Opponents turned out to show discontent with plan, but public comment had closed on the development, which is called Belvedere at Thames.
BRISTOL, R.I. — After an hour-long discussion Thursday night, members of the Planning Board and Historic District Commission voted in favor of a $10-million plan for a new three-story building with 20 apartments and a restaurant on Thames Street.
The votes, taken separately at a joint meeting of the two boards, were not unanimous; the Planning Board vote was 3 to 1 in favor, while the Historic District Commission vote was 4 to 3.
Planning Board Chairman Jerome Squatrito voted in favor, along with Anthony D. Murgo and Armand Bilotti; Charles E. Millard Jr. was opposed.
For the HDC, Chairman Oryann Lima voted in favor, with John Allen, Victor Cabral and Sonney Furtado; opposed were Mary Millard, Chris Ponder and Gerald Walsh.
The Planning Board approved a version of the plan with a peaked roof, a change from its previous position — and a decision that was compatible with the plan favored by a majority of the HDC.
"We need to move forward," Bilotti said. "...Getting something done is the right thing for the town."
More than 30 people, including many opponents of the controversial development, called Belvedere at Thames, were in attendance, along with developer James Roiter, but since the public hearing portion of the proceedings had concluded in June, there was no opportunity for them to comment publicly.
But the audience applauded when Millard, the only Planning Board member who voted against the plan, called it an "abomination" that "makes a mockery" of the town's comprehensive plan.
Assistant Town Solicitor Andrew Teitz, who guided most of the procedural aspects of the discussion, said the approval would require that Roiter make a payment of $245,000 to the Town of Bristol before a building permit is issued. This payment is being made in lieu of building affordable housing onsite, and represents a payment of $47,000 per unit for the five affordable apartments that otherwise would be required.
One opponent, Marianne Bergenholtz, spoke up and asked the Planning Board to read the entire six-page approval decision into the record before the vote, a request that was denied by Squatrito. Bergenholtz said the members were "hiding something" if they failed to honor her request.
"I don't like your accusation, I'll just let you know straight up," Bilotti said.
After the meeting, Bergenholtz said she was disappointed that town officials, in her view, failed to follow the town's own rules in approving the development by granting 15 variances. "They should go by the bylaws," she said.