Increasing tourism to Morgan Hill has been a renewed focus for the city with the passing of an increased transient occupancy tax during the November 2018 election and the formation of the Tourism Business District.
Both were an effort to support hotels in Morgan Hill, by increasing advertising and beautification projects for the city. Now the City Council is preparing to vote on a zoning change that could impact the city’s hotel industry once again.
The planning commission voted Dec. 11 on a zoning change for Madrone Village, located at Madrone and Cochrane Road, that would allow two four-story hotels to be erected on the property.
Now the request from the developer has moved to the City Council and set off alarm bells for the community of hotel owners already existing within the city. If the council chooses to approve the zoning change, existing Morgan Hill hotels worry they will be left with empty beds, waiting on a tourism industry that does not yet exist in order to fill the rooms.
In a letter to the Planning Commission, Andrew Firestone, owner of La Quinta Inn and Suites, wrote, “This project in particular would flood this sensitive market with over 200 new guest rooms in the same hotel category, in a single approval.”
The council will vote to amend the use of the property to include higher buildings outside of the architectural style of the existing structures. The planning commission staff report describes the need for the request as, “The Mission California Theme requirement for the building exteriors is not conducive to multi-story buildings and the current 40-foot height limitation will not accommodate four-story buildings.”
“To accommodate the hotels’ architectural styles, consideration of architectural styles compatible with the Mission California theme will be needed for the Phase II area of the [planned development].”
President and CEO of Toeniskoetter Development, Inc., Brad Krouskup, wrote a letter to the commission that came to nearly opposite conclusions from the hotel owners. Krouskup said adding hotels to Madrone Village would allow them to fill space in the development left vacant by failed commercial ventures. Toeniskoetter Development is the developer of Madrone Village.
“The proposed hotel use does not conflict with the existing neighborhood but instead provides a use that will serve and support the adjacent commercial and industrial areas, creates additional employment opportunities as well as additional service amenities for residents within the City,” wrote Krouskup.
The City Council will take the first of two votes on the zoning change tonight (Jan. 23) at 7pm at council meeting chambers, 17555 Peak Avenue.