Plymouth Council may vote to settle on a proposal to build a hotel near Ridge Park elementary on Monday night, according to a mailing from councilwoman Maria Riccobono-Weidinger.
"When our meeting concluded this past Monday (10/1) the fate of the settlement had not been decided. In the course of a few days, the council chair gathered enough votes from other council members to have a public discussion and possible action," Riccobono-Weidinger wrote.
The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. in the Plymouth Township building auditorium. The agenda shows the proposal will be discussed later in the meeting.
The proposal has become a contentious issue in the past year. Originally presented last winter, the township's Zoning Hearing Board denied the application based on its finding that the property did not have enough frontage along Chemical Road and was not located within the "township core."
However, developer Prime Hotels then appealed the decision to the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas, where the case is currently waiting to be heard. In addition, Craig Robert Lewis, an attorney for the developer, appeared before council in August with updated designs and an offer: Settle with the new proposal, or risk the developer filing a second "inverse condemnation" lawsuit, claiming Plymouth deprived the owner of enjoyment of its land and seeking that the township be required to buy it.
Council held a special public meeting in August to discuss the new proposal, which moves the hotel further away from the school, with residents. Chair Sheldon Simpson implored residents to consider the wisdom of settling, since it would prevent the worst possible outcomes.
"If they go to court and are successful, we have absolutely no control over what they do," said Simpson. "We're trying to do the best thing for the township, where we have some say about what's going to go in there."
However, the residents who spoke did not agree. Many expressed concerns about the safety of placing a hotel so close to the school, and several said they did not believe the township was preventing "enjoyment" of the land, citing the fact that there are over a dozen approved commercial uses for the property.
Riccobono-Weidinger seems to share their opinion.
"On Monday, our Ridge Park Elementary School will be recognized... for achieving 'Blue Ribbon Status' and at the same meeting, council will probably vote to build a hotel at its back door," Riccobono-Weidinger wrote. "This hotel is not in the best interest of our children or the surrounding community that will once again be disrupted by additional non-residents and vehicle traffic."
You may also be interested in:
- Residents Ask Plymouth Council Not to Settle 'Ridge Park Hotel' Lawsuit
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- Poll: Should Plymouth Township Accept the Hotel Proposal?