Some Highland residents unhappy with motel complex plans

2013-12-03T18:58:00Z 2013-12-03T23:31:11Z Some Highland residents unhappy with motel complex plansCharles F. Haber Times Correspondent
December 03, 2013 6:58 pm  • 

HIGHLAND | Some Meadows subdivision residents have told the Town Council they don't like a new motel planned for the vacant Terry Shaver Pontiac site.

Some councilmen have said they don't necessarily care for the development, but there is no legal way to stop it because its current zoning permits motels.

But developer Eric Gastevich said the six-building complex planned for the northwest corner of Prairie Avenue and 45th Street will be a secured, gated community and eliminate a 10-year blight at that site.

Prairie Square, as it will be called, is for extended stay visitors.

People using extended stay motels often are professionals such as engineers, doctors and others who are on assignment at a local business for a prolonged period of time, Gastevich said.

Gastevich said there will be no studio type units. About two-thirds will be two bedroom/two bath suites with the rest being one bedroom/one bath.

"This is very upscale," he said.

Gastevich said background and credit checks will be done before anyone is accepted as a guest. With the high cost of reservations, guests will need annual incomes of $45,000 and higher, he added.

"I don't expect people to be coming and going."

The density of the complex bothered some residents who talked about their concerns at a recent Town Council meeting.

"What are we doing to the town of Highland that we allow 176 units?" asked resident Bob Franchetti.

Town Council Attorney Rhet Tauber said Gastevich asked to rezone the 5-acre site earlier this year for more than 400 condo units.

That request was denied because the council feared they eventually could be converted into apartments, Tauber said.

Resident Michele Stang said multifamily would be preferable to a motel.

She said the motel would be just two blocks from a park.

"I'm not going to feel it is safe for my children to walk through the neighborhood," she said.

Gastevich said one of the residents later called him after the meeting and they talked about the development.

"He was very comfortable" after our conversation, Gastevich said.

Tauber pointed out that Gastevich has built high-quality residential developments in the area, including White Oak Estates and Embassy Place in Highland.

Building Commissioner Ken Mika said a construction permit has not yet been issued as the two sides work out infrastructure details.

Gastevich said he hopes to begin construction around the first of the year and open by late summer or fall.

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