Hotel plans unveiled

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As part of the proposal, president of Opechee Construction, Mark Wolgom, said the plan was for the former Village Country Inn to be demolished, The new building would be constructed on its current site and the adjacent land known as the Nickelwhite property.

The proposal, submitted by Manchester Hotel Associates, LLC, indicates that there will be 89 parking spaces - one space per guest room and one space for each employee, of which it is expected there will be five during the largest shift, as well as a few extra, according to the plans.

In order to construct the building to the desired scale, Manchester Hotel Associates will be seeking variances for the setback on the front of the building, total coverage, the height of the building, the number of stories and the minimum open and green space.

According to the Village's bylaws, the required setback the company would have to meet is 75 feet. However, the company is asking for a setback of 17 feet - the same as the Village Country Inn. A difference between the two structures though, is that the length of the Village Country Inn is 90 feet and the proposed Hampton Inn building would be 185 feet long.

The height of the building is another potential hurdle that the company would have to overcome. According to the Village's bylaws, the maximum building height is 35 feet. Manchester Hotel Associates is seeking a variance for 42 feet for the average height of the building and according to Wolgom the highest point - or the total height of the ridge - would be around 48 or 49 feet.

The proposed height of the building triggered a response from architect Ramsay Gourd, who was attending the meeting on other business unrelated to the proposed hotel.

"Just for clarification for everyone's purposes, we're talking about adding almost another 20 feet to the ridge. I mean this is a big building," Gourd said.

The number of stories is another potential issue for the company. The Village bylaws limit construction to two and a half stories and Manchester Hotel Associates is looking to construct a three story hotel.

In addition, the bylaws stipulate that only 20 percent is allowed for total coverage and the maximum open and green space allowed is 30 percent, both of which Manchester Hotel Associates is looking to exceed.

The design of the building was another important aspect of the proposed project. Wolgom said they had to go through a very difficult process with Hilton Hotels - the chain to which Hampton Inn belongs - in order for them to consider a different design other than their typical style.

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"Hilton wants you to build their stucco, flat roof, looks good in Arizona building and they've actually gotten themselves on a program to really enforce that much more than they have in the past," said Wolgom. "None the less, we explained to them that in order to build this building here this is going to have to be something that is going to be amenable to the community from an aesthetics and operational standpoint. So, the building that we've proposed is an L shaped building. The front of the building is basically in line with the Village Country Inn."

One of the problems some members of the board had with the proposed building was the port-cochere - which is a porch-like structure at a main or secondary entrance that is large enough to accomodate cars to protect people from weather.

"The port-cochere looks very commercial to me; unaesthetic. It seems that it should be lower or maybe less port-cochere," said design review board chair Gail Brodie.

Wolgom said the structure was there to protect people from weather while they were loading or unloading their cars. The board made suggestions of either moving it to the back of the building or eliminating it altogether.

The plan for the hotel also indicates that six overhead untility lines will be buried underground and two utility poles will be taken down. A light post is expected to be removed as well, according to the plans.

In addition to some of the utilities, the existing pool and tennis court will be removed. An oil tank and some trees are also expected to be removed, based on the plan.

The Village Country Inn was first opened as Orchard Park Hotel 1907. In 1919 James and Julia Brown bought the hotel and changed the name to the Worthy Inn.

The Browns sold the inn to Waltdorf Inc. in April of 1945. In 1955 Waltdorf Inc. sold the property to Snow Valley Inc. who sold it on the same day to Paul Kollsman. Ten years later, Kollsman sold the Inn to Fred and Mary Colclough. They, in turn, sold it to Austin and Elizabeth Fox in October of 1968.

The Foxs sold the inn in April of 1980 to Barbara Mouat. Then in 1986 Ann and Jay Degen purchased the property under the name of Mountain Greenery Inc. and changed the name to the Village Country Inn. The building stayed in their possession until it went into foreclosure in August of 2009. The property is currently owned by Bay View Loan Servicing LLC.

Manchester Hotel Associates, LLC will go before the Manchester Village Development Review Board on Wednesday, July 6, at 7 p.m.


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