Continental Real Estate was largely successful in gaining Northland Community Council development committee approval of several variances the company wants in order to build a hotel and restaurant complex at 3038 Morse Road.

The panel did not approve a variance to do away with space that city code requires be set aside for loading.

Committee Chairman Dave Paul said the group voted 14-0 with one abstention June 28 not to support that request.

"They were asking to get out from that requirement entirely and our committee really didn't think that was a good idea," Paul said. "We were trying to figure out where they were going to put a truck when making deliveries to this facility.

"We think that probably the city will support that position."

Attorney Michael T. Shannon, representing Continental, noted in a written "statement of support" that city code calls for two loading spaces for hotel buildings larger than 50,000 square feet.

In addition to a restaurant, the proposed development would include two hotels, which between them would have more than 50,000 square feet, according to Shannon.

Continental is seeking a variance "to reduce the minimum loading space requirements from two to zero," Shannon concluded.

The vote on another variance to reduce the number of parking spaces for the hotels and restaurant was close, but went in favor of the applicant, according to Paul.

"The site requires a minimum of 419 parking spaces," according to a report submitted at the development committee session. Continental proposes to provide a minimum of 370 parking spaces across the three parcels.

The vote to recommend approval of that reduction was 8-6 in favor, with one abstention, Paul said.

"They're trying to put a whole of stuff onto this parcel," Paul said. "At least one member was concerned they just simply weren't going to have enough parking. There was concern that they're really trying to cram a lot onto this site without adequate parking or any arrangement for overflow parking.

"The motion was approved ... but it was awful tight."

The other variances were for more minor matters and were approved without much dissent, Paul indicated.

The panel also heard one other variance request, to allow a changeable gas-price sign for a gas station at 5346 Sinclair Road. That was approved by a 14-0 vote with one abstention, but Paul said committee members added several conditions, including one requiring the applicant to "expeditiously remove" the existing manual changeable copy sign.

"Again, at its heart, it is a pretty basic application," Paul said. "They need a gas-pricing sign and that's what they're asking for ... as opposed to the antique manual one out in front of the property."