Lack of quorum delays hotel vote

BLYTHEWOOD – For the second time since March, the Blythewood Planning Commission didn’t come up with a quorum for their regular monthly meeting.

On Tuesday evening, representatives for Hilton Hotel’s Home 2 Suites came before the commission to resolve commissioners’ earlier questions concerning traffic access to a 1.93 acre site where representatives of the hotel chain are requesting to build a four-story, 88-bed hotel building. The site is adjacent to I-77 and sits behind San Jose’s restaurant.

But only three members of the commission, Chairman Donald Brock, Marcus Taylor and Rich McKenrick, showed up to hear what applicant Jeff Carter, an engineer with Georgia-based Carter Engineering Consultants, had to say. Carter had traveled from Atlanta for a second appearance before the commission. Ross Wagers, a part-owner of the hotel, was also present and had traveled from Anderson for the meeting.

The meeting was delayed for half an hour while the commission chairman and town clerk tried to reach Commissioner Robert Cappadona, who had confirmed earlier that day that he would be at the meeting. Without Cappadona’s presence, there was no quorum for the seven member commission.  When Cappadona did not answer or respond to the calls, the meeting was cancelled.

Mayor J. Michael Ross commented on the lack of a quorum, saying his feelings could be summed up in one word – “Disappointing.”

Three other board members, Cynthia Shull, Michelle Kiedrowski and Matt Hulett, had earlier confirmed that they would not be attending the meeting.

The Commission, which meets the first Monday of the month, it has only met four times this year and in March was unable to muster a quorum.

Because the applicant must also appear before the Board of Architectural Review (BAR) for a Certificate of Appropriateness, a special called meeting of the Planning Commission has been scheduled for Sept. 17, to coincide with a BAR meeting that same evening in order to eliminate an extra trip for the applicant.

The request first came before the commission in early August but was deferred by the commission until Tuesday evening so the commissioners’ concerns regarding what they considered problematic traffic access to the hotel off Blythewood Road could be resolved.

Town Administrator Brian Cook said last month that Town Hall staff had been working with SCDOT on the issue and that SCDOT had conditionally granted access to the site using SCDOT’s right of way.

While those attending the Tuesday evening meeting were waiting for Cappadonna to arrive, Carter reviewed for the commissioners the conclusions of a traffic study conducted by Seneca engineer Roger Dyar which stated that the overall effects on the peak hour traffic flow on the hotel access are minimal.

The report recommended that the proposed site’s access plan should be approved since the site will result in only very minor additions to delay and queues in the study network.

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