Friday, November 29, 2019

Chip Factory Hotel gets smaller, Zoning Board ok's all requests

The Columbia Borough Zoning Hearing Board met Wednesday night to consider requests from Cimarron Investments LLC relating to the Chip Factory Hotel project. 

The proposed Chip Factory Hotel has been cut down to size. The hotel, which was to encompass 6 stories and 91 rooms, is now projected to have 4 stories and 80 rooms and will stand 70 feet high, according to architect Paul Nikolaus. The change was requested in a last-minute submission to the Columbia Borough Zoning Hearing Board on Wednesday night by applicant Cimarron Investments LLC. After a nearly four-hour hearing that included testimony by, and cross-examinations of, parties to the hearing, the board granted all special exceptions and variances requested.

Board member David Brumbaugh made the motion to grant Cimarron's requests on all conditions stated by the solicitor. The motion, as read by board solicitor Josele Cleary, was as follows:

"A motion to grant the special exceptions and variances identified in Exhibit A3, as well as a special exception for parking as a principal use in the HDR District, and a special exception to allow the applicant 18 months from the date of the decision to obtain a permit, and 18 months from the date of obtaining a permit to complete construction, and the conditions on that would be:  1. Applicant shall continually provide not less than 77 off-street parking spaces for the hotel use. If the applicant ceases to have access to the off-street parking spaces on the lot provided by a lease, applicant shall have 90 days to provide the zoning officer with evidence that applicant has obtained a location for an equal or greater number of off-street parking spaces. Applicant shall require all employees to park in the pocket parking lot at the greatest distance from the hotel and shall prohibit employees from using on-street parking.  4. Applicant shall restrict the use of the meeting room associated with the hotel to hotel guests unless the applicant provides additional off-street parking.  5. Applicant shall restrict the use of the rooftop terrace to hotel guests unless applicant provides additional off-street parking.  6. Applicant shall maintain the existing number of off-street parking spaces for the dwelling units at 150 Walnut Street.  7. As part of the land development approval process, applicant shall address stormwater management for all new impervious surface areas.  8. Applicant shall provide a copy of the land development plan to the fire company and ask the fire company for any comments.  9. The hotel shall not exceed 80 guest rooms. And then the standard conditions that applicant shall comply with and adhere to the testimony presented this evening, that any violation of the conditions is a violation of the zoning ordinance and punishable as such. Applicant shall obtain all other necessary permits and approvals, including, but not limited to, approvals under the subdivision and land development ordinance, stormwater management ordinance, and uniform construction code. The condition shall be binding on the applicant and its successors and assigned, and applicant shall pay one half of the appearance fee of the court reporter."

Newly appointed board member Jazz Preston seconded the motion.

The roll call vote was as follows:
David Brumbaugh - Yes
Jonathan Lutz - Yes
Steven White - Yes
Jazz Preston - Yes
Terry Doutrich - No

(Board President Donald Haines recused himself at the start of the meeting and was replaced by Alternate Terry Doutrich.)

[Note: The solicitor did not state the numbers of items 2 and 3 in the motion.]

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