MATTHEWS – The Town of Matthews is evaluating whether to change the development criteria for hotels to ensure they are built in mixed-use areas, such as the Entertainment District near the Matthews Sportsplex.
Hotels interested in developing along U.S. 74 may have to go through a formal rezoning process.
“We feel that we are pretty well developed out with strip commercial-style hotels along 74,” Jay Camp, planning director for the Town of Matthews, told commissioners Nov. 11. “As new hotels come to the market, we would like them to locate in areas such as the ENT district, the mixed-use development districts or even the transit districts, as light rail hopefully comes online in the next 10 years.”
Commissioners will weigh the pros and cons of requiring 1,500 square feet of lobby space and 1,500 square feet of amenity space.
Commissioner Jeff Miller said during the Nov. 11 discussion that he felt hotels and extended stays should be allowed in the highway business district, but that extended stays should not be allowed in the Entertainment District.
He wanted clarification about the motivation of the proposal.
“If you look down the road at Waverly and Rea Farms, hotels are now a very common anchor in mixed-used development,” Camp said. “As big boxes have started to fade, as retail is declining, hotels are sort of a new integral use to mixed-use development.”
The planning and zoning board will vet the proposal Nov. 26. Commissioners could decide on the issue as early as Dec. 9.
“The whole genre as we know hoteling, other than the businessman getting off the interstate, is changing,” Commissioner John Urban said, noting he’d be OK revisiting the decision 12 to 18 months from now.
Bill Ingram, who owns property off Independence Boulevard, would like to see fewer regulations on full-service hotels.
He told commissioners that requiring hotels to go through rezoning would slow them down, given the uncertainty, time and expense of the process. They may just consider crossing the county line into Stallings.
Ingram also wanted to see commissioners make it harder for guests to live in extended-stay hotels. He recommended the town require larger square footage for lobbies and meeting space as well as require daily maid service.
“You can’t build a hotel with all those requirements and rent it out for $53 a night,” Ingram said. “It’s not going to happen.”