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Guest Opinion

Doylestown should deny West Court Street hotel variances


The following is an open letter to Doylestown Borough’s zoning board and planning commission.

As residents who live near the proposed new hotel on West Court Street, we are writing to urge you to deny the variances requested for the site. While we are not opposed to the addition of a small hotel on the site, we strongly object to event spaces being included. Here are our concerns:


During the borough’s Long Range Planning project meetings last year, the Number One concern expressed by residents of the borough, no matter which small group they participated in, was parking.

In our Franklin and Wood streets neighborhood, we have numerous local businesses. There’s the Franklin Building, with approximately 25 business owner tenants and only 26 business site parking spaces. Simply Fresh by McCaffrey’s is a welcome business which, nonetheless, far overruns the available parking and traffic logistics.

We are also near other businesses on State, Wood and Clinton streets.

We have the prospect of development of the Stryker Soccer property on the corner of State and Wood streets. We also have other large business sites, such as the Leonard Rose Building at Wood and Decatur streets.

Recently approved borough development projects seem to show at best a nonchalance about parking and traffic impacts. For example, 50 N. Main, which combines an 85-seat restaurant, a 20-person wine-tasting business and a number of condominiums above; a new brewery on Court Street; and large apartment developments.

All seem to have meager or inadequate parking and traffic flow planning in more densely developed areas.

The hotel project proposed for the old borough hall site envisions a 32-room hotel, 130-person event space, a 70-person restaurant, (the latter two apparently may be combined into a 200-person event space), and an elusive rooftop space which, in the original presentation, was slated to be a rooftop bar.

That 72 parking spaces is the number needed for a building handling the potential of 200-person events, plus employees begs the question, “Where do they all park?”.

It also seems to show that either the borough does not care about parking, traffic flow issues, and related pollution, or there is some assumption that no matter what decisions the borough makes for development projects, somehow the residents of this town will willingly give up the prospect or the right to have a decently curated residential living experience.

In our neighborhood, we have an inkling of the fallout. Those needing parking look for the nearest un-metered spots. Those spots are in residential neighborhoods, meaning that residents can often find no parking themselves. Others will simply use restricted parking or will pull into a private property for parking.

Those of us living near the Franklin Building know that the use of those spaces as part of the required 72 spaces for the Court Street hotel project is unreasonable. There are times when the Franklin Building is busy in the evenings and would not be available for overflow parking from the hotel.


The current plan proposes only one point for ingress/egress to the rear of the hotel which would create traffic flow problems on Court, Hamilton and Wood streets. There is questionable access for the required large trash and delivery trucks, not to mention emergency vehicles.

Restaurant/event space

The event space, restaurant and, perhaps, rooftop bar would all exacerbate parking issues and, more importantly, are not needed in the borough.

There are a large number of excellent restaurants in the borough, many within walking distance from the hotel site, which can serve hotel guests.

There are excellent event spaces, in and around the borough which have sufficient parking.

A smaller hotel that did not have a large restaurant and event space would benefit multiple existing businesses in the borough.

Our alternative

We are looking for balance. We all want Doylestown to maintain a vibrant business community and reasonable and fair conditions for residential living, including consideration for parking and traffic flow issues.

We therefore suggest allowing a small, boutique hotel on this site to include:

• 25 rooms

• Provisions for light morning meals and/or light evening fare and drinks

• Adequate parking for hotel guests and some of the employees

• Planning for ingress and egress that minimizes traffic jams and congestion

• Improved site planning with green, permeable areas and better screening to benefit the residential areas that directly abut it.

Kathleen Kerrigan and Joan Merkel live in Doylestown Borough.

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