AMESBURY — A developer interested in building a Hampton Inn on the corner of Route 110 and Elm Street has made an official application to the town to turn the corner of land east of Stop and Shop into a 92-room hotel.
True Homestead Limited Partnership filed an application for Site Plan Review with the Planning Board last week, asking them to accept its development plan for the 284 Elm St. location. Town Planner Nipun Jain said the proposal looks to be the same one they approached the board with in preliminary talks last spring.
Jain said he hasn't had time to fully review whether the application is identical to the preliminary one developers put forth to the Planning Board last spring. The proposal actually entails two applications, one for a 92-room hotel and another for a nearly 10,000-square-foot retail outlet on the 5 acre parcel that includes both 282 and 284 Elm Street.
True Homestead, a limited liability company owned by Herbert Sears of Exeter, N.H., owns one of the two parcels being eyed for the hotel and jointly owns with Fafard Development the second parcel slated for the retail building.
Sears has retained the services of Fred Ford with Cammett Engineering to navigate the pre-application process. According to information submitted at a March 8 joint meeting of the Planning Board and Conservation Commission, Cammett and True Homestead are conducting this work on behalf of the Hampton Inn, which intends to build on the property if everything goes as planned.
If things are to progress, the developers will have to convince the Planning Board it can build a commercial building of that size and scope on the 5-acre, triangular property; receive an order of conditions from the town's Conservation Commission; and get a permit from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation for curb cuts to provide entrance to the complex.
The Planning Board and the Conservation Commission last spring asked the developers to consider a greener concept in their building design to ensure that the hotel isn't the "standard complex with concrete and a few trees" that was presented in the preliminary site plans, according to minutes of that joint meeting.
Jain said yesterday he was not sure if the developer had taken those comments to heart and changed the plan accordingly.
"We had discussed the green concept, but we have not looked at the information as to whether they have made any attempt to add that information or add that design," Jain said. "In due course of time, we will know."
Mayor Thatcher Kezer said this week he was excited that plans for the hotel were progressing, and he touted the benefits to residents that will come from the new development.
"That's an area we designated for development," Kezer said. "There's a demand and a need for the (hotel), and that expands our commercial tax base."
Calling the potential development a "two-fer," Kezer said a hotel is a development with benefits exceeding the traditional commercial building addition, as it provides new growth revenue as well as a windfall to the town's bottom line via the hotel tax.
The town's existing hotel — the Fairfield Inn, which is nearby on the opposite side on Route 110 — provides about $80,000 annually to town coffers from the hotel tax, he said.
"So presumably, we'll double that number," he said. "In general, I support the commercial development as long as it's right for that location and for Amesbury."
The Planning Board is expected to take up the hotel application at its Monday, Nov. 8, meeting, but whether it makes it to the agenda will depend on whether the town can get its meeting notices out on time per public meeting notification requirements.
The town plans to hire a third party consultant to go over the engineering and site plans and advise both the Conservation Commission and Planning Board on issues pertinent to their jurisdiction, Jain said.