Newark Council approves controversial hotel-office building

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The Newark City Council, boxed in by zoning and comprehensive plan mandates, approved a hotel-office building on Main Street Monday night.

A special use permit for the project was approved after a marathon session that ran into the early morning hours.

The seven-story buildinghas drawn fire from residents, with the city Planning Commission deadlocked over the proposal from Newark-based Lang Development.

Despite widespread opposition to the project, council members are governed by zoning codes, a comprehensive plan and state statutes that allow the project, said Councilman and Newark mayoral candidate Jerry Clifton.

Rejecting the hotel-retail project would raise the possibility by litigation by Lang, with a high likelihood that the city would lose.

The development was approved by a 5-2 margin with council members Jen Wallace and Mark Moorhead opposed.

Residents remain upset over Lang not holding a. public meeting regarding the proposal that would preserve one building on Main Street and demolish another in constructing a seven-story structure.

Other objections included the height of the structure and whether it is out of character with Main Street.

The project has received some support from downtown businesses and residents as a needed amenity that will bring business to Main Street.

Parking in downtown would be affected, due to the loss of parking lots leased to the city

Lang representatives say that a small number of spaces would be available to the public, with that number expanding depending on hotel occupancy.

The city has not moved forward with a parking structure or other solutions, despite much discussion over the years. The council will hold a special session tonight to discuss parking.

The Newark Post reported that a mixed-use development at the College Square shopping center gained approval. The project would raze some of the retail space at the center, with new retail spots and apartments.

The shopping center has seen a growing number of vacancies, especially on its south end. Kmart closed its store late last year and Payless Shoes is expected to be next.

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