BOONE — A new four-story, 105-room hotel at the corner of East King Street and Hillside Drive was approved 3-2 for conditional district rezoning by the Boone Town Council on Sept. 19.
Dan Norman of North Star Villages LLC applied for a conditional district zoning map amendment to construct a four-story, 107-room hotel on four parcels that were split-zoned B3 General Business and R3 Multi-Family Residential, and two properties that were wholly zoned R3 Multi-Family Residential.
With the approval, the six parcels are now zoned Conditional District B3 General Business. Council Members Loretta Clawson and Sam Furgiuele voted against the motion to approve the rezoning.
The approval comes after the Boone Board of Adjustment voted in April to deny the developer’s request for two variances from the Unified Development Ordinance’s setback and height standards for a proposed 45-foot-tall, four-story hotel. The April hearing drew a number of attendees from the adjacent neighborhood, many who expressed opposition to the project.
In early June, according to meeting materials, Norman applied for conditional district rezoning for the 85,237-square-foot hotel with no variances requested. The developer then held a community meeting on June 25 at the property to show an updated set of draft plans, to discuss and answer questions about the project and to explain how it differed from the application that was previously proposed to the board of adjustment. Nearby property owners were mailed notices of the meeting.
Although the developer did not request an exemption from the town’s UDO via the variance process, he did submit a parking demand analysis to request an adjustment from the town’s minimum parking requirement of 1.25 spaces per room. The developer planned to provide 110 parking spaces for the 107 hotel rooms and three for employees.
Under UDO Subsection 24.01.09, “minimums and maximums may be adjusted by the permit issuing authority when the applicant provides reliable and persuasive evidence (which may include but is not necessarily limited to a parking demand analysis prepared by a qualified engineer) demonstrating that the minimum parking required per the provisions of this article would result in excess and unnecessary parking for the development,” according to the staff report.
Following a public hearing, the Planning Commission discussed the request at an Aug. 29 meeting. Planning Commission members said it appeared that many of the residents were appreciative of adjustments the applicant had made.
One of the details of the new project includes a primary entrance and exit on the King Street frontage, and only a right-turn entrance into the parking lot on Hillside Drive — to discourage through-traffic into the adjacent neighborhood. The applicant also agreed to erect a sign stated “no through-traffic” onto Hillside Drive.
But some concerns remained among council members and commission members about the size of the project, parking and stormwater management.
The applicant agreed to a condition reducing the number of hotel rooms by two, to 105. A majority of council members agreed to approve the project with the 110 proposed parking spaces, but the developer agreed to secure offsite parking during peak weekends.