The former Hiram Perkins home on West William Street has long been in need of renovations, and downtown Delaware has had a need for lodging for some time as well. Developer Jim Manos sat before the City of Delaware Planning and Zoning Commission on Wednesday with a plan to accomplish both, proposing a 43-room hotel that would be an addition to a renovated Perkins home.
Commission voted to recommend the preliminary development plan, with conditions, for approval at an upcoming Delaware City Council meeting. The plan received a 7-0 vote in favor of approval.
Previously, the house was being used for student housing of around 20 students. Under the preliminary development plan, Manos would construct a three-story building south of the Perkins home that would feature a short, glass connector or catwalk to join the two buildings. The addition that currently exists on the Perkins home will be removed.
The hotel would be made of brick, as is the Perkins home, but the developers said the brick will intentionally be darker to ensure the Perkins home continues to stand out as its own building. The hotel’s canopy would face the southeast, toward Stuyvesant Hall and the Ohio Wesleyan University campus. Manos said he had been in contact with the university on multiple occasions about the project, and university officials are in favor of the addition. On top of the canopy would be a gathering area for guests, perhaps for parents and alumni in town for campus events.
Manos is also under contract to purchase the residential home directly west of the Perkins home. Manos said he intends to use the house as a rental. The parking lot of the hotel, which will include 47 parking spaces, would be constructed on the west side of the building, between the hotel and the rental home. However, the development plan calls for a privacy fence and a line of pine trees as a buffer between the two.
The hotel would have one entry point from West William Street, on the west side of the building, and one exit point to the east. A left turn lane would need to be constructed on William Street for entry into the hotel parking lot. Commission member Jim Halter raised concerns about hotel guests disobeying the right turn only signs as they exit the hotel and trying to turn left on William Street anyway.
Guests staying at the hotel who wish to travel west on William Street would need to turn right out of the hotel and make an immediate left on Elizabeth Street. A William Street resident voiced concerns about the left turn lane at the traffic light on William and Elizabeth streets being a very short distance out of the hotel, and she questioned whether a car would be able to get into the turn lane in time.
On multiple occasions, Manos stated he would do whatever was asked of him to ensure the project was approved and that it was at its absolute best for the city of Delaware. However, homeowners near the Perkins home were on hand to voice their displeasures for the proposed hotel. Among the many concerns stated were the issues of additional traffic, parking concerns on the north side of William Street, noise, and the types of people the hotel may bring into the neighborhood.
Said one resident, “We know what happens at hotels. Shootings come out of hotels, people are found dead in hotels … you can’t dictate who stays in the hotel.”
Although the condition of the house continues to deteriorate, with no intentions for renovations coming from any other source, one resident said making the Perkins home anything other than a renovated, single-family home would be a “travesty to the community and to the memory of Hiram Perkins himself.”
The effects of the hotel on property values was also a popular point of contention from the residents, to which Manos said, “I highly doubt a fraternity house that’s three stories and sits two houses down, with graffiti on it, is going to be any less of a deterrent than a top-notch hotel, respectfully.”
As for residential parking, the proposed plan calls for curb cuts to be made on the north side of William Street to accommodate the cars that currently park on the street. However, with those houses sitting roughly 10 feet away from the sidewalk as it sits now, residents were upset over the potential for losing part of what little front yards they currently have.
Residents are encouraged to attend the first reading of the ordinance at city council, where a public hearing will be included. The next city council meeting is scheduled for Monday, June 11. It is unclear if the ordinance will make it onto that agenda. The public can check the meeting agendas under the calendar section on the city’s website. Meetings begin at 7 p.m.
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @ddavis_gazette.