Reid & Hughes renovation plan wins zoning variance

Norwich — Plans by the Women’s Institute for Housing and Economic Development to renovate the Reid & Hughes building on Main Street took a small step forward Tuesday with approval of a zoning variance for first-floor apartments and retail uses.

Following a public hearing, the Zoning Board of Appeals voted 4-1 in favor of granting a variance allowing the residential space on the first floor to exceed the commercial space. As proposed, the institute’s plan calls for three apartments totaling 12,677 on the first floor, while proposed commercial space would total 1,000 square feet.

The City Council approved a development agreement with the Women’s Institute in August for a proposed $6 million to $7 million renovation of the building at 201 Main St. The agreement gave the group 90 days to secure the estimated $400,000 to $500,000 needed to shore up the building while pursuing financing for the renovation project.

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