Posted: Jul 31, 2011, 5:24 PM
Old Fart Forumer
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Live in DC suburbs-Maryland
The review didn't go exactly as I'd hoped, but I think it will work out in the long run (from the Ithaca Journal):
City Planning and Development Board recommends new Elmira Road hotel
Fairfield Inn proposed for site next to Manos Diner
7:21 PM, Jul. 27, 2011
The city's Planning and Development Board has given a qualified recommendation to the proposed Fairfield Inn and Suites project, to be located adjacent to the Manos Diner site on Elmira Road.
The 106-room hotel will require both an area and use variance because part of the parcel extends from Spencer Road, which is zoned for residential development, to Elmira Road, which is zoned for commercial use. Representatives of the project said without government subsidies, it would not be possible to turn a profit by building residences at the site.
Although planning board members thought a rezoning might be more appropriate for the situation, given that a variance could create a precedent, they thought the project was a good one and recommended it Tuesday to the Board of Zoning Appeals, which will take up the project Aug. 7 and decide whether to issue a variance, according to Lisa Nicholas, a senior city planner.
The project will have facets that architect Larry Fabbroni hopes will mitigate its impact on the neighborhood, including a pedestrian walkway through the parking lot and a buffer zone of mature trees that would have a conservation easement.
"Our main intent was to protect the neighborhood," he said.
Fabbroni said the hotel would create jobs, and would increase traffic by less than 5 percent on a stretch of Elmira Road that is currently at less than half capacity.
Developer Alpesh Patel said the project could bring in around $1 million annual revenue for the city. He also said there is an urgency, as he has until next spring to break ground, or Marriot Hotels, from which he has licensed the Fairfield name, will instead award the contract to a project in Cortland.
The hotel would charge between $110 and $175 per night for a room, Patel said.
The lot is owned by Bill Manos, who has owned and operated Manos Diner for decades.
Several people spoke in favor of the project, including Ardell Allen Alling, a neighbor of the project, and Janis Kelly, who is running for mayor on the Republican ticket. Kelly said she supported the project for the jobs and revenue it would create.
The project was opposed by Susan Cummings, who said granting the project a variance would hurt the people who live in the Spencer Road neighborhood.
"There is a market for that area as it is currently zoned," she said. "Please do not take away housing opportunities ... people of modest means deserve the same protection of zoning that affluent people do."
Also at the meeting, the board granted final approval to Ithaca College's proposed new boathouse after the plan satisfied a number of different conditions.
When, oh when, will I hit the lottery?