OSWEGO, NY – The Planning and Development Committee this week sent a businessman’s request for a zone change to the Planning Board for its advisory opinion for the proposed change.
His plan to develop a hotel there, however, drew objections from some owners of existing hotels.
Tony Leotta, city engineer, requested that a petition filed by Chris A. LaBarge for a change in zone from R-3 Residential District to a B-1 Neighborhood Business District regarding 134 and 140 E. 13th St.
The property is adjacent to Ruby Tuesday, he noted.
LaBarge said he looking to buy the property from Steve Thomas, “pending rezoning.”
The proposed project would be an 81-room Holiday Inn Express and Suites (behind and to the north of Ruby Tuesday).
“There is a demand for additional hotel space in the Oswego area,” LaBarge told the committee. “We commissioned a feasibility study by a professional outside of New York State. They have indicated that there is an opportunity here to keep and attract additional business.”
Revenue generated by lodging, spending occurs two to three times what you’d spend on a hotel room, he said.
He said the hotel would be “a building of stature that would be in the community for many, many years.”
He said he has discussed the plan with some of the nearby property owners and several issues and concerns were raised, “of which, I think in most cases, we provided reasonable solutions to the adjoining properties’ concerns.”
One resident at the meeting said, “A hotel might be a great thing, just not in my back yard. Maybe you want it in your back yard (committee chair) Mike (Myers).”
Attorney James Eby spoke on behalf of the owner of the Days Inn, a motel located near the site of the proposed hotel.
“He bought it in 2004 and has done a nice job in cleaning up the area,” he said. “He wants you to understand he is very much opposed to this for a number of reasons. I thought that in the (city’s) 20-20 plan that that land was going to be nominated as residential and that was part of the overall plan. And when business people come into the community, they should be able to rely on the plans and commitments the city’s made. Right now the established business owners in this community, the guys that are paying taxes, that have their business, that have been here for years, they have made a commitment; things are not all that rosy for them. Let’s face it. We’re in a tough economic spot, the whole country, and Oswego is no bed of roses.”
A lot of people aren’t happy with the prospect of more congestion in that area due to a new hotel, he added.
Clustering businesses is very positive, LaBarge said, “Because it attracts people to that particular area and gives them options. If you look at drug stores or gas stations on corners, they all like to be next to their competition because it gives people choice and it brings more people in and gives them alternative options.”