June 28, 2013

Deliberations start for Microtel variance

DENISE A. RAYMO Press-Republican

MALONE — It may be two months before a Malone developer learns whether he can obtain a zoning variance to pursue building a Microtel Inn and Suites in the village.

The Zoning Board of Appeals has 62 days to make its decision in writing, said Village Attorney Kevin Nichols.

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The board met for the second time Thursday to discuss an application from Chris LaBarge of CAL Equities LLC, who wants to build a three-story, 63-room hotel at 19 Finney Boulevard, behind Rite Air Pharmacy.


Several neighbors again turned out, questioning the impact the hotel might have on property values and whether the clientele expected to stay there would be the right element to have around local businesses.

Steve Fleury of 15 St. Marks Ave. said his property values would drop by 30 percent if the Microtel is built, although when asked by LaBarge for documentation to back up his claim, he had none.

“Common sense goes a long way,” Fleury said, adding that location is the prime indicator of a property’s value.

“And having a hotel in the back yard is not a good location,” he said.

Jack Fleury said his main concern was for business people working late at night nearby because of the guests the limited-services hotel might attract.

He said busloads of families visiting inmates at the three local prisons would likely be the guests at Microtel because of the cheaper rate compared to a Hampton Inn stay and that business people would have to “lock their doors” because of them.

Paul Hogan wanted to know if a full environmental study had been done, and others asked what the plan is to handle water runoff.

But those issues would be taken up during the next phase of development by the Planning Board, not the Zoning Board.


The Village Code Enforcement Office had denied LaBarge a building permit because the land he intends to build on is zoned for residential use.

LaBarge, who is a partner in Branch Commercial Development, which owns the Holiday Inn Express and Suites on Route 11, bought the 2-acre parcel in 2005. The land was originally zoned for commercial use, and he had obtained a specific variance to construct an office building.

He had intended to sell the land for the new State Police barracks, but it was built on Route 11 in the Town of Malone instead.

Now, he wants a general business-use variance for a proposed $4 million Microtel that could employ between 14 and 16 people.

He said he should be granted the variance because businesses are already located on all three sides of his property.


LaBarge said during a previous appearance before the board that when he builds, the design would be such that the windows and doors would not overlook the back yards of neighboring homes on St. Marks Avenue to the west.

His plans also include construction of a 6-foot fence to shield neighbors from parking-lot lighting and noise from vehicles.

He said he has met all four of the variance-application criteria.

A previous Zoning Board hearing on June 6 was closed without a decision because all of the neighbors potentially impacted by the hotel project were not properly notified, as required by village regulations.

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