Wednesday, December 4, 2019

#GriffithSreetHotel saga quietly comes to an end...New Davidson Cottages begins

Tuesday night, at around 7pm, the long-running Griffith Street Hotel saga quietly came to an end at Davidson Town Hall.

As part of the "consent agenda" of uncontested items needing Board approval, the Davidson Board approved a settlement with plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the Griffith Street Hotel thus ending the citizen effort to prevent this unwanted hotel project sandwiched between CSD's K-7 building and residential neighborhoods.

See this link for posts on the entire 4 year history of this hotel proposal.

This settlement will pay the plaintiffs $17,300 to cover their outstanding attorney's fees.  The original motion filed by plaintiffs sought over $43,000.  To that effect, a memo from Town Manager Jamie Justice to Commissioners included the following:

"The Town of Davidson has reached a settlement agreement in the case of Charde et. al. versus Town of Davidson. The settlement is in the amount of $17,300. The town has made the determination that it is in the best interest to settle the claims for attorney’s fees as applicable under state law. The town makes this business decision in the best interest of the taxpayers by evaluating the risks, analyzing the cost-benefit, and seeking final resolution to the case. This would be the last action that concludes all matters related to Charde et. al. versus the Town of Davidson."

Readers may remember that both the Town and developer were defendants in this lawsuit.  This settlement is being paid by the Town, but aShortChronicle has verified with lead plaintiff, Luke Charde, that this concludes all legal action involving the plaintiffs regarding this lawsuit.

In a related item, aShortChronicle has confirmed with the Town why the hotel project has been removed from the Town website.  Per Town Public Information Officer, Amanda Preston, "regarding the Davidson Commons East hotel project, our understanding is that the developer no longer intends to build a hotel on that site."

For those who have been fighting the ill conceived idea of a hotel at this location since early 2016, all of this is certainly welcome news.

Finally, as another sign development in this section of the Circles@30 area is moving on, the Board also heard an update on something called the Davidson Cottages o  Tuesday.  This project recently showed up on the Town website after first being mentioned back in March.  See this post on that original public conversation.  The Davidson Cottages project is on the other parcel in the overall development including Woodies and the parcels previously slated for the hotel.

The Davidson Cottages project by Saussey Burbank, proposes 30 single family homes and two duplexes on the parcel up Davidson Gateway on the other side of Woodies furthest from Griffith Street.  These will be narrow footprint, 3-story homes.  When this project was discussed back in March, the developer was inquiring about the possible need to use density averaging to build the project.  This was presumably because if the hotel project had gone forward, this tool would be needed to be allowed to build at this density due to the impervious surface limits on the overall Davidson Commons East site including all of these parcels.

At the time, the Board indicated this project should come up again when the Hotel issue was resolved.  It should not be lost on readers that this developer wasted no time doing so, bringing it up in the same meeting as the hotel lawsuit settlement.  While theoretically density averaging should no longer be needed since this project can utilize some of the built upon area previously designated for the hotel, as of Tuesday, it was the impression at the Planning Department that density averaging was still a possibility on this site.   Per Amanda Preston...

"Davidson Cottages is a conditional planning area map amendment. The developer has indicated that they will need to use Built-Upon Area (BUA) Averaging (density averaging). Per the ordinance, BUA Averaging can only occur after the board of commissioners has approved the conditional master plan."

This project if it goes forward will require multiple approvals, any if which could derail it.  It needs an approval for water and sewer.  It needs a conditional map amendment approval.  It also needs an approval from the Board of Adjustment if density averaging is ultimately used.

So, as one development project wraps up, another begins.  aShortChronicle will be following this one as well all...along...the...way.

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