Downtown hotel wins

Downtown hotel wins 'landmark' OK
By NICOLE MONTESANO
Of the News-Register
Bob Emrick's plans for a new boutique hotel on Third Street won approval to proceed Tuesday.
Going against the recommendation of the city's planning department, the McMinnville Historic Landmarks Committee approved the design as is, freeing Emrick to begin seeking building permits.
However, his architect must first provide wording to show how the application meets city criteria, even though the second story will feature wood siding, which city design standards prohibit. The committee plans to convene again next week to grant its formal approval, based on the architect's justification.
Emrick plans to erect a 21,156 square foot wood and brick structure, with a restaurant downstairs and a hotel upstairs. The first story would feature brick, the second wood.
Emrick asked for two exceptions to the city's design standards - a smaller proportion of window to wall on the bottom floor than normally required, and the use of wood siding, instead of the normal brick or stucco, for the second floor.
In its report to the committee, the city's planning staff recommended it approve the window exception but deny the siding exception. But the committee, which liked what it saw, approved both.
The planning department liked the concept of replacing a vacant glass shop at Third and Galloway with a boutique hotel and restaurant.
It said the project would be "positive and far reaching," its central location promising to "bring many more visitors to the city's core."
It continued, "Use of a property that is currently not in use is greatly supported. Additionally, staff appreciates the high level of detail that has gone into the design of this building."
But city design standards, aimed at preserving downtown's historic look, specifically prohibit wood siding on Third Street. And the staff supported that.
Architect Nathan Cooprider argued that while his design called for less total window space than normal, he felt the end product satisfied the spirit of the requirements. The staff agreed, saying, "The resulting design is equal to or superior to that which might be achieved with adherence to the standard."
It was less delighted with Cooprider's proposal to side the upper story with wood. "The applicant has provided no evidence that this wood would 'blend effortlessly' with other buildings in the downtown area," the staff said in its the report to the committee.
"Based on our review ... it appears to be of considerable contrast in texture, form and color to that of brick, and would, for those reasons, not seem to blend well at all - especially when viewed from the distance of the surrounding sidewalk and street. We are also not convinced by the applicant's claim that the craftsmanship used in the construction of much of Third Street can no longer be applied to contemporary construction, as there exist numerous current examples throughout the state of such work."
In the end however, the committee sided with Cooprider and Emrick, with one stipulation - they must determine a way to show, in writing, that the exception meets at least the spirit of city standards.
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