The developers of a proposed hotel/water park are one step closer to making their venture a reality as the East Ridge Planning Commission voted to rezone the site from residential to commercial, Monday, in a special called meeting.
The property in question is at 730 Frawley Road and is “split zoned.” Most of the five-acre property is already zoned commercial, said Kenny Custer, the city’s Chief Building Official. Almost 2.3 acres of the property remains zoned residential.
Custer said that the Regional Planning Agency’s analysis of the property showed that the property is bordered by residential property and multi-residential property to the north, east and west. The RPA report also notes that rezoning to commercial could pose problems with noise and light pollution for surrounding residences.
Roshan Amin, CEO of Dynamic Group, told the planning commission that his company intends to build a TownePlace Suites by Marriott which includes a 25,000-square foot indoor water park. The height of the motel would be about 50 feet. The plan and footprint of the new $13 million, 104-room hotel have been approved by the corporate offices of Marriott, he said.
Residents from nearby Pine Bluff Drive – an enclave of about 30 homes – voiced concern over a hotel and water park being built in their backyard.
“I’ve got a wonderful outdoor area with a pool and it’s very enjoyable,” said Jeff Ellis, whose house at 400 Pine Bluff Drive will back up to the proposed parking lot of the hotel. “This will affect me more than anyone else.”
A handful of other residents who live on Pine Bluff Drive said they were upset that they did not receive any notice of the planning commission meeting.
Custer said that he followed state regulations in posting signs of the planning commission hearing within a 300-foot radius of the property being considered. He also said that a public notice was given in a paper of record.
Board member Larry Sewell said the hotel/water park “is a great idea,” but the area is too small.
Planning Commission Chairman Mike Chauncey pointed out three hotels/motels on the east side of the city that are built on smaller parcels of land and are adjacent to as many as six single-family homes.
Planning commission member Casey Tuggle said that the base elevation of the hotel’s parking lot is about 690 feet above sea level. Ellis’s property around his pool has an elevation of about 780 feet. Tuggle said the planning commission could put restrictions on the height of light poles erected in the parking lot to prevent light pollution from spoiling the view from Ellis’s pool area.
Tuggle made a motion to approve the rezoning with the stipulation that light poles are to be no higher than 780 feet base elevation. Board member Ron Renegar seconded the motion and the measure was approved, 4-1, with Sewell voting no.
Chauncey said the measure will now go before the East Ridge City Council for consideration. The council must have two separate readings of a rezoning ordinance and a public meeting for it to be passed, he said. The first reading could be at the November 8 council meeting.
Chauncey directed Custer to expand the area where signs would be posted alerting citizens to the council meeting concerning the rezoning. This would give residents potentially affected by the construction of a hotel/water park ample notice to attend the meeting so their voice could be heard.
The planning commission also gave its approval to rezone eight acres at 6750 Ringgold Road to allow for the construction of a new 35,000-square-foot facility for Southern Honda Powersports.
Prior to the discussion, board member Tuggle said he would not take part in any discussion or vote on the measure as he is employed by Southern Honda. The vote to rezone the property from Agriculture District (A-1) and Tourism Commercial (C-1) to General Commercial (C-2) was 4-0 with Tuggle abstaining.
In the final item on the planning commission’s agenda, the board lifted a condition on lot frontage in the proposed Frawley Estates. The properties that are already zoned (RZ-1) zero lot lines, will have its lot frontage reduced from 62 feet wide to 45 feet wide. The new reduced frontages will allow the developer to build an additional 40 homes in the sprawling subdivision.