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Planning Commission To Consider Hampton Inn Project Oct. 10th

The Carolina Beach Planning Commission will consider a permit request to build an oceanfront eight-story 100 room Hampton Inn and Suites on the northern end of the downtown Boardwalk at their October 10th, meeting.

Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH - The Carolina Beach Planning and Zoning Commission will consider a request at their October 10th, meeting for a conditional use permit to construct an eight story tall 100 room oceanfront Hampton Inn and Suites at 1 Harper Avenue on the northern end of the Boardwalk. Blanchard & Calhoun Commercial, a real estate development and commercial brokerage firm in Augusta, Georgia, updated their website earlier this summer listing the project and opening date of fall 2014.
Developers submitted updated architectural drawings to the Town of Carolina Beach Planning Department in June.
In May Blanchard & Calhoun sent a letter to the Town saying they are ready to move forward and outlined aspects of the project including a proposal to lease town parking spaces and make other improvements in the area.
Their website stated, "A 106-room select service Hampton Inn & Suites that is currently under development and projected to open in Fall 2014. The hotel will provide a full service breakfast, ample meeting space, outdoor pool with sundeck, fitness center, business center, guest laundry room, and beach access. Located at the northern end of Pleasure Island on the shores of a scenic, family-friendly North Carolina beach."
In 2007 a previous development company proposed a Hilton Garden Inn on the same property. That project called for 191 rooms in an 11-story building with a 5,632 square foot conference facility and a 200 seat Sundeck Pavilion restaurant. Last year the new developer indicated to the Planning Department the number of rooms would decrease from 191 to between 90 and 130 rooms and 11 floors or less.
Before this project can move forward the developer will have submit plans for review by the Planning and Zoning Commission where a public hearing will be held. Following that review, the Town Council will require a public hearing before making a final decision.
The Town's Technical Review Committee (TRC) reviewed the project.
The narrative for that review stated, "The project includes a 7 story, 100 room, 67,860 heated square foot Hampton Inn & Suites over a single level of surface parking.  The Hotel will be provided with 100 parking stalls, the majority of which will be on the hotel property.  An amenity package of a 980 square foot swimming pool, sunning/seating areas, a “fire pit”, and a “pool bar” will be constructed on the first elevated level of the hotel, facing the ocean.  Access to the beach will be provided from the existing wooden boardwalk located in the Southeast corner of the site and modified to connect to the new pool deck on the first elevated level of the hotel.  All rooms facing the ocean will be provided with balconies with aluminum railings."
According to Stewart - an engineering, design and planning firm located in Raleigh, Durham and Charlotte, N.C. - the site work is to include arrival canopy, surface parking (most under the hotel tower), an arrival lobby for the hotel, elevator lobbies for the two elevator banks, fire exits for the emergency stairs, a dumpster enclosure, and an equipment room for the pool."
According to Stewart, "An on-site storm water detention system will be provided to meet jurisdictional requirements. Off site work includes improvements to the pedestrian crossings at the Harper Ave and Canal Street intersection adjacent to the hotel, improvements to sidewalks on Canal Street, improvements to the 30 foot wide public beach access corridor on the south side of the hotel, improvements to Canal Street, Harper Avenue, and Carolina Beach Ave North, improvements to the existing public parking lot across the street which provides more public parking spaces, replacement of the nine current public parking spaces impacted by this project, and repair of the existing deck/beach access ramp. All occupied levels of the hotel will be located above the 15 foot minimum height ASL."
Construction of the hotel will be post tensioned concrete floor and roof slabs supported by concrete columns and CMU walls.  Exterior skin will be masonry brick veneer on the ground/first floor and EIFS on floors two thru seven. Roofs will be “flat” TPO membrane and surrounded by parapet walls. Windows will be a combination of impact rated aluminum storefront and impact rated vinyl windows. Guestrooms with balconies will have impact rated sliding glass doors provided.
Earlier this year the developer inquired about leasing public parking in an existing parking lot on Harper Avenue that serves the downtown Boardwalk merchants and beach access for the public.
A plan showing placement of a gate to permit only hotel patrons to park in a portion of that lot was revised. The gate was taken out.
According to a document following up on an August 20th, TRC Committee meeting, it stated, "There was further detailed discussion about parking. Per the CAMA Land Use Plan, a development cannot reduce the number of existing public parking spaces. Therefore, the Town cannot allow gated exclusive use of public parking spaces for the hotel. The public lots must be redesigned to improve efficiency, circulation, and increase parking spaces and in exchange the Town would allow first come/first serve parking of all the public spaces in the lot across the street at no charge to hotel patrons. There were suggestions at how to increase parking spaces in the right-of-way of Harper Ave immediately adjacent to the hotel entrance to provide 10+ parking spaces which would replace the 9 removed parking spaces that are currently “on site”. It was also suggested to increase parking on site if possible. After the reconfiguration of the public lot, Harper Ave lot, and on-site parking lot then the Developer could ask for a variance or waiver for reduced required parking."
The Planning and Zoning Commission will consider the project at their upcoming October 10th, meeting at 6:30PM at Town Hall. Call 910-458-2999 for more information.