Parking waiver expanded
Hotel miscalculated number of parking spaces required
The development team planning a hotel and restaurant at the corner of Ogletown Road and Library Avenue accidentally miscalculated the amount of parking required for the project, prompting the developer to return to the Board of Adjustment last week to request relief for the additional spaces.
On May 18, board members unanimously agreed to expand the previous parking variance they granted George Danneman of Danneman Hospitality, LLC, last year for his five-story Marriott SpringHill Suites hotel with 125 rooms, an indoor pool, fitness center, market, business library and standalone restaurant, which is now in the early stages of construction. Seven spaces were added, bringing the total number of parking spaces in the variance to 43.
Robert Kessler, a lawyer representing the project, explained that Danneman’s development team mistakenly believed the seven tworoom suites in the hotel only required one parking space each, but Newark’s code actually states that one parking space is needed for each of the two rooms.
The hotel has to have at least one off-street parking space for each guest room, one off-street space per employee and one off-street space for each restaurant employee on shift, as well as enough parking spots for customers.
“The error was pointed out by the city during the building permit review process,” Kessler said.
In March 2016, the Board of Adjustment granted Danneman a 36-space parking variance because he said he didn’t have enough room for all of the parking on the 2.3-acre property where the hotel was slated to be built. He added a fifth floor to reduce the hotel’s footprint and put in covered parking on the first floor to create additional spots, but it still wasn’t enough.
City council approved the project in May 2016 and since then, crews have demolished the Newark Toyota World building that was on the property and started digging the foundation for the hotel.
Kessler told the Board of Adjustment last week that Danneman secured a lease with the neighboring Aetna Hose, Hook and Ladder Company fire station for 16 parking spaces to be used by hotel and restaurant employees. He said Aetna is willing to expand that lease to include the seven additional spaces for the tworoom suites, but the idea is that employees will park there first and then guests if the hotel is at capacity.
Resident Jean White questioned how the situation came about and thought it was odd no one realized the mistake during the year since the project was approved.
“The suites were already planned, so I’m just saying it seems to me, over the several-month period, there would have been time to discover this,” White said.
Kessler admitted it was just simply a mistake brought to Danneman’s attention by city’s code enforcement.
Board members Kevin Hudson and Bill Moore Jr. agreed the error could have been easily avoided, but they appreciated that Danneman had remedied the situation through the lease with Aetna before returning to the board.
“You attempted to solve the problem, and I think you did a great job of doing that,” Moore said.
“I see this as an excellent solution to an annoying problem,” added board member Jim McKelvey.
The hotel is expected to open in spring 2018.
An artist’s rendering shows the five-story hotel planned for Ogletown Road.