WALLINGFORD — The developer of a hotel on Route 68 has removed an attached restaurant from the plans in order to bring the proposal into compliance with local zoning regulations.
John Schmitz, BL Cos. project manager, is seeking a permit from the Planning and Zoning Commission for Shield Hotels to develop the 6.5-acre property at 1175 Barnes Road (Route 68).
Schmitz also met with the Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission on April 3 to review changes to the proposed site plan.
The IWWC approved a special permit application in December 2018 for a four-story hotel with 120 rooms. Under that plan, the building would have been 63,622 square feet and the attached restaurant would have 6,975 square feet.
The old plan with the restaurant had needed a special permit from IWWC based on anticipated traffic generated by the business, Town Planner Kacie Hand said, adding that under the new plan, no special permit on trip generation was needed.
Schmitz said the restaurant was removed because under I-5 District zoning regulations, restaurants have to be within the hotel entirely and not a separate building.
Shield Hotels, a Northampton, Massachusetts-based hotel development and management company, chose to eliminate the restaurant as well as approximately 90 parking spaces, Schmitz said. That reduced the impervious area from 119,000 square feet to 80,001 square feet, about a 30 percent reduction.
The hotel has been enlarged slightly, to 65,424 square feet, according to the new site plan.
The commission approved a modification to the permit, with the same conditions in the original permit carried over, and an additional condition that wetlands placards be placed on the property.
The Planning and Zoning Commission discussed, but did not take action on, the revised plan April 8. Since the hotel hadn’t sought PZC approval, a new site plan application for hotel use was presented.
Hand said one issue that needs to be addressed is easements and whether the property’s shared driveway with the nearby Hilton Garden Inn, 1181 Barnes Road, could be developed as a town road in the future if there’s further site development.
Currently, the driveway to the Hilton is actually on the property for 1175 Barnes Road, and there are cross-easements between the properties.
“Typically,” Hand said, “we don’t allow for more than two properties off a driveway. We build a road after that.”
She added that there’s some language in the previous easement agreement that refers to the driveway possibly becoming a town road in the future, but it’s unclear, so she wants to get the legal status “addressed and finalized.”