Plans Approved For Athens Hotel

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The Athens Planning Commission gave the green light to Fairfield Inn & Suites to build a new hotel on East State Street pending approval by the city’s shade tree commission.

The site plan for a new three-story, 89-room hotel was approved by the planning commission on Thursday. The hotel is slated to be built on a T-shaped parcel of land between McDonald’s and Go Mart on East State. The owners of the property are Jack and Sandy Bortle.

Original plans submitted to the city of Athens last year included a four-story, 53-foot tall design, which exceeded the height limit of 45 feet for structures in the city’s B-3 business zone. The Bortles attempted to get a variance from the city’s board of zoning appeals in November, but failed.

Revised plans for the new business show the building standing at 44 feet at its highest point. The Messenger previously reported that the project is estimated to cost between $7 million and $8 million.

While the plans were approved by the commission on Thursday, there were some concerns expressed about traffic flow coming out of the hotel’s driveway. Athens Service-Safety Director and planning commission member Paula Horan Moseley suggested that no left-hand turns be permitted from the hotel. Other nearby businesses, including the neighboring McDonald’s, have voluntarily implemented right turn only restrictions when exiting their parking lots.

Jack Bortle told the planning commission that he had no problem with not allowing left-hand turns.

The project is slated to go before the city’s shade tree commission next week.