NEWPORT, R.I. (AP) — A plan to build a welcome center on the Rhode Island grounds of The Breakers, the historic Vanderbilt family mansion, has won a critical endorsement.

Newport zoning officials Monday endorsed the proposal that the Preservation Society of Newport County, which owns the national historic landmark, says would offer the mansion's 400,000 annual visitors better restrooms, ticketing and snacks.

Opponents say the center should be built across the street in a parking lot so the 13-acre estate is not irreparably damaged. But the Preservation Society says that plan is not workable.

The zoning board 4-1 vote overturns an earlier decision by the city's Historic District Commission, which rejected the plan. Once the board issues a certificate for the project, opponents could still appeal.


Shutterstock/Stephen B. Goodwin