More Work Ahead for Proposed Hotel Development
Several problems emerged on site plans for a long-discussed hotel and airport parking lot project near the corner of Howell and College avenues.
If one thing was clear when site plans for a proposed hotel development at Howell and College avenues were presented Tuesday, it's that a lot of work remains before the first shovels can go into the ground.
The Oak Creek Plan Commission held off voting on the plans for a 108-room Four Points by Sheraton hotel and a long-term airport parking lot amid several issues that need to be addressed.
The issues the Syner G development team needs to iron out center largely on location.
Mitchell International Airport wants to ensure the development is clear of wildlife and is concerned about a retention pond shown on the plans that may attract geese, Zoning Administrator Pete Wagner said. A development team member said the pond will be dry except in extreme storms.
The Federal Aviation Administration has approved the developers' request for a 55-foot tall building, Wagner said. Buildings near the airport cannot be taller than 35 feet without prior FAA approval.
However, the development still needs Milwaukee County to approve a variance related to the building's height, Wagner said.
Its location on Howell Avenue just south of College Avenue also presents problems.
As it stands now, drivers could not make left turns in or out of the hotel's main entrance on Howell Avenue. Developers said they will meet with the state Department of Transportation in the hopes of an opening to be created in the median.
Also needed: a development agreement for public infrastructure, the amount of green space increased and state Department of Natural Resources approval regarding the location of a storm sewer.
"We have more issues than we do approvals on it," said Plan Commission member and city development engineer Brian Johnston. "I don't think this is anywhere close to being approvable right now."
Syner G representative Eric Nordness did not respond to a request for further comment Thursday.
Delays are certainly nothing new for the Syner G project, which was first proposed in 2010.
Construction was supposed to begin two years ago after the Oak Creek Common Council approved $4.5 million in developer assistance.
But as Syner G ran into financial trouble, including a foreclosure suit, Oak Creek officials recommended the city withdraw its funding. The developer and city eventually struck a new deal that reduced the city's financial commitment by half and kept the project alive.
Mayor Steve Scaffidi said the city still wants to see a successful project at the site, but needs more answers first.
"The project has been talked about ad nauseum for three-plus years, but there's still too many questions," he said.