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Council to Discuss Revised Detailed Site Plan of the “UMD Hotel”

The Hotel - From Route 1

The Hotel – From Route 1

At tomorrow’s Council worksession, the City Council will discuss the revised detailed site plan of “The Hotel” at the corner of Route 1 and Paint Branch Pkwy.

The applicant, Southern Management Corporation, Inc., filed a Preliminary Plan of Subdivision and a Detailed Site Plan with the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (MNCPPC) last fall. The Mayor and City Council reviewed the Preliminary Plan and Detailed Site Plan (DSP) at their Work Session last November 25 and recommended approval with conditions at their regular meeting on December 9, 2014. The Planning Board reviewed the Preliminary Plan request on December 11, 2014 and approved it with conditions.

For the Detailed Site Plan, the applicant requested and was granted a continuance by the Planning Board on February 19, 2015 in order to revise their plans to comply with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Maryland Aviation Administration (MAA) height regulations. The DSP request is scheduled to be reviewed at the March 26, 2015 Planning Board hearing. TheMNCPPC Technical StaffReport came out on Thursday, March 12, 2015.

The applicant has revised the DSP to lower the height, modify the architecture and increase the size of the parking garage.

According to the new plan, the Hotel’s height will be 198′ AMSL, instead of 233′ AMSL( a difference of -35′). To comply with FAAIMAA regulations, structures cannot exceed 198′ Above Mean Sea Level (AMSL). The Hotel will have 300 rooms, instead of 295. The Parking Garage will have 902 Spaces (instead of 806). The number of bicycle parking spaces will remain at 130.

Height and Massing Originally, the applicant was proposing to construct a 13-story (161-foot tall or 233-feet AMSL), 295-room hotel tower with a 5-story conference center and a 7-story, 806-car parking garage. The applicant has reduced the height of the hotel tower to 10 -stories for a maximum height of 128’6″ or 198-feet above mean sea level (AMSL) and has placed hotel rooms over the conference center. This leg of the building is 7 stories, with 5 stories over the conference center. A 9-level parking structure is proposed over first floor retail-oriented toward Greenhouse Road.

The FANMAA regulations state that no part of a structure may exceed 198′ AMSL at this site. City staff has received determination letters (one for each corner or the building and one for the construction crane) from the FAA stating that the proposed building will prove no hazard to air navigation.
Parking The applicant is proposing to add 5 hotel rooms for a total of 300 rooms and increase the number of parking spaces in the garage by 96 for a total of 902 parking spaces. The hotel/retail center is designed to initiate the development of the University-defined Innovation District. If parking in the garage is designed to be shared with future development in the area, City staff is not opposed to the increase of structured parking spaces.

Bicycle/Pedestrian Facilities The applicant has added a pedestrian connection and crosswalk that addresses a City staff concern and is now showing a location for a future bike-share station. City staff supports these additions and encourages the applicant to continue making the site as pedestrian- and bike friendly as possible. The applicant did not follow the City Council and City staff suggestion concerning adding 89 bicycle parking spaces to comply with the shared parking formula. The applicant has not added any bicycle parking spaces from their previous submission even though they have increased their vehicular parking by 96 spaces. City staff feels strongly that the additional bicycle parking standard should be met at this location given the proximity to the University and the City-University initiative to promote bicycling in this section of College Park. City staff continues to recommend providing a total of 219 spaces based on the shared parking formula in the Sector Plan.

Signage The applicant has revised their signage package to reduce the number of signs proposed and reduce the overall square footage of signage except for the electronic message center (EMC) sign which has been increased in size. City staff is not opposed to the new sign package except for the proposed EMC sign. Originally, the applicant proposed two electronic message signs, each 133.36 square-feet to be located on the north and south elevations at a height of 80 feet to be visible from US 1. This highway is very busy with University buildings and activities located along both sides of the roads. City staff did not support these signs which can only be permitted through a modification to the Sector Plan because City staff was concerned that the flashing messages, to change every 5 seconds, could prove distracting to drivers on US 1 and create unsafe conditions. In fact, the speed limit was recently reduced to 25 MPH to address the number of pedestrian-vehicular accidents that have occurred recently in this area. Now, the applicant is proposing a 390 square-foot EMC sign to be located on the north elevation at a height of 72 feet. Since this sign is proposed to be three times larger and still targets US 1 traffic, City staffs concerns remain. If the applicant would consider: relocating the sign, possibly to the west elevation of the parking garage, substantially reducing the size back down to the originally proposed 133.36 square feet, and lowering the height of the sign to a pedestrian/bicycle user level, then City staff may support this type of sign.
Previously, three logo signs for Southern Management Corporation were proposed on the North, South, and West elevations. Now the applicant is only proposing two logo signs to be located on the West and South elevations on the upper floors. City staff is not opposed to these signs at these locations

City Recommendation
Based on the revised submittal, City staff has revised their recommendation as follows: City staff recommends approval of Detailed Site Plan (DSP) 14022 subject to the following conditions:

1. Prior to certification, the Applicant shall revise the site plan to provide an additional 89 bicycle parking spaces for a total of 219 spaces ( 1 space per 3 vehicular parking spaces as computed under the shared parking formula) for a 806-space garage.

2. If facade modifications are made by the Applicant or are required by the Planning Board, prior to certification, the applicant shall provide copies to the City of College Park Staff for review with the Urban Design Section ofM-NCPPC.

3. Prior to certification, the Applicant shall revise the sign plan to eliminate the 390 squarefoot electronic message center sign located between the 51h and 6th floors at the north elevation. An electronic message center sign could be acceptable if the size is reduced and relocated to the west elevation of the parking garage at the hotel entrance on South Hotel Drive.

4. Prior to certification, the Applicant shall revise the landscape plan to:
a. Provide a detail to show how trees will be planted on the green roof. b. Provide a planting plan and plant schedule for the northwest comer green roof. c. Replace the Japanese Blood Grass species which is invasive with a non-invasive species. d. Replace the Pin Oaks with another species due to pH and branching concerns. e. Revise the plant schedule to accurately reflect the landscape plan, Sheet LS-1.

5. City support of the modification request to allow an increase in parking spaces is subject to the parking garage being a shared parking facility within the larger innovation district.

6. Prior to Planning Board approval of the DSP, the Applicant shall sign an Agreement with the City of College Park in substantially the form attached, including the following:
a. The applicant, its successors and assigns, shall reimburse the City for all costs of maintenance and operation of pedestrian street lights within the SHA right-of-way and shall enter into an Agreement, requiring reimbursement, which shall be recorded against the Property.
b. Prior to obtaining a building permit, the Applicant shall: 1. Pay the sum of$45,000 to the City of College Park for the installation and operation of an 11 dock:/6 bike-share station on or near the subject property. n. Designate the City of College Park Planning Director as a team member in the USGBC’s LEED Online system. The City’s team member will have privileges to review the project status and monitor the progress of all documents submitted by the project team.

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