Developer Jim Manos said he expects to develop a revised plan after Delaware City Council on Aug. 13 rejected his proposal to build a 3-story hotel on West William Street that would incorporate a historic house.
With a 4-3 vote, council shot down three proposed ordinances: to rezone the site to planned mixed overlay district; to grant a conditional-use permit; and to approve a preliminary development plan.
Manos' initial plan called for a 3-story, 47-room addition to the Perkins house, built in 1880. The hotel, to be named the Wesleyan Inn, would've included 47 parking spaces.
The site is at 235 and 239 W. William St.; the latter is zoned residential and the former is zoned planned-office institutional.
A city staff report notes the planned-office institutional zoning at 235 W. William would allow a hotel without rezoning; a conditional-use permit would be required. Such a step would require a new application by the developer and review by the city planning commission and council.
The conditional-use ordinance rejected at the meeting would have affected both 235 and 239 W. William.
"We're not done yet," Manos said after the meeting, noting the zoning code would allow him to build a hotel 68 feet tall, "up to five stories."
Councilwoman Lisa Keller voted against the ordinances. Based on neighbors' objections to the plan, she said, the city lacks support to rezone the residential property.
After the vote, she said she is growing "increasingly uncomfortable" with the recent number of rezoning requests sought by developers.
"We have zoning for a reason and developers know what our regulations are when they purchase these pieces of property," she said. "If our zoning is no longer appropriate, I think we need to take a look at that in a comprehensive way."
City Planning Director David Efland said Manos could apply to use 239 W. William for parking without a rezoning. That would be permitted under a section of the zoning code that allows parking within 300 feet of a use, if the lot on which the use is proposed is too small to accommodate parking.
"It's out there and potentially possible," Efland said.
Before the vote, Mayor Carolyn Kay Riggle said that without rezoning, Manos "has every right" to tear down the old house at 235 W. William and build a 5-story hotel.
That would mean, she said, "We lose the Perkins building" -- the 19th-century house to which a 3-story hotel would have been attached under Manos' rejected plan.
During an earlier council meeting, one resident urged council to allow Manos to preserve the historic house.
Councilman Chris Jones also voted against the ordinances.
"I'm not falling for the 'poor Perkins house.' No one's ever talked about it until this came up. Now all of a sudden, 'Oh, it's such a tragedy that it's been in disrepair.' "
Jones said he objects not to the hotel but to rezoning residential land, which would set a precedent.
City Attorney Darren Shulman said he is less concerned about setting a precedent because rezoning is a "legislative decision. ... It's up to the decision of City Council based on the factors they are allowed to consider."
Efland agreed when Shulman asked him to comment, adding Manos "could exercise some ... other rights under the zoning code that may afford us less opportunity for control."
Council members Jim Browning and Kyle Rohrer also voted against the three ordinances. Browning said he agreed with Keller about the lack of neighbors' support for rezoning a residential property.
Councilman Kent Shafer said Manos' latest design plan "now minimizes" traffic concerns raised by neighbors.
Council needed "to consider the overall good and value to the city of having this project," Shafer said.