Chamblee, GA, July 22, 2016 – by Trey Benton – A large group of residents showed up at Tuesday’s Chamblee City Council Meeting to tell City Leaders they are adamantly opposed to variance requests filed by Mohammad C. Hossain on behalf of Nirvana Land LLC, variance requests that would make the construction of a Holiday Inn possible at 4401 Chamblee-Dunwoody Rd. Residents are so opposed, they are even threatening legal action should the project move forward.
Hossain says his development would consist of a 150 room full-service Hotel stretching out to 88,610 square feet on a .94-acre parcel, currently occupied by an Exxon gas station and convenience store he owns. He says there will be a restaurant, a rooftop bar, 2,700 square feet of meeting space, an indoor pool, fitness room, business center, market pantry, guest laundry room, and vending areas. The hotel will also contain 170 surface and ground parking spaces.
“This property is located in an area that would be the perfect gateway into the City,” says Hossain. “This hotel will primarily cater to the business community.” With the new State Farm headquarters being built across I-285, he says the project is poised to benefit from those efforts.
Residents close to the proposed development are in opposition of the prospect the City would “bend over backwards to break their own rules and ordinances” to allow the project to receive variances allowing the hotel building to be almost 22 feet taller than what is allowed in Chamblee’s Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) for areas zoned Corridor Commercial. According to the Staff Report, the UDO limits the height of buildings in the CC zoning district to 60 ft. The proposed height is 81’-9”. The report also says the proposed Holiday Inn lacks the minimum amount of parking, which is the subject of another variance request.
“I assure you this group is not going to ignore this situation,” nearby resident Bill Dillon told the Council. “We will fight this and we will sue you and we will do whatever we have to do to prevent this from happening. We elect you and our Mayor (in absentia), to protect us from this sort of development.”
Other neighbors told Councilmembers additional aspects of the project would negatively impact their community in terms of increases in traffic and more demand on the already inadequate stormwater and sewer infrastructure. “Adding a hotel will do nothing to fix the issues that your citizens face everyday,” said resident Mike Bryant. “The traffic along Chamblee-Dunwoody Rd. is incredible and it is getting worse everyday.”
The traffic trip generation table in the Agenda Packet indicates the new Holiday Inn will generate 1,226 trips per day.
But Dillon says the variances sought by Hossain are not because of a need for a foot or two, here or there. He says the ask is considerable. “This is not even close,” Dillon added. “This is not a variance. This is a situation where somebody is coming in and saying ‘our tax revenue is going to fill the City coffers and therefore you should ignore the law.'”
Hotel/Motel taxes are a considerable revenue source for cities. Currently, Chamblee adds a 5% tax to hotel/motel bills, of which 40% of the proceeds go to promoting tourism, conventions, and cultural events within the City. Conversely, in the 2016 Budget, Chamblee estimates $420,000 will be generated by this tax, $82,000 more than 2015. $252,000 is budgeted to be transferred to the General Fund and $168,000 would go toward promoting Tourism.
The City Council deferred a decision on the proposal on Tuesday, despite Chamblee’s Community Development Department Staff recommending approval, with 14 conditions (See agenda packet). The City Council will consider the proposal again during their August Work Session.
The case is scheduled to be heard by Chamblee’s Architectural Review Board on August 2 at 7:00 PM at City Hall located at 5468 Peachtree Rd.