The date and stage are set for continuing the public hearing into Beauport Gloucester LLC's hotel overlay proposal.
While the public speaking portion of the hearing has been closed, the head of the city's Planning Board says Gloucester residents and others can still be heard — by submitting their comments in writing.
Planning Board Chairman Rick Noonan said that, because of a variety of scheduling issues, the board was unable to convene a meeting this week. That means the continuation — for a third night — of his board and City Council Planning and Development subcommittee's hearing into the proposal for a hotel overlay zone covering portions of Commercial Street is now set for next Thursday, April 5, in City Hall's Kyrouz Auditorium.
That's where a packed house of more than 200 gathered to hear arguments and to be heard during the first leg of the hearing March 12, and then for a round of rebuttals from both sides on March 15 — with the two events covering some six hours of testimony overall.
Noonan said the April 5 hearing will not be a time for more speakers to approach the podium. The public comment portion of the hearing, he said, was closed at the end of the rebuttal session.
"Now, it is a matter of our deliberating — asking questions and getting answers," he said.
That doesn't mean that Gloucester residents and others don't still have input, he noted. Those seeking to comment may continue to do so through "the end of the hearing" by submitting their written comments through the city clerk's office.
Noonan acknowledged that even the April 5 continuation of the hearing may not bring the end of the boards' deliberations — or any decision.
"I think it's likely we may well go to the next meeting, which would be April 12," he said, though he cautioned that people should not assume that if they wish to submit comments.
"We have a lot of things to discuss," he said, "but you never know."
At issue is a 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 projected 102-room hotel.
The proposed overlay zone would not replace the Marine Industrial zone, which has long covered the entire Fort neighborbood, 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.