Park­ing waiver ex­panded

Ho­tel mis­cal­cu­lated num­ber of park­ing spa­ces re­quired

Newark Post - - FRONT PAGE - By KARIE SIM­MONS ksim­mons@ches­pub.com

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.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

An artist’s ren­der­ing shows the five-story ho­tel planned for Ogle­town Road.

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