if the applicant, the owner puts out a fair amount of money in design and all the soft costs, that they know there’s an envelope that they can build as of right,” Faherty said.

The overlay proposes a minimum lot are of 40,000 square feet, 750 square feet of lot per guest unit, 200 square feet of open space per guest unit. A 30 foot minimum front yard, 20 foot minimum side yards, and 30 foot minimum rear yard. The hotels can only reach 30 feet in height.

The owners can decided to put in a contiguous 10,000 square feet of open space in the front of the property rather than the 200 square feet per guest unit.

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