Hotel builder shares plans, renderings, answers to FAQs before workshop

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Those interested in the proposed hotel at 5810 Midnight Pass Rd. are invited to a community workshop at 6 p.m. on June 14 at St. Boniface Church, 5615 Midnight Pass Rd.

Dave Balot, the applicant, has released detailed plans and an artist’s renderings in advance of the gathering, as well as answers to questions he has often received. They are below.

Supplemental Questions & Answers

What has changed since the last Neighborhood Workshop?

Our prior plans had to be altered, as the County would not allow us to remove the grand oak tree in the front of the yard and mitigate for its removal.  As such, we had to “stub” up the project and add an additional floor of rooms.

How many rooms do you plan to have now?

Our current request is for approximately 112 rooms.  As we only have a conceptual plan, we do not yet know the layout of the individual rooms and how the supporting structure will layout but believe 112 will fit within the proposed conceptual plan. 

Does the room count differ from your initial plan and how does that compare to the other two proposed hotels?

We have always proposed doubling maximum hotel density from 26 rooms per acre to 52 rooms per acre.  We have not increased this request, even though the UDC provisions approved for the other hotels do not include any limit on density.  Our lot is approximately 2.15 acres, which, at 52 rooms per acre, would still equal the proposed 112 rooms. 

In comparison, the other two proposed hotels have approximately 170 rooms per acre (Village hotel) and approximately 100 rooms per acre (Southbridge District hotel).

How much additional height are you asking for, and how high is your proposed hotel after adding the additional level of rooms?

We are asking for an increase of 24’ in height over the allowed 35’.  That brings the total height of the building to 59’ from design flood elevation.  The height above grade is approximately 65’.  This equals 2 levels of in-structure parking and 4 levels of rooms, for a total of 6 floors, inclusive of the ground floor.

How does this height differ from the neighboring properties?

Although our parcel is located in a more intense zoning district, (commercial vs. residential), the surrounding properties are all zoned RMF-3.  RMF-3 zoning allows for 2 levels of in-structure parking (12’ each level) and 45’ above parking for a total of 69’ from grade, by right without a special exception. Although two of the neighboring properties currently have buildings which are taller than this, our proposed hotel would be shorter than what is allowed by right on the neighboring properties.

What will your setbacks be from the neighboring properties?

Although the County and the current code has been interpreted to allow for a 20’ setback, we have decided to increase the setback 1’ for every 4’ of height over 35’.  This equates to an additional 6’ setback beginning on level 4 and extending through level 6.  We also decided to apply the additional setback to all levels, instead of staggering.  (Please note, that this additional setback comes with an added cost to the construction of the building as a cast in place transfer slab will now be needed to support the setback.)

Why are you no longer asking for a Comprehensive Plan Amendment along with your Special Exception for use and height?

In discussions with the County, which are based upon the recent change to the UDC and the pending lawsuits surrounding that change, it was decided that no additional amendments to the Comprehensive Plan could be supported by the County until the pending lawsuits are resolved. 

What are your plans if the Special Exception is granted?  What are you plans if a Comprehensive Plan Amendment is needed, post outcome of the two cases being litigated?

If our Special Exception is granted, our current intent is to sit the sidelines and wait for the resolution of the lawsuits, which will determine if a Comprehensive Plan Amendment may be needed.  If one is needed, we intent to proceed with our previously filed Comprehensive Plan Amendment that doubles the existing density for hotel/motel usage.

Siesta Sand
Author: Siesta Sand

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