CONWAY – The review of the three-story 98-room, 59,412-square-foot Viewpoint North Conway hotel proposed for Intervale was continued by the Conway Planning Board last Thursday until the next board meeting on September 23.
Board Chairman Ben Colbath said the meeting will be held again at the Conway Recreation Department’s Marshall Gymnasium at Kennett Middle School in Conway Village.
This meeting is expected to begin at 6 p.m. to allow for the processing of a nuisance complaint filed on behalf of clients by lawyer Roy Tilsley Jr. of Bernstein Shur of Manchester. “We will deal with the complaint, point by point, at the September 23 meeting,” Colbath told The Sun.
The September 9 meeting was also a continuation of the site plan review originally scheduled for August 26, but was postponed due to heavy attendance at Town Hall.
The project site is a 3.66 acre parcel at the corner of Highway 16 and Intervale Cross Road. The site and the 16-room Intervale Motel were sold by the John R. Cannell Revocable Trust to Viewpoint North Conway LLC, a Massachusetts investor group led by hotelier PJ Patel, last December for $ 1.4 million. dollars.
The nuisance complaint was originally submitted on February 23, but was updated and resubmitted by Tilsley ahead of last Thursday’s meeting.
The signatories are Nancy Goyette, Jenny LaBudde and Mike Specht, all board members of the Mountain View Estates Condo Association, as well as Stephanie Madden and Frank Masciulli.
Other signatories include Jeff Shutak, James and Barbara Wood and Alan and Susan Leveille, all of Dinsmore Road; Courtney and James Wrigley and Deborah and John Ziegler, all of Neighbors Row; Rod Forsman and Mike Grant, both of Balcony Seat View; Dick Forbes and Maureen Westrick of Interval Cross Road; and Elaine DiRusso of Northbrook Condominiums.
The group has created a Facebook page, Intervale Neighbors Group.
Tilsley also filed a complaint on behalf of Mike Grant.
At the September 9 meeting, two of the evening’s 11 speakers, Linda Stetson and Shutak, defended saving the great maple that the developers have set aside for removal.
Stetson read a poem and Shutak, who made the news with his sit-in “Save the Tree,” disagreed with Viewpoint attorney John Ratigan of DTC Lawyers of Exeter, who did argue that local planning laws did not apply to private property and that the tree is a matter of property rights.
“I’m still trying to find out if this is true,” Shutak told The Sun this week.
HEB Engineers of North Conway Project Engineer Josh McAllister reaffirmed that the proposed restaurant and lounge will be open to hotel guests only and therefore will not require additional parking.
He reiterated that the new proposal eliminates a separate restaurant that should have been located on the first floor at the end of the west wing.
Colbath and Porter questioned whether there would be adequate parking for employees, expressing doubts that a 98-room hotel with a restaurant could be staffed with just 10 employees and therefore whether more would be hired, forcing them to use the parking lot across Highway 16 at Scenic Vista, which would create a safety concern.
McAllister said that according to Alba Architects LLP of North Woodstock, the rooftop restaurant and lounge will measure 1,600 square feet.
Many meeting attendees questioned the results of a traffic study by Vanasse Hangen Brustin, Inc. of Bedford and South Portland which found that the “vehicle trips associated with the proposed hotel (105 rooms, now 98 rooms) would have negligible impacts to the adjacent road network during weekday rush hours, morning, weekday, afternoon and Saturday noon.
City engineer Paul DegliAngeli and McAllister supported the results of the study. When members of the public asked if the study was conducted at slower times of the year, McAllister, DegliAngeli and Colbath said the study used accepted engineering standards to account for these variables.
Other speakers questioned the adequacy of the lines of sight, but again McAlister and DegliAngeli supported the report’s findings.
Other speakers, including Courtney Wrigley of Neighbors Way, questioned the impact on the safety of pedestrians in the neighborhood trying to walk to the nearby Cannell’s Country Store complex to buy ice cream in Trails End.
Janice Spinney, co-owner of the Valley Independent Pharmacy located in the Cannell complex, said: “This great hotel will change the character of our community in ways that will be lost forever, like the old tree that will not survive the bulldozers. She also accused that there is no need for another large hotel at a time when there is a labor shortage and a lack of affordable housing for workers.
Goyette said the revised proposal plans for an 8-foot palisade as a buffer zone were not sufficient. She asked council to re-establish the 50-foot buffer zone that was removed “without prejudice” at the planning council meeting in March.
Stephanie Madden raised concerns about the impact on the MWV Ski Touring and Snowshoe Association trailhead on Route 16 between Motel Intervale and Starlight Lodge, but McAllister said he had had discussions with the city and MWVSTA on granting a dedicated easement on the plans and had worked with DegliAngeli, who is MWVSTA vice president, on a satisfactory realignment of the trailhead.
Bartlett resident Tony Simone received a round of applause when he addressed McAllister directly, claiming that when Simone first arrived in the valley he was working as a “small developer” and said a local entrepreneur advised him to “know his neighbors”.
“Josh,” said Simone, “look over here tonight: they’re your neighbors. I know you can get projects approved. (But) it’s a lousy project.
To learn more about the September 23 agenda, visit the Conway Planning Board at conwaynh.org.