HOPKINTON — As Town Meeting is poised to consider changes to the hotel overlay district, a section of Lumber Street that was to be eliminated from it will remain after the property owner says developers have shown interest.
However, the Planning Board chairman isn't convinced a hotel will be built in town anytime soon. There are currently no hotels in town, although the district allows for two hotels to be built, one on each side of Interstate 495. Hotels are allowed in the district by special permit.
The Chamber of Commerce requested changes to the district in order to include areas that are viable for a hotel, according to memo from Elaine Lazarus, director of land use and town operations. An overlay district allows certain uses within an existing district.
The proposed changes called for removing 11 acres on Lumber Street and adding areas along South Street and Parkwood Drive. Hotels will not be allowed within 400 feet of a residential district.
"Both owners have previously had bonafide interest in the development of a hotel on the totality of the land (3 parcels)," wrote attorney George Connors to the Planning Board. "Their proxies had met the town and learned of considerable improvements to Lumber Street associated with the development of a hotel. The entirety of the parcels has, and continues to be, of interest for the hotel."
John Coutinho, chairman of Zoning Advisory Committee, said at a public hearing last month that the land was to be removed on Lumber Street as a compromise for expanding the district.
The Planning Board agreed to keep the land in the district. The changes must be approved at Town Meeting in May.
One resident, Michael Cavedon of Auciello Drive, requested a piece along South Street, where it splits a parcel in half because of the 400-foot restriction, be removed from the district.
"I don't want it. I already have an office building in my backyard," he said. "There is plenty other land where a hotel can be built."
The Planning Board voted to eliminate the parcel by going to the nearest property line.
The bylaw was created in 2009 to allow up to two hotels in select locations in town with a special permit from the Planning Board. The overlay district includes part of South Street, Lumber Street and Parkwood Drive near Interstate 495.
In 2016, Town Meeting approved a number of changes to the bylaw, including reducing the size of a function from 8,000 square feet to a minimum of 1,500 square feet to help attract a hotel.
Town officials have said there is a need for hotels in town with businesses such as Dell EMC and PerkinElmer.
Chairman John Ferrari said he met with officials in the hotel industry and the demographics might not be the best for a hotel, even with Dell.
"It would be hard to compete with hotels in Milford that might have more things around them than we do here," he said.
Jonathan Phelps can be reached at 508-626-4338 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @JPhelps_MW.