WESTERLY — The Weekapaug Yacht Club plans to replace its decades-old clubhouse with a new one that meets current flood and building code standards.

The existing 3,100-square-foot clubhouse, at 25 Spray Rock Road, was built in 1955 after Hurricane Carol destroyed the predecessor building in 1954. Two additions were constructed in the 1960s, according to the club's lawyer, William Nardone, who discussed the proposed project with the Planning Board on Tuesday. The site has been used by the club since its establishment in 1893, according to an application filed with the Planning Board.

Situated on the south side of Quonochontaug Pond, the clubhouse will be replaced with a new one on the same footprint. The state Coastal Resources Management Council, in a preliminary determination, indicated that a new building would not be allowed on the site if there was not one present already but that it would consider allowing a replacement on the same footprint.

The pond is considered to be a "high value/high vulnerability habitat" by the state Department of Environmental Management and is within DEM's Onsite Wastewater Treatment System Priority Critical Resource Area. The project will also be subject to development guidance in CRMC's Salt Pond Special Area Management Plan.

The new building will be required to meet Federal Emergency Management Agency standards for flood protection, including elevation. The first floor of the existing building is at elevation 9.0, below the FEMA requirement of 14.0.

The current clubhouse will be razed and replaced with a new one that will include an elevator to meet federal Americans with Disabilities Act requirements. The existing septic system will be removed and replaced with a denitrification system, per DEM and CRMC requirements.

The municipal Architectural Review Board issued a favorable advisory opinion on the project plans to the Planning Board.

Planning Board member Richard Constantine recused from the discussion and vote on the plans. He is a member of the club's board of directors.

In the town's Open Space Recreation zone, the new building will require issuance of a special use permit by the Zoning Board of Review.

The club is a private organization open to long-term summer residents of Weekapaug, Shady Harbor, Haversham, Shelter Harbor and Quonochontaug, though membership is comprised of 70% Weekapaug residents, according to the application.

The board voted 6-0 to approve the plans following development plan review, and 6-0 to issue a favorable recommendation on the special use permit to the zoning board. Board members Justin Hopkins, Christopher Lawlor, Joseph M. Montesano, Andrew Delisio, Tabitha Harkin and Kevin Lowther voted.


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