The addition of three new Richmond Hill hotels dominated the agenda of the Richmond Hill Planning and Zoning meeting Monday night.
A Fairfield Inn and Suites, Sleep Inn and Holiday Inn Express are all expected to break ground later this year. All three are located on Hwy 17 near I-95 exit 87. The 102-room Holiday Inn Express is slatedto be constructed behind the current Holiday Inn. There are no plans to destroy or alter the current Holiday Inn. Both are owned by San Patel.
Former Richmond Hill resident Shaylesh Patel, no relation, who currently resides in Savannah, presented a sketch plan review of the other two motels. He plans to build them right next to each other and at the intersection of Hwy. 17 and Ponderosa Road, across from KOA Campgrounds. Patel said the Fairfield will have 82 rooms while the Sleep Inn will have 67 rooms.
Patel said this is his first business venture in Richmond Hill. There will eventually be a restaurant on the site as well, but Patel said that will come after the hotels. He said he does not have a commitment from any particular restaurant chain as of yet.
Based on prior advice from city officials, he modified the entrance way at Ponderosa to make it more viable to potential traffic. The Planning and Zoning Commission, as well as city officials who were on hand, complimented Patel on his sketch plan. Patel said he will now go ahead and have final site plans created. He plans to bring them back to the P&Z Commission before requesting official approval from city council.
"Richmond Hill is very conducive to growth, and we’re confident this will be a very positive development," Shaylesh Patel said. "They treated us very fairly here tonight as everyone in the city has since we started looking here. Richmond Hill has such a hometown atmosphere to it which really sets it apart from its neighbors. Even with all the competition, I think this exit is popular enough to support this business venture. Even with all the traffic here, this exit is much easier than the other options that travelers may have. 204 is terrible to get on and off from and the Coastal Highway route is very viable here."
In other business:
-The first public hearing for the upcoming city tree ordinance was held prior to addressing the P&Z agenda items. Only six residents showed up. Among the points discussed were the potential of eliminating the proposed $50 fee to cut down a tree and the request of homebuilders to possibly reduce the canopy cover for new development from 50 to 40 percent. A second public hearing on the tree ordinance will take place on March 24 at 7 p.m. at city hall.
-Jason Edenfield, representing Richmond Hill Land Company, got preliminary approval for a revised master plan for Richmond Hill Plantation. Planning and Zoning Director Steve Scholar noted there were only minor adjustments made. Changes included adjusting lot sizes and adding a clubhouse for the golf course.
-Bradd Flemmings received preliminary approval to conduct martial arts classes out of his home at 496 Rice Gate Drive in Sterling Creek subdivision. Flemmings said he will have a maximum of 15 students and will pick up students in his van in an attempt to reduce potential traffic in his neighborhood.
-A 12’ X 50’ billboard at 60 Longwood Drive got the P&Z nod for Page Printing LLC. Scholar said the Department of Transportation initially told him they had issues with the billboard, including infringement of a 500 foot blockout zone near the exit. Scholar said the DOT has since come back and said they only enforce blockout zones in unincorporated areas – not municipalities. He said this is the reason the Pages have resubmitted their application for the billboard. This, along with all the other P&Z rulings, will now be submitted to city council for final approval or disapproval.
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