Plans Move Forward For Two New Local Hotels
May 2, 2018
The two US-31 hotel development projects previously reported by The Ticker are getting closer to breaking ground.
At an East Bay Township Planning Commission meeting earlier this month, commissioners voted to approve a site plan review for a project that would put two new hotels and one single-story retail/restaurant building on US-31, just east of Four Mile Road. At the same meeting, commissioners voted to postpone the site plan review for another new US-31 hotel, this one on the lot located between Hampton Inn and the Traverse City State Park Campground.
The first development, spearheaded by Stellar Hospitality Traverse City, LLC, demanded both a standard site plan review and a special land use permit review. The special land use permit is for the one-story retail building, which would feature a drive-through. Andrew Andre, the civil engineer for the project, was present at the Planning Commission meeting to explain the details of the project. Specific plans include three driveways (two on US-31 and one on Four Mile), pedestrian walkways, and a connection to the adjacent TART Trail. The hotels themselves are intended for extended-stay visitors, with all rooms incorporating attached kitchenettes.
Andre told commissioners that Stellar Hospitality had also been working with the Department of Environmental Quality to devise a strategy for storm water management. The project will require the rerouting of the nearby Baker Creek, an issue that multiple residents expressed concern about during public comment. The commission ultimately voted to approve both the site plan review and the special land use permit, under the condition that Stellar Hospitality wait to move the stream “until all state and local permits are in place allowing for the lawful movement of the channel.”
The second development, spearheaded by East Bay One LLC, only required a standard site plan review. Doug Mansfield of Mansfield Land Use Consultants was on hand at the meeting to represent the applicant. As planned, the hotel would sit approximately 240 feet back from US-31. Commissioners have expressed concern about this distance, as other buildings along the US-31 corridor have an average setback of just 35 feet. Mansfield argued that putting the hotel toward the back of the lot would reduce noise and vibration in the building and prevent the seven-story structure from casting a shadow on the road.
Beyond the setback issue, there were several unanswered questions about the East Bay One property, including locations for an external storage building and a driveway. One driveway location has been selected and the applicant is currently working with the Metro Fire Department to choose a second. Mansfield has also been asked to provide the board with several photoshopped visuals that will show the building at various distances from the road. The site plan review will likely be revisited when the East Bay Township planning commission reconvenes on May 1.