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Council OKs 104-room Hampton Inn

By: Jenna Nielsen, Journal Staff Writer
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A three-story, 104-room Hampton Inn & Suites hotel off Interstate 80 and Russell Road in Auburn will soon become a reality. Auburn City Councilmembers voted unanimously Monday night to deny the appeals of several residents opposed to the project, which sits on a 5.9-acre project site and includes two lots located on the west side of Lincoln Way, south of Russell Road and east of Interstate 80. Councilman Bob Snyder recused himself from voting on the project because he has “very, very close friends who are nearby property owners.” The council gave the project the green light following more than two hours of public comment from roughly a dozen residents who spoke out in opposition and support of the project. “I am not opposed to building a hotel on this property, I am just concerned with how tall the (building) is,” said Auburn resident Richard Munster, one of the project appellants. “I think something could be designed to make (the hotel) fit into the terrain better.” The $15 million Hampton Inn & Suites, which will include a swimming pool, spa, business center, meeting rooms and a standalone pad site for a 6,000-square-foot restaurant, is situated on an oak-filled stretch of undeveloped land near the Auburn Woods condominiums on Lincoln Way. The project will also require the removal of approximately 285 trees, which could be mitigated by on-site planting and a payment of $25,775 in-lieu tree mitigation fees for the balance. Auburn resident Bill Prior said the project was aesthetically appealing and would be a good fit for Auburn. “This is a nice project that looks good,” Prior said. “I think this will bring people to Auburn.” Auburn Planning Commissioners approved 3-1 June 3 a use permit, height variance and tree permit for the 65,000 square foot hotel project which ranges in height from 36 to 48 feet. The land is zoned for hotel use and city staff have determined the project’s traffic effect on the community is minimal because it is adjacent to Interstate 80. The project developers will also be re-sponsible for minor road widening along Lincoln Way including curb, gutter and sidewalk improve-ments. Mayor Keith Nesbitt said he is not generally in favor of removing a high number of trees, but noted that many are in poor condition. “I walked this site today and once you get into the interior, you see — it’s a mess,” Nesbitt said. “I think aesthetically it will improve the property and I know several of the (adjacent) residents may not want to hear that, but I think we have a conscientious developer who is willing to mitigate a number of issues.” The Journal’s Jenna Nielsen can be reached at jennan@goldcountrymedia.com or post a comment.