Residence Inn gets final OK from Novato City Council

POSTED: 10/11/18

Author: Will Houston

Publication: Marin Independent Journal

An illustration shows how the proposed Residence Inn on Redwood Boulevard in Novato would look. (Provided by City of Novato)

Redwood Boulevard is set to become the home of a 103-room Residence Inn after getting the green light from the Novato City Council this week.

City Manager Regan Candelario said the project is “filling a dire need for an underutilized site” and would provide more than $425,000 to city coffers annually — $400,000 of which is transient occupancy taxes.

Don Cape, the project developer from the North Dakota- Illinois-based Tharaldson Hospitality Development, said every hotel they build is a community project and that the Residence Inn will draw in further development of retail.

“I can almost guarantee that you’re going to see some retail come with the hotel,” Cape said. “They like to work together.”

The project, which began in May 2015, is set to begin construction in August 2019, with completion set for December 2020, according to city documents. In addition to the hotel, the Tharaldson Hospitality Development is also set to construct an 8,000 square-foot commercial building at the site.


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The three- to four-story hotel hotel is about 77,500 square feet and is taking the place of the Dairyman’s Milling Co. feed mill on the 7500 block of Redwood Boulevard. This seemed to be a point of contention for Councilwoman Pat Eklund, among other issues she raised, prompting her to cast the sole dissenting vote on the project at Tuesday’s council meeting.

Reynold Martinez, president of the Atherton Ranch Homeowners Association, said while residents either supported or were apathetic to the project, he said the increase of traffic caused by the hotel will create safety concerns at the intersection of Ranch Drive and Redwood Boulevard. In particular, a hillside blocks the view on Redwood Boulevard, which requires drivers to inch forward to see oncoming traffic. He called for a traffic signal to be installed at the intersection to address the concerns.

“You’ve got a fairly dangerous situation already without the additional traffic that’s going to be put here,” Martinez said to the council.

After Eklund asked whether the developer would be willing to pay to install traffic lights at the intersection, Cape said adding such a cost would “break the project.”

Cape said they would already be paying traffic impact fees, which Public Works Director Russ Thompson said will go toward improvements on Redwood Boulevard, though not for installing traffic signals.

Susan Stompe of Marin Conservation League raised concerns about the site’s stormwater runoff contributing to Rush Creek’s flooding problems near the train tracks. She also raised concerned about whether the project’s storm water runoff controls would cause waters to seep into the soils and substrata beneath the hotel, causing it to become destabilized.

Cape said the that the runoff would use a sheet flow into Rush Creek that would have “no means of disrupting the flow” and causing pooling.

The City Council approved project and its mitigated negative declaration in a 4-1 vote, with Eklund dissenting.

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