A presentation at Thursday night’s meeting did not answer enough questions to the city council’s liking, leaving them to hold off on variance requests from the developer of a proposed hotel in downtown Fayetteville.
Steve Gulas, in his quest to build a hotel on North Glynn St. just down from Dunkin’ Donuts and across from Arby’s, is seeking an appeal of a Planning and Zoning Commission decision that denied some of his variance requests, most related to the amount of buffer required around the property and the building itself. He pointed to the land he has to give up for a road that could someday be the Lafayette Avenue extension, as well as a deceleration lane required by GDOT.
“There’s no greater hardship than the city wanting to build a road through your property,” he said. “We’re trying to regain the build ability thats taken away by having to build this GDOT lane and doing what we can to make up for the need of the road being right there.
“We’re working with the city the best we can to make it so that it’s viable for them to build (the road).”
Gulas contended that less buffer would be sufficient, in part because the property butts up to kudzu on one side and thick trees in the rear.
Council expressed concern about rushing to make a decision on the variances without having a firm vision of what the building, which would front 85 on one side, would truly look like. Dating back to February 2015, plans called for a 12,000 square foot retail center. By March 2017, those had been changed to retail shops with six apartments over them. In June 2017, it was adapted to the current four-story hotel plans. Council member Jim Williams made a motion that would unanimously be approved to hold off on making a decision until they saw a full elevation plan, along with color and material samples.
“I think they’re concerned that it is premature now to make a decision when we don’t know the big picture of what’s going to happen on the site,” said City Manager Ray Gibson.
Mayor Ed Johnson assured Gulas the project was not finished in the city’s eyes.
“It’s not dead, we just have to do a little bit more work.”