Northland News

NCC development committee

Revamped rezoning for Morse Road hotel gets nod

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Northland Community Council development committee members last week unanimously recommended that city officials approve a proposed hotel on 13.5 acres at 4042 Morse Road.

The vote came a month after the advisory panel unanimously recommended rejection of a rezoning application for the same piece of land when the plans included a storage operation on the same site.

Removing the storage-business component did the trick in the minds of committee members, said Chairman Dave Paul.

Under the earlier proposal, presented June 26 by Jeffrey L. Brown of Smith and Hale on behalf of the Ellis Co. Ltd., the rezoning request would have been for a light manufacturing designation, which would have permitted both a 124-room hotel and a storage operation, with both indoor and outdoor aspects.

When Brown returned last week, the storage plans were gone and the rezoning request was for a limited commercial designation.

"Basically, the committee members felt, whether it was from default or otherwise, everything we were concerned about was no longer part of this application," Paul said.

Although Mike Innes, a resident of the adjacent Strawberry Farms subdivision, expressed concerns about locating a hotel so close to his neighborhood, Paul said development committee members viewed the existing 90-foot wooded buffer from the closest home to the northwest of the property as "adequate screening."

"Our cookouts can be seen from the hotel," Innes protested at the June 26 meeting.

In addition to asking for zoning that's less intense than limited manufacturing, Paul said the proposal presented to the committee last week also cut out some of the uses allowed under limited commercial zoning.

These included halfway houses, animal shelters and all automotive-related activities, he said.

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