Variance request denied for Home2 Suites by Hilton at Five Points site

Friday, Apr. 21, 2023–8:23 a.m.

-John Bailey, Rome News-Tribune-

Photo: John Bailey, Rome News-Tribune

Proposed variances for a Home2 Suites by Hilton in the Five Points area of North Rome were denied, but the applicant will be able to present a reworked proposal at the next available opportunity.

The Rome-Floyd County Board of Adjustments denied the variance requests, most of which stem from the proposed increase in building height from 45 feet to 64 feet, thus allowing five stories and another 24 rooms.

The applicant is Sam Patel, president and CEO of Vintage Rome LLC, associated with Emerge Hospitality Group.

As it was presented, the hotel would have 106 rooms and an indoor pool next to the site for a proposed Varsity restaurant. However, the land is zoned for a hotel with four stories and approximately 85 rooms. Patel would not need additional approval for a project of that scope.

Because of the increase in height, he sought to reduce landscaping buffers and reduce the number of required parking spaces from 106 to 103.

Those variances were requested, Patel said, because of the need to have a hotel large enough to generate the income to defray increased construction costs.

“I’m not building a cheap development,” Patel said. “It’s going to be for the community.”

The planning staff had recommended denying the requests. Assistant Planning Director Brice Wood said the need for other variances was caused, for the most part, by the variance request to increase the hotel’s height.

“What makes this a hardship is the size of the building, correct? Is this a self-imposed hardship?” adjustments board member David Clonts asked Wood, who assented.

Wood also pointed to the potential of parking issues the development could cause for the adjacent 160-year-old Thankful Missionary Baptist Church.

“You have to be sensitive to the fact that the church was built before the production of automobiles,” Brice said.

The site plan for the proposed hotel

Several members of Thankful Baptist Church, including deacons City Commissioner Bonny Askew and Robert Owens, spoke against granting the variances. However, they did not oppose the idea of a hotel constructed on the site overall.

Owens mentioned that issues could also have been addressed if the developer had contacted the church to discuss the development plan.

“We simply want to ensure that this development will not intentionally encroach on our services and our church,” Askew said.

Another concern brought up by the board was a lack of green landscaping in a developing area. Several variances were approved for the Varsity property, a former Dairy Queen location.

“We are happy that Mr. Patel is here with this application,” Clonts said. “But I think we do have a responsibility to keep our downtown landscape from being barren and devoid of greenery.”

The board voted to deny the variances as presented and allow Patel to resubmit a reworked plan at the next possible opportunity.

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