Hampton Inn Hotel Approved For Atrium Drive

Craig Stires, a Somerville-based engineer, describes the Hampton Inn plan to the Planning Board.

A 101-room hotel on a four-acre lot off Atrium Drive was approved June 21 by the Planning Board.

The four-story hotel will be a limited-service Hampton Inn, the board was told, and will not have a restaurant or banquet rooms.

It will have an indoor pool, fitness center, small meeting rooms and will offer guests Continental breakfasts, said Steven Finch, a member of the architecture firm that developed the hotel’s master plan.

The developer originally wanted three building-mounted signs, but reduced the number to two – which is the amount permitted by the township’s zoning ordinance – at the request of board chairman Michael Orsini, who said he thought two signs would be enough.

The proposed signs are more than twice the size that is permitted by the township’s zoning ordinance, so the developer sought and received a variance on that requirement.

Finch said the hotel would take about 12 months to build, assuming the weather cooperates.

The developer also needed a variance on the size of the lot; four acres was proposed, when five acres is the minimum required by township ordinance. The lot was sliced off from a 15-acre parcel.

Aerial view of the proposed hotel area. The project is slated for part of the lower right portion.

Craig Stires, the project’s engineer, said there was no immediate plans to develop the remaining 11 acres.

There was slight opposition to the application from the nearby Doubletree Hotel.

Carl Peters, an engineer hired by Doubletre’s attorney, told the board that a long easement on the property made the lot’s actual size more like slightly larger than three acres.

The main issue, he said, is that the subject lot is much smaller than what the township ordinance calls for.

Peter Lanfrit, the developer’s attorney told the board that if the parcel was enlarged to five acres, a larger hotel could be built.

“I assume your client would be happier if there was a bigger hotel with more rooms next to his hotel,” he asked Peters.

“I have no idea,” Peters replied.

Newly minted township business advocate Vince Dominach told the board that the developer has been “very amenable” to township planning staff suggestions, and has “shown the willingness to invest millions of dollars” in the project.

In the end, the objections carried little weight with the board, which approved the application unanimously.


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