February 17, 2008

Hotel Project To Request Adding Conference Space

(Pictured Above:) Rendering of an approved 191-room branded resort hotel on the oceanfront in downtown Carolina Beach on the northern end of the boardwalk. The project was approved by the Town Council in June of 2007.

By Willard H. Killough IIIManaging Editor
CAROLINA BEACH - In June of last year the Carolina Beach Town Council approved a conditional use permit to build a 191-room 115’ tall ocean front hotel on the northern end of the Carolina Beach Boardwalk; on the site of the former Ocean Plaza building.

The applicant, Russ Maynard of Seaview Properties, LLC, recently submitted a request to modify that permit to have additional parking in the Town’s Marina Lot near the hotel property for the addition of up to 5,000 square feet of meeting space.

The Town’s zoning ordinance allows the Council to permit a developer to utilize public parking within 500’ of their development in order to meet the calculated number of parking spaces required for a project.

According to a description submitted to the Planning Department, the project area is located on a recombined parcel in the Town’s Central Business District (CBD) immediately adjacent to the Town’s Boardwalk. The scope of the project is the redevelopment of the lots of the King’s Beachwear (.34 acres) former Hula Grille Restaurant (.075 acres), former Ocean Plaza (.13 acres), parking lot (.26 acres), former ice cream stand (.035 acres) and the existing Sea Side Inn (.16 acres) for a total of one acre, located at the north end of the boardwalk at the intersections of Canal Drive, Carolina Beach Avenue North and Harper Ave., into a 191 room hotel with indoor and outdoor pools, a hotel cafe, with three levels of structured parking. The parcels have been recombined into one parcel including the relocation of a portion of Carolina Beach Avenue North.

Following approval of the hotel in June 2007, the Town Council approved closing a portion of Carolina Beach Avenue N. to facilitate the project.Parking will be provided under the building on the first three floors (including ground level).

A total of 197 parking spaces are required by the Town and 197 parking spaces are being provided. Landscaping, signage and site lighting will be provided in accordance with the Town Land Use Plan and Ordinances. According to the developer, Hotel guests will be able to park on site. Six metered parking spaces along Carolina Beach Avenue North are being relocated within the parking to provide a safer, and more pedestrian friendly entrance to the boardwalk area – these spaces can still be metered by the Town. This also makes room for a potential water fountain feature at the entrance to the boardwalk.

According to the developer, “The 5,000 square foot meeting space will sit approximately 250 people. Per the zoning ordinance Hotel Meeting rooms are required to provide 1 parking space for every 4 seats plus one space for every 200 square feet which requires 87.5 spaces. Per the latest change in the zoning ordinance, “A 25% parking reduction shall be given if 50 or greater parking spaces are required. The reduction shall only apply to associated on-site uses limited to restaurants, bars, and meeting rooms.”

The developer concludes that, “The zoning ordinance parking reduction provides for the request to be reduced from 87.5 to 66 parking spaces for the meeting space. Thus, our request is to have the meeting space 66 parking spaces utilize the Town’s Marina Lot. The meeting space will primarily be utilized in the off seasons (Fall and Winter) to further promote tourism in Carolina Beach, specifically the CBD. Since the hotel has been approved, several organizations, meeting planners and others have requested that the hotel add in meeting space to provide a larger alternative to other meeting spaces in Carolina Beach. It is anticipated that most of the people attending an event will also be staying at the hotel, as is common for most hotel meetings. For those not staying at the hotel, and parking in the Marina Lot, it will both generate revenue for the Town as well as encourage people to engage businesses within the Central Business District.”

The developer states that, “A conditional use permit for the proposed redevelopment was approved by the Town of Carolina Beach in June 2007. A road closing order (actually a road relocation) for a portion of Carolina Beach Avenue North was approved in July 2007. A high-density storm water permit has been issued by the NC Division of Water Quality, as well as a permit for sedimentation and erosion control plan by the NC Division of Land Quality. All site permits required to commence construction have been obtained.

”The Carolina Beach Planning and Zoning Commission will consider the item at their February 21, meeting at 7PM.

[NOTE: There is a rumor that this will be a Hilton property.]
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