A developer who hoped to build a four-story hotel on Astoria’s waterfront may be on the hook to take care of overgrown weeds around a shuttered restaurant on the property.
City Manager Brett Estes said Tuesday he will talk with Hollander Hospitality about the landscaping and tall grass on lots the Bellingham, Washington, company owns off Marine Drive and Second Street, home to the former Stephanie’s Cabin and The Ship Inn.
The unkempt state of landscaping around Stephanie’s Cabin, in particular, prompted complaints from the community and from the Design Review Committee at hearings for the hotel proposal in June and again at meetings on Tuesday. Estes said if Hollander doesn’t address the overgrown areas around Stephanie’s Cabin, the city will proceed to code enforcement.
In June, the Design Review Committee and the Historic Landmarks Commission tentatively denied Hollander’s proposal to build a four-story, 66-room hotel next to the Ship Inn, citing a variety of concerns that included the size and appearance of the new building as well as how it incorporated the Ship Inn as a lobby and restricted river and bridge views. On Tuesday, both boards adopted findings of fact to reflect the reasons for the denials.
No one from Hollander Hospitality was present at the meetings on Tuesday. Company representatives told Estes they would not be attending, but asked to be kept in the loop on the final findings of fact. The reasons behind the denials could provide a guideline for what may pass muster in the future.
With the reasons for the denials finalized, Hollander has the option to appeal. The company has not seemed interested in taking that route, though, Estes said.
In June, a company representative said Hollander would likely look at other plans, and that there was flexibility to change the hotel’s appearance and incorporate the community and city critiques. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.
The company is under no city-imposed deadlines to begin developing the lots off Marine Drive.
Hollander held a community meeting earlier this year to discuss the design of the proposed hotel, but was criticized for presenting plans at the June hearings that appeared unchanged from earlier drafts.
People who testified against the proposal said the plans did not reflect feedback the company received from the community.
“If they get anything through this, it is that they need to listen,” Jared Rickenbach, the president of the Design Review Committee, said Tuesday.
“They didn’t listen enough to mow the lawn yet, though,” said committee member Sarah Jane Bardy.