Members of Albemarle County’s Places29 Community Advisory Committee got a first look at a new Marriott hotel being proposed between U.S. 29 and Hillsdale Drive at a meeting Monday.
“If you go back there, it’s really in disarray,” Dominion Engineering’s Mike Myers said as he described the site, which is located 900 feet north of the intersection of U.S. 29 and Greenbrier Drive.
The 192-room, five-story hotel would be built on a 3.7-acre property currently home to the Flaming Wok & Teppan Yaki restaurant, Dodson Glass, an abandoned building and gravel laydown areas.
Daly Seven, a Danville-based hotel management and development company, is developing the site for Marriott. The hotel would be home to two different brands — Springhill Suites and TownePlace Suites.
Myers and Mark Dowdy, Daly Seven project manager, presented the concept plan for the site to the Rio and Hydraulic Places subcommittees of the Places29 Community Advisory Committee at a joint meeting.
Features of the plan include developing the hotel, building a two-story parking structure toward the rear of the property and consolidating the two entrances to the property from U.S. 29 into one main entrance. The hotel would be located 240 feet from U.S. 29.
Some conceptual renderings of the hotel were presented, although Myers stressed that design elements like colors and materials are yet to be decided.
Developers also hope to create a future development parcel where Flaming Wok & Teppan Yaki is currently located, but when asked by committee members about future use of the space, Dowdy and Myers said there are no definitive plans for the parcel yet.
Dowdy said that one possible use for the space, however, could be a coffee shop or Starbucks.
The site is zoned C1 Commercial and will require a special-use permit for the hotel use, as Albemarle County’s zoning ordinance does not allow by-right construction of hotels, motels and inns on C1 property.
A special-use permit also is needed for the parking structure, and the developers are requesting a special exception to a requirement for a 15-foot setback of the fourth and fifth stories.
“When you talk about suites, are these long-term stays or short-term staying hotels?” asked Virginia Roy, Places29 Rio subcommittee chairwoman.
“Springhill is more of a business hotel, a business traveler’s hotel,” Dowdy said. “TownePlace can be more of an extended stay — [a] TownePlace [suite] has a kitchenette; it’s like a small studio apartment, but typically it’s like a few days to a week.”
When asked if there would be any connections between the hotel and the adjacent properties off of Branchlands Boulevard to the north, which include Applebee’s and Food Lion, Myers said there would not be a connection due to the difference in grade between the two areas.
Rio subcommittee member Nancy Hunt said she is concerned about the impact of the property on surrounding neighborhoods.
“When you put lighting in that parking lot, are you going to have 20-foot light poles?” Hunt asked.
Myers said that is a typical height for light poles, but there will be limited visibility to surrounding areas.
“I think when the trees lose their leaves, it’s going to be a lot more visible than you think,” Hunt said.
Dowdy noted that outdoor lighting regulations are outlined in the county’s zoning ordinance and Myers said a lighting plan will be reviewed when the county looks at the site development plan.
Hunt also asked about stormwater management plans for the site and runoff.
“Are you extending the number of square feet of impervious surface, or is it the same?” she asked.
Myers said that while the calculation has not yet been completed, it will probably be about the same amount of impervious surface — although, it might be lower due to green space that will be added to the site.
“We’re still going to have to meet the new state requirements for stormwater management,” Myers said.
“I understand there are regulations. I know what you are required to do, but your water goes into an already stressed system,” Hunt said.
The site is part of the Meadow Creek watershed.
Albemarle Supervisor Brad Sheffield, who represents the Rio District, said work done on the site would probably improve stormwater management for existing uses that may not be conforming to current regulations for new developments.
Some attendees also asked about an emergency access road to the site off U.S. 29 — south of the main entrance — and said the road may confuse drivers.
Myers acknowledged the point and said it is a preliminary design, but the emergency entrance would be discussed in the future with the Virginia Department of Transportation.
The hotel remains in the initial planning phases. Special-use permit applications for the hotel and parking structure were submitted May 16 and a conceptual site development plan was submitted June 6.