WHEELING - Hampton Inn is seeking city approval to complete an estimated $5 million to $6 million expansion of its hotel in the Woodsdale section of Wheeling including the addition of two stories, a new recreation area for guests and roughly 35 new parking spaces.
But Doug Huff, who lives on Corliss Avenue - a small, private drive overlooking the hotel property - is concerned about how the addition is going to affect his and his neighbors' homes, particularly the planned relocation of the only access road to his neighborhood.
Previously, "everything was on the other side, away from our homes. ... It's going to take all the privacy away from us," Huff said.
The hotel's owner and operator, Robert Hitchman, said the expansion is necessary to meet current guest needs. He said the exterior design is outdated, and the building needs additional capacity for larger suites featured at many newer Hampton Inns.
"I want to be able to compete," Hitchman said.
The hotel's plan will be a topic of discussion during two upcoming city meetings. At 9:30 a.m. Thursday, the Board of Zoning Appeals will meet to consider a variance request concerning the building's height, which at five stories already exceeds the maximum three stories allowed in a C-2 General Commercial zone. The variance would allow Hampton Inn to build up to seven stories, increasing its number of rooms and suites from 97 to 123.
The hotel's site plan also would be up for review by the city Planning Commission when it meets at 5 p.m. Oct. 21. That document shows a planned relocation of Corliss Terrace Road to the east, making way for a fenced-in recreation area and about 35 additional parking spaces.
Huff worries the relocated Corliss Terrace Road would make it more difficult for emergency vehicles to gain access. The plans show the new road curving to the left between the new parking area and the hotel's maintenance building before turning sharply to the right as it approaches the graded access point to Corliss Avenue.
"I have nothing against business. He's filled up every night, and more power to him," Huff said. "But when it starts creeping into your lifestyle ... now we're getting squeezed. We have to say something."
Hitchman, however, believes the relocated road would actually improve on the existing one. He said the road's slope would not change, and added it would include sidewalks, curbs and working storm sewers to meet current code - features the existing Corliss Terrace Road does not possess.
"All of that would be improved in that new plan," Hitchman said.