Village DRB raises concerns

MANCHESTER VILLAGE - The Manchester Village DRB recessed the hearing regarding the Village Country Inn application until Sept. 16 at 7:15 p.m. The decision came after hearing responses from the applicants to questions from the board, and the applicants subsequently altered their plans to meet the suggestions from the board.

Orland Campbell raised concern that the five cottages did not have enough space between them to fit into the aesthetics of the Village.

He pointed out that the distances between the five buildings were 15, 14, 16, and 20 feet.

"If you look in Manchester Village... none of the houses are quite as compact [as the cottages]," Campbell said.

In addition to concerns about the spacing between the cottages, Orland said that he thought the mass of the inn was "not quite in keeping with the look of the streetscape."

"The current building is pretty large," he said. "This is much larger."

Two members of the applying party were able to give the exact numbers regarding the frontage of the building.

The existing, three story building, has 120 feet of building as part of the street view and takes up 51 percent of the frontage; the new building would be 162 feet, 42 feet longer, but would only take up 33 percent of the frontage.

However, the board was not satisfied with the building taking up less frontage despite being larger.

"You're talking scale of that building size to the lot size," said board chair Barry Brown. "Someone driving down that road isn't going to know what the lot size is. They're going to see the building size and they're going to see the size of other structures that are in the neighborhood. So, do we ignore the relationship of the size of that building to the other buildings in the neighborhood because it's smaller in scale?"

The board then moved onto issues that they had with the parking, specifically what would happen if people who are not staying in the hotel decide that they want to come there to eat dinner.

The proposed plan would have 64 parking spaces across the street in the former tennis court lot, and 44 in back of the hotel, for a total of 108 spaces. The bylaws require that there be one space for each room, 85, and one for each employee at its peak shift, 23. This totals 108, the amount of spaces they proposed.

Clark French, of the applying party, explained that the national average of patrons of a hotel eating establishment that are not already staying at the hotel, at any given time, is 15 percent of the seats.

"Just for math purposes let's say it's 20 percent, a little higher," said French. "Twenty percent of 75 seats is 15 seats. If we were a restaurant, we are required to have one space per three seats. If at any given time if not one person in the hotel went out to eat at another restaurant, which is inconceivable, but let's assume they didn't, and 15 people from the outside came to the hotel, we would be required to have five additional spaces. We feel very comfortable that we have enough spaces at 108... If you say to us as a condition to approve, 'we'd like you to have a few more spaces,' that is something that we can consider."

Another issue that was brought up by the board, which has been brought up in previous meetings, was the potential safety of having the parking lot across the street.

"The operator has to cross the street regardless," said Joe Giolito of the DRB, regarding how if the parking is valet there will still need to be a person who has to walk back to the hotel, across the street, after the car is parked.

The applicants also responded to concerns that there would be a large parking lot visible from the street, and how that does not fit in the aesthetics of the Village.

Keith Wagner, the landscape artist for the application, assured the board that there will be year-round screening from the street similar to how the Orvis parking lot is screened, so that it will not be seen from the road.

The board then heard comments from interested parties. Anne Forester, adjoining property owner to the north of the proposed hotel, spoke with concerns about storm water drainage.

Ellis Speath, engineer on the application, explained that storm water will head down towards her property, but will then turn and flow in the direction of 7A before it even reaches her property.

She also questioned if the pool will be enclosed, and the amount of noise that would be coming from it. The applicants responded that it is a small pool, closer to the size of a lap pool, and while it is not enclosed they will enforce the noise ordinances of the Village.

After a ten minute deliberation by the applicants, they offered to present to the board changes to the application in order to meet some of their concerns.

Peter Niemitz, one of the members of the team seeking approval of the application, then went up to the renderings beside the board and augmented the drawings while explaining their changes.

They proposed to eliminate cottage No. 2, and then add a 15-by-20 foot extension, in an L shape, onto the rear. They also proposed to eliminate cottage No. 4.

In regards to the concerns about the mass of the building and its frontage, they also proposed to remove 12.5 feet off the southern part of the front of the building. This would remove two rooms and shift the patio and terrace accordingly. It would bring the frontage of the building from 162 feet to 150.

After hearing all of the proposed changes, the board moved to recess until Sept. 16, in order to have time to review the new application and drawings and give a chance for the public to comment on any of the new changes. However, they recessed with the intention to close the hearing at that next meeting.


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