Tuesday, January 30, 2001

Newport rejects hotel expansion

By Terry Flynn
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        NEWPORT — City commissioners Monday ruled against a 36-unit expansion for the Hannaford Suites extended-stay hotel.

        In their second appearance before the commission, architect Dennis Back and Hannaford owner Jim Schiear said they were willing to meet with neighbors of the historic Sixth Street structure who signed a petition in opposition to the plan, and listen to any concerns.

        But one by one, commissioners explained their misgivings about an expansion, and finally Mayor Tom Guidugli said the consensus of the commission was not to approve a zoning change.

        “I don't think this plan follows our goal, which is to increase home ownership in the city,” Mr. Guidugli said. “I don't think more rooms at the Hannaford is what the neighborhood needs.”

        Mr. Schiear said after the meeting he wasn't certain what his next move would be.

        “I guess I'll look at all my options,” he said. “We have a letter from the city zoning administrator in 1991 telling us we have a permitted use

        here. What I need now is a zoning code that reflects that letter. I need to protect my investment.”

        Greg Tulley, the city's recently-hired zoning administrator, said he would be prepared to meet with the Hannaford owners and answer any of their questions regarding the zoning issue.

        “But it's up to them to decide how they want to proceed,” he said. “There are a couple of paths they can follow, and it could go to the zoning board of adjustments.”

        Mr. Schiear and Mr. Back proposed building a three-story, 36-unit building on property at the rear of the Hannaford, a former Roman Catholic girls high school. The hotel now has 60 units, primarily for long-term stay.

        Commissioner Ken Rechtin said he had concerns about the additional traffic more rooms would produce in the neighborhood. He also said he felt a three-story building at the rear of the Hannaford “will block the view from I-471. Right now, it's a very attractive view. I'd like to see (the Hannaford) stay just the way it is.”

        Also Monday, the mayor swore in three new police officers.

        The officers fill positions created by recently-retired officers and bring the police force close to its full complement of 50 officers.


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