A proposed four-story Fairfield Inn & Suites hotel located off Browns Lane is too tall and should not be approved by city leaders, according to a recommendation from the Gallatin Planning Commission.
Commissioners voted unanimously against a preliminary master development plan for the 95-room hotel Monday citing issues with the requested 54-foot height of the building. While the property’s current zoning allows for a hotel as a conditional use on the site, buildings are limited to being 35-feet-tall.
“I’d like to see the Marriott come to Gallatin, but not on this lot,” Planning Commissioner and At-Large Gallatin City Councilman Shawn Fennell said prior to the vote. “I just don’t think it fits.”
The project, which could still be approved by the Gallatin City Council, is proposed to be built on 7.2 acres of vacant property located directly behind the Lowe’s home improvement store on Nashville Pike.
In addition to meeting extended landscape buffering requirements aimed at shielding nearby residences from the development, project representative Bruce Rainey said Monday that 12 feet of soil would also be removed from the site to help lessen the impact of hotel’s height.
“We feel that this would be a benefit to Gallatin and would not be detrimental to the owners of the adjoining subdivision,” Rainey added.
In recent months, planning commissioners have heard from many nearby residents who have voiced their opposition to the project including a petition with more than 100 signatures that was submitted in June.
Some of the major concerns that have been expressed centered around the height of the building and how the development would impact traffic on Browns Lane along with safety and the property values of nearby homes.
“We still contend that it is too big for that piece of land,” said Len Kroeger, president of The Cottages of Last Plantation homeowners association.
There would be an average of 776 additional daily vehicle trips onto Browns Lane as a result of the 95-room hotel, according to a Gallatin Planning Department staff report on the project. The traffic would be approximately the same as an office building with the same square footage.
Despite voting against the development, Gallatin Planning Commission Chairman John Puryear told those in attendance Monday that a hotel could still possibly built on the property.
“If another applicant, or the same applicant, came back with a three-story building… I probably wouldn’t have a problem with it if they didn’t ask for a height exception,” Puryear added.
The Gallatin City Council is scheduled to discuss the Fairfield Inn & Suites project on Sept. 10. The committee meeting will start at 6 p.m. at city hall.
If approved, construction of the hotel could start later this year and would take approximately one year to complete, according to plans for the project.