Urban Plan Ready for Public Scrutiny in Newport, Rhode Island

Newport, Rhode Island is undertaking a major planning initiative during the pandemic.

October 15, 2020, 6:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Newport Bridge

The ramps for the Claiborne Pell/Newport Bridge in Newport are being redesigned, freeing up land for development potential. | Olga Enger / Shutterstock

The city of Newport, Rhode Island has reached a significant benchmark with its North End Urban Plan, reports Sean Flynn, and has public hearings to discuss the plan scheduled for this month.

"NBBJ Inc., with offices in Boston, was hired in December 2019 to give the city a master plan in preparation for the development of the vacant Newport Grand site and the redesign of the Pell Bridge ramps that is expected to free up land for economic development," according to Flynn.

"NBBJ delivered two work products, the Urban Plan itself and a North End Character-Based Code, a series of zoning recommendations that were developed by its subcontractor, Code Studio, a national firm with headquarters in Austin, Texas," adds Flynn.

The public engagement process has been upended by the coronavirus pandemic (a public gathering planned for March or April was canceled), but the public has been encouraged to take an online survey to provide feedback to the city's Planning Board.

If the Planning Board approves the plan, the City Council would then undertake another round of review and public hearings. One organization, the Greening Urban Spaces Working Group of the Newport Health Equity Zone, has already criticized the plan for lack of public engagement.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020 in NewportRI.com

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