Letter from neighbors on hotel at 250 Main
As Rockland Residents and business owners (we have chosen to make Rockland our home), we are attracted to the many offerings that Rockland has. We love that we are able to live in healthy residential neighborhoods and still be in walking distance to a vibrant Main Street. We are the heart and soul of this town, and while we happily welcome and encourage new and successful business to downtown Main Street, we need to speak up when a proposed development will threaten the character of our neighborhoods and our sense of home.
You have received one letter from the developer regarding this hotel. We hope you will allow us a moment to clarify some of the points made in his letter.
We respect Lyman as a well-established and talented boat builder. However, the proposed condos were a failed project. One that our neighborhood has been left with for over four years. Though they are now proposing a new project of the same height — it has grown in mass by 30 percent. It is a new use, no longer residential. And we feel strongly that this time around, with the new architectural renderings that Lyman has submitted (please view them at the end of this document), they make very clear that this project is not only wildly out of scale with our residential neighborhood, it is also not in keeping with the our downtown Main Street’s designation as historic.
Height: The proposed building would be the tallest in Rockland. Though it may technically meet the maximum height allowance, it also needs to meet the other standards and intent of the Downtown zone: this includes being “compact” and “historic” in character, as well as being “compatible with existing scale.” We feel that the scale of this building is in no way compatible with the abutting one and two-story homes.
Parking: The hotel is not required to have parking per code. But the applicant has made it clear that they will not build a hotel without parking. This makes obvious sense to us — with no overnight winter parking allowed — where would guests leave their cars? What doesn’t make sense to us — and seems to not have been well-thought through by the applicant — is what is going to happen when half or more of their guests show up at once to check-in. Anyone with experience in the hospitality industry knows that this will be a regular, weekly occurrence in the summertime. Lyman will be requesting a pick-up/drop-off area be designated in front of their hotel — on our public street. The space allowed will only be enough room for two, maybe three cars. What is going to happen when six cars show up at once? Ten? In a typical urban hotel, a valet parking plan like this would make use of the hotel’s property — a curb cut and pull through into the hotel itself. But because of the small lot size and maximum footprint of this hotel, the valet parking will be forced out into our already narrow street.
Traffic: Because the hotel is going to be located at the corner of what is already a difficult intersection for drivers, we are requesting that a traffic impact study be done. We feel it would be irresponsible of the city not to ask how the new, larger footprint of this building will impact driver visibility. Our biggest concern is the location of the valet pick-up/drop-off area. With 2 to potentially 26 cars pulling up at that corner there will unquestionably be double-parking occurring, tourists emptying out on to the street with luggage, it will only be a matter of time until there is an accident.
Design of the hotel: We feel that the images below speak for themselves. We are challenged to find anyone who looks at these and agrees that this will be a positive visual addition to Rockland’s skyline. We are also challenged to find anyone who feels that this is remotely “compatible with existing scale” per the Downtown code.
For the same reasons many of us have chosen to make Rockland our home, our town has now become attractive to developers. While we would celebrate and support a hotel of this size being built in the Tilson Overlay Zone, we are saddened to see out-of-scale new construction being proposed in our residential neighborhoods. Not only is this short-sighted, it is not legal per our Comprehensive Plan. We want to promote & support business, but not at the expense of our downtown, full-time residents. We hope you will join us in voicing our concerns about the height & design of this building at the May 20th Public Hearing, at 5:15pm.
Sincerely, Rockland Concerned Residents www.facebook.com/weloveourtown
Is this a building that you could be happy with being built next door to your home?