Jul 26, 2014

Surprises in Royal Oak Hotel Plan Stall Development

City officials returned the proposal to city Planning Commission after developers make drastic changes.

Surprises in Royal Oak Hotel Plan Stall Development

The planned $60 million development of the Royal Oak Hotel ran into trouble Monday when city officials discovered what they thought were drastic changes to the original plans.

The changes included a new 4,200-square-foot rooftop terrace, banquet space and more than 2,000 square feet of parking, the Observer & Eccentric reports.

Officials discovered the changes, which were made without notifying the city, after the plans were presented to the City Commission Monday. As a result, the commissioners sent the plans back to the Planning Commission for review.

“I’m not saying I’m necessarily opposed to the changes, but it is so substantially different from what has been discussed up to this point I think it’s premature for us to even discuss it,” Commissioner Kyle DuBuc said.

The initial plans that received approval more than a year ago included an eight-story hotel and apartment building, and a five-story building with restaurants and offices at ground level. The development also includes a three-story building with retail, offices and a four-level parking deck, off-site.

The commission found the idea of adding additional parking that would destroy trees, shrubs and landscaping unacceptable.

“So many changes were made from this plan we all worked so hard to get,” said Mayor Jim Ellison.

Dennis Griffin, who represents the developers, said they were in contact with city planning director Tim Thwing “that “every step of the way” and that their plans were “identical in most respects.”

“The plan is not the plan that was approved, it’s different but if you squint your eyes..it’s the same plan,” he said. “ And frankly I don’t know what the next is because there may be tweaks from here on out and what is a tweak that is acceptable?”

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