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NEWPORT – Neighbors of The Breakers estate in Newport are suing to block a new welcome center that’s planned for the site of the mansion, The Associated Press reported last week.
The neighborhood association filed the lawsuit March 7 in Newport Superior Court against the Preservation Society of Newport County, which owns several mansions in this seaside tourist town, operating them as museums.
The 70-room Breakers, a national historic landmark, is its crown jewel and draws 400,000 visitors annually. The mansion was built in the Gilded Age by the Vanderbilts, then one of the nation’s most prominent and wealthy families.
The society is seeking to build the center on the 13-acre grounds of the mansion to provide visitors with services, including ticketing, accessible restrooms and prepared sandwiches.
The opposing group argues in its lawsuit that the plan violates a number of provisions of the city zoning ordinance, including because it is in a residential neighborhood and a museum and because it would house what the group says is a restaurant. •