Sedalia Planning and Zoning Commission recommends hotel height ordinance change

By Nicole Cooke -

The Planning and Zoning Commission met Wednesday evening to grant a special permit for the upcoming Hampton Inn, as well as recommend a change to a zoning code relating to hotels.

The meeting started with a public hearing regarding a special permit from the Sylvia G. Thompson Charitable Trust for a height variance, to be used for a future four-story Hampton Inn to be located behind Tractor Supply and east of Hobby Lobby.

The announcement of a new Hampton Inn was made during Monday’s annexation petition public hearing at the Sedalia City Council meeting. Council will vote on the annexation during its Oct. 3 meeting.

“(Hampton Inn) looked at both Sedalia and Warrensburg. The Missouri State Fairgrounds was a big draw to them,” said Dianne Simon, Vice President of Property Management for Sylvia G. Thompson Charitable Trust and Thompson Hills Investment Corp. “They came to town right at the right time — the Stud Ram Sale was in town and they had trouble getting around, so the amount of traffic was just phenomenal. They’re excited about being in Sedalia.”

The request for the special permit spurred a request from city staff for the commission to recommend to council a change in allowing hotels zoned as C-3 to apply for a special use permit for a building taller than 35 feet.

“It’s time to do something because as we travel to other cities we see four-, five-story hotels and we shouldn’t have a barrier to that at this point,” Community Development Director John Simmons said.

The current ordinance, adopted in 1969, prohibits buildings taller than 35 feet without a permit. City staff wants to change that to 100 feet.

“The reason we went with a 100-foot limit is in C-2 zoning, which is our downtown district, we have the Hotel Bothwell. C-2 allows for 100 feet, so we wanted to level the playing field with C-3 zoning, which is the rest of our typical merchant zoning in the community,” Simmons explained. “We didn’t apply this to C-0 or C-1 because those are less intensive commercial uses, typically offices, clinics, smaller usages. We wanted to accommodate this as we grow to the west and around the fairgrounds to allow these larger hotels.”

Commission member Kevin Wade asked Simmons where the 35-foot limit came from.

“That dates back to 1969 when we adopted the zoning code and the 35 feet was probably tied into fire department restrictions, as well as the growth pattern of 1969,” Simmons replied. “The reason we have put the 100-foot limit and not higher is because of our current fire equipment.”

The commission was also asked to make it a requirement to have a public hearing for developers requesting a special use permit for a building taller than 35 feet but not exceeding 100 feet.

The commission unanimously approved the Thompson Trust’s special permit request and the two recommendations to council. Council will vote on changing the ordinance at an upcoming meeting.

By Nicole Cooke

Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-530-0138 or @NicoleRCooke.

Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-530-0138 or @NicoleRCooke.

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