standing Rhode Island State House

NEWPORT — The Newport Planning Board has scheduled a public hearing for next month on the proposed demolition of buildings on a city wharf where toxic chemicals have been found.

The owners of the Waites Wharf properties want to take down all the existing structures on the wharf, including a restaurant and a nightclub, to make way for a 150-room waterfront hotel.

The board scheduled the hearing this week after neighbors asked that it be postponed again until after the state Department of Environmental Management’s Office of Land Revitalization and Sustainable Materials Management recommends a remediation plan for the site, where contaminants including toxic chemicals have been found.

The Nov. 16 meeting will be virtual even though some neighbors had requested an in-person meeting.

“The toxic chemicals being studied for a remediation plan represent a serious risk to the health of Newport residents,” neighbor Charles Donahue said.

He said the chemicals are carcinogenic, and can be spread with storm water, affect area property values and pollute the harbor.

An attorney for the developer argues that the environmental remediation plan is separate from the demolition permit process.

— Associated Press

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