Hilton’s Home 2 Suites eyes Blythewood site

A new hotel brings site plans to Blythewood Planning commission.

BLYTHEWOOD – Hilton Hotel’s Home 2 Suites is considering putting down roots in Blythewood. The hotel’s owners are seeking permission from the Town to build a four-story, 88-bed hotel building on a 1.93 acre vacant lot adjacent to the I-77 ramp. But without considerable adjustments to the entrance to the property, the 55,672 square foot building would have no direct access to Creech Road.

The parcel is tucked between I-77, the Holiday Inn Express & Suite, Hardees and San Jose’s Mexican restaurant. A site map shows access to the parcel off Creech Road across from the west side of the Sharpe BP Service Station.

But that access doesn’t meet SCDOT standards.

Civil Engineer Jeff Carter, of Georgia-based Carter Engineering Consultants, presented Paragon Hotels’ plans to the Blythewood Planning Commission Mon­day night.

Consensus of the Commission members was that it is a good project for Blythewood but the access is problematic.

Commission Chair Donald Brock ad­dressed the lack of a traffic study and said traffic access to the site presents problems.

“Ingress and egress to the site is a prob­lem,” he said. “I see that the right-in and right-out onto Creech Road is going to send everyone down a dead end street. What are drivers supposed to do when they get there and have no place to go?” Brock asked.

Town Administrator Brian Cook said staff has been working with SCDOT on this issue, and that SCDOT has conditionally granted access to the site using SCDOT’s right-of-way.

“The existing service road would have to be removed and replaced to enable two-way traffic,” Cook told the commissioners. “The access road would need to be a mini­mum of 24’ wide with an appropriately designed connection to Creech Road so as not to negatively impact Creech Road or Blythewood Road which is directly adja­cent,” Cook said.

Cook said the design would need to in­clude proper radii and an approximate median enforcement to satisfy the SCDOT requirement that this access be a right-in, right-out due to the proximity to Bly­thewood Road.

Carter expressed his concern that even after doing a traffic study the options would still be very limited and driven by what SCDOT would allow. He said he felt that the developer would agree to install­ing a turnaround at the end of Creech Road where it dead ends.

Councilman Rick McKenrick asked Carter whether the hotel owners were considering buying additional lots around the site to improve the traffic pattern. Carter said he felt they are still considering that possibility.

Councilman Marcus Taylor cited the ex­treme traffic problems that already exist on Blythewood Road during high traffic times and said this would significantly add to the problem.

After lengthy debate and persistent ad­monition by Brock that even conditional approval would not be the best way to proceed, a motion was made to defer the agenda item until the Sept. 4 Planning Commission meeting. The motion was seconded and all council members voted in favor of deferral.

Cook told the commissioners that he would continue to work with SCDOT and the engineers to address the traffic pattern concerns.

Blythewood Consultant Michael Criss announced that his services to the Town would end on Aug. 31, 2018 and expressed that he had enjoyed working with the Commission members.

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