A Greenwood city board turned down a request for a new hotel in the Center Grove area after multiple residents spoke against it, raising concerns about noise and traffic and their property values.
Now, the request to rezone the land along Stones Crossing Road, east of State Road 135, to allow the three-story, 100-plus room hotel will go to the Greenwood City Council.
About 100 people came to a meeting this week about the proposed hotel on a 6.5-acre residential property at 1464 W. Stones Crossing Road, between the Barn at Bay Horse Inn and Stones Crossing Road. Amanda Cottingham, who owns the Barn at Bay Horse Inn event venue, told the board that she plans to sell the land to a developer who would build the hotel.
Cottingham told the board she would have significant say in the look of the hotel when it is constructed, and plans for it to look similar to the rustic feel of the buildings at the Barn at Bay Horse Inn. Who the hotel developer would be has not been determined yet, she said. The three-story hotel would have between 100 and 150 rooms, and is intended to both serve people attending weddings and other events at the Barn at Bay Horse Inn, and fill a need for another hotel in the Center Grove area
Seven people spoke against the project at the plan commission meeting this week, expressing their concerns about the project.
Residents from the nearby Cobblestone neighborhood, which is northeast of the proposed hotel, raised concerns about the hotel lowering their property values and worries about increased noise, light, traffic and visitors trespassing on their properties.
They also worried about continued commercial development in the area, since more than 100 acres of land have been rezoned for commercial use east of State Road 135 along Stones Crossing Road. Since the city’s master development plan calls for the area where the hotel is proposed to be residential, building a hotel would be inappropriate and would lead to more commercial projects in the future, residents said.
Members of the planning commission unanimously voted to give the development a negative recommendation because the comprehensive plan calls for the area to be residential. Their recommendation will go to the city council, who will make the final decision on whether the property should be rezoned for commercial use, which is needed before the hotel could be built.
“People expected the area to stay the way it was, not to have a three-story hotel .2 miles from our homes, which is very close and visible,” Cobblestone resident Laura Young said.
If the city decides to rezone land for commercial use because an undeveloped property is adjacent to a business, that could lead to a domino effect where areas the city has planned to be developed as neighborhoods end up as businesses, said Brent Tilson, a Stones Crossing Road resident who serves as president of the Greenwood Redevelopment Commission.
Commercial development on the west side of the city should be reserved for properties along State Road 135, he said.
Approving the construction of the hotel would continue a trend of commercial development that could eventually leave the Cobblestone neighborhood as an island in a sea of businesses, neighborhood resident Jason Mizen said.
“What happens is you create a precedent,” Cobblestone resident Raymond Gonzales said.
Don Russell, the president of the Cobblestone Homeowners Association, said residents choose to live in the neighborhood with the expectation that the area would be residential.
The land on the opposite side of Stones Crossing Road has already been rezoned for commercial use, with a hospital facility under construction, so putting a hotel at the location is appropriate, said Greg Ilko, of Crossroad Engineers, who was representing Cottingham at the meeting.
This rezoning request isn’t intended to set a precedent for further commercial projects, Ilko said.
Home prices of properties in the Cobblestone neighborhood also have risen in past years, despite commercial development of the event venue and the ongoing construction of a hospital at the intersection of Stones Crossing Road and State Road 135, he said.
The event venue has enough visitors coming each year for those people to be the primary source of revenue for the hotel, representatives for Cottingham said.
The final decision will be made by the Greenwood City Council, which is set to consider the proposal next week.