The New Albany Planning Commission on May 20 approved a conditional-use permit, final development plan and several variances for a Hampton Inn to be built on Woodcrest Way.

The New Albany Planning Commission on May 20 approved a conditional-use permit, final development plan and several variances for a Hampton Inn to be built on Woodcrest Way.

City Planner Steven Mayer said the property is zoned as an infill planned-unit development, which allows hotels as a conditional use but requires approval by the planning commission.

Commission members voted 3-0 in favor of the conditional use and final development plan, but split 2-1, with Jon Lucas dissenting, on the variances.

Neil Kirby and Ray Silverstein were absent from the meeting.

The five variances from city code are: to reduce the number of parking spaces from 124 to 115; to reduce the height of two loading spaces from 15 feet to 14 feet; to reduce the parking setback from Woodcrest Way from 20 feet to 10 feet; to increase the building height from 45 feet to 53.8 feet; and to eliminate the requirement for an operating front door.

Colleen Briscoe, New Albany City Council's liaison to the commission, said both she and Lucas questioned a 114-room hotel that has only 115 parking spaces.

City officials expect hotel construction to begin in a few months.

The city's first hotel, a Courtyard by Marriott, opened April 18 on Forest Drive.

In other business, the planning commission voted 3-0 to change the zoning of 43.1 acres, owned by the New Albany Co. north of state Route 161, between Harrison Road and Smith's Mill Loop, from agricultural to limited general employment.

Briscoe said several neighbors asked for screening and buffering from their homes.

Mayer said commission members requested the developer meet with neighbors to answer their questions as a condition of approval.