A parcel on the upper peninsula won't be added to Charleston's hotel zone after a rare 7-6 denial from City Council last week.
The half-acre parcel on the south side of Huger Street currently houses a one-story warehouse. The Eastside Baptist Church is behind the lot, and a couple of dilapidated buildings are on either side.
An undeveloped lot across the street where a hotel and parking project is planned and a large nearby parcel at the corner of Meeting and Huger streets — the location of the Meeting Street Lofts apartment complex — are already included in the overlay.
The property owner and applicant, Ben Chase of Chase Furniture Co., told members of council Tuesday that his request did not conflict with the "past, present or newest proposed hotel ordinances.”
A hotel task force, which included Mayor John Tecklenburg and three members of council, recently developed new rules aimed at reining in the development of accommodations on the peninsula. Those changes are expected to come back to council for the second of three reviews soon.
The Planning Commission approved Chase's application in June, but city staff recommended disapproval.
That discrepancy raised alarms for council member Robert Mitchell, who also said he was concerned about a lodging coming to that neighborhood, which doesn't have any hotel developments yet.
Mike Seekings, a member of council who was on the hotel task force and is running for mayor, said he felt the "timing isn't right" for the request. He also said that the property's current zoning already allows the owner flexibility for future development.
"I don’t think that we should punish you because other people came and got to the table and got their hotels before you," said council member Harry Griffin, who also voted against the application, noting he would be interested in seeing the request again, after the surrounding area is more developed.
Votes against the request beat out favorable votes by just one, with Tecklenburg casting the last tie-breaking "no" vote.
Up for review
One of three upper Meeting Street hotel projects from the Charleston-based Montford Group will be up for its first appearance in front of the Board of Architectural Review next week.
Recently, the site of a one-story warehouse at 547 Meeting St. was approved by a city zoning board for a 131-unit hotel. Developers plan to open the city's first Moxy Hotel, a lifestyle flag from Marriott International that targets young, budget-conscious travelers.
The planned six-story property would have small rooms, neon accents and large, multi-use public spaces, said Sunju Patel, a managing partner at Montford. The first floor will include a retail area that would be open to the public, he added.
Montford also recently secured approval for a 191-room hotel at a triangular lot farther up Meeting Street. Zoning entitlements are already in place for another lodging to the south at 510 Meeting, which the group plans to call the Grace Hotel.
The BAR is set to vote on the plans for Montford's Moxy project on Wednesday starting at 4:30 p.m. on the first floor of the Gaillard Center.