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Niagara Falls Boulevard hotel plan is reduced to three stories

The developer of a proposed Town of Tonawanda hotel originally planned at four floors has agreed to proceed with plans for a three-story hotel instead after nearby residents raised privacy concerns.

Chan Patel is confident that the shorter Holiday Inn Express he has proposed for Niagara Falls Boulevard, between Forbes and Thistle avenues, will be approved by the hotel chain, Patel’s attorney, Sean W. Hopkins, said Monday.

“It’s a major concession by my client and reflects their efforts to address the opposition that’s been raised,” Hopkins said. “It really is a big deal.”

Residents of the Parkview neighborhood have argued that at four stories and 50 feet tall, the hotel would be more than twice as tall as the average home behind it and allow guests on the upper floors an unobstructed view into their backyards and homes. A three-story hotel would be approximately 40 feet tall. Residents applauded the announcement Monday.

“I think everyone has a victory here,” said Nadine Ocasio of Dexter Terrace, which runs parallel to the boulevard and is one block west. “They get their hotel, we get a good neighbor, and we’re happy that people won’t be peering in our backyards.”

The $8 million to $10 million project by Patel, under the name Darien Lake Buffalo LLC, would be the first new hotel in the town in at least two decades. The four parcels at 2382-2424 Niagara Falls Blvd. have been deteriorating for years.

Town officials who have been working on the proposal since it was proposed more than two years ago were also pleased by the recent development.

“It seems like this is a solution we can all live with,” said Councilman John A. Bargnesi Jr. “It seems like all the residents’ hard work has paid off where we can build a three-story hotel and hopefully this is something that everybody will be happy with.”

To still accommodate the hotel’s 84 rooms, Hopkins said, the hotel’s footprint will be extended south onto a parcel that wasn’t part of the original design. A row of 10-foot-tall Serbian spruce trees between the homes and hotel, fencing and other landscaping have also been incorporated into the plans.

“We’ve really tried to work together, and this is an outcome that in the end will be acceptable to everyone,” Hopkins said.

The controversy may not be over, however. The residents also oppose a planned entrance and exit for vehicles on Forbes, which they fear will bring more traffic west into their neighborhood because there’s no light at the intersection of Forbes and the boulevard.

As of Monday, that entrance was still part of the plans, Hopkins said. The developer is hoping to submit revised site plans to the town Planning Board in time for consideration at its July 1 meeting, he said.

“I don’t know if we’re going to have those in time for the July meeting,” he said. “We’re trying.”