Fight brewing over proposed hotel

March 7, 2008 5:31:12 PM PST
There's a fight brewing over a new development in Sugar Land. Some residents don't want a new hotel moving in their neighborhood. The city's planning and zoning commission denied the conditional use permit requested by the developer. Since the developer has now appealed that decision, it's up to city council to decide whether a hotel should be built here.

Just south of Highway 90A and west of Century Square Boulevard sits more than four acres of undeveloped land. It's surrounded by a storage facility, office buildings and is just outside the neighborhood of Alkire Lakes.

"I know there's a place for hotels and there's a place that's not suited for hotels," said Alkire Lakes resident Kelly Ferguson.

Ferguson lives there and worries what a hotel would do to their property values. She and others fear lights from large signs, truck traffic and the transient nature of customers who might stay just for the night. What's more, she questions the type of hotel that might be built.

Tphe developer says he signed a 20-year agreement with Marriot for the hotel to be built as a Spring Hills Suites, one of its mid-level priced hotels, though the city says it hasn't seen any proof of this.

"That could change at any point in time," said Ferguson. "It could be a TraveLodge or a Motel 6."

On behalf of the developer, Kolbe Curtice with Curtice Commercial Real Estate says, "I don't want a budget hotel either. We want a quality development."

The Sugar Land City County has instructed staff to look more closely at whether construction of a hotel there is really the best use of land.

"Any time you have residents and this number come out and express concerns, we have to be sensitive to that," said Sugar Land City Councilman Dennis Parmer.

Businesses right across the street say they are not opposed.

"As a local business owner, we'd appreciate the additional influx of business in the area," said Fields Leake with Coffeworks/Cuvee wine bar.

Those who live nearby, though, say, not in my back yard.

"We'll do whatever it takes," said Ferguson.

The developer says he's already addressed most, if not all, of nearby homeowners' concern, doing things like promising to build the hotel with interior doors and also promising to have extra landscaping around to shield view of the hotel's parking lot. The city says it will study the issue further before voting on it this spring.

We worked on this story through our partnership with Houston Community Newspapers and the Sugar Land Sun.

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