The owner of the Atlantic Sands Hotel in Rehoboth has proposed a 40-room hotel and restaurant on Baltimore Avenue.
During a Rehoboth Beach Planning Commission concept review July 13, Gene Lankford of Lankford Properties LLC said The Atlantic Crown Hotel and Retreat would be a French-style boutique hotel.
The hotel would be built on three lots – 17, 19, and 21 Baltimore Ave. Jam Bistro, 21 Baltimore Ave., would be torn down to make way for the hotel, but Lankford said Jam is expected to move into the new space. The lots at 17 and 19 Baltimore Ave. are currently parking lots.
Lankford said the design is code compliant except for two areas. As proposed, the hotel sign on the Baltimore Avenue side would be 8 feet above the city’s 42-foot height limit and the elevator shaft for roof access would be 12 feet above code limits.
Lankford said the sign is an architectural embellishment, which city code says cannot exceed 50 feet. He said the rooftop sign would hide large, electrical equipment, and the elevator would be used to maintain that equipment.
Bill Bahder, project engineer, said the room sizes of the new hotel are larger than those in the Atlantic Sands. This project is designed on a whole different concept, he said.
Bahder said the plan takes up less than 50 percent of lot coverage. He said it meets parking requirements by providing a row of parking along the Maryland Avenue side of the property and underground, which would be accessible through the underground parking entrance of the Atlantic Sands.
Commission Chair David Mellen asked about additional traffic for the ocean block of Baltimore Avenue. It’s already not an easy place to enter, he said.
Bahder said he thought the project would help with congestion because it would eliminate two of the three entrances already found between the three properties. He said large trucks will have enough space to pull off the street into the hotel entrance for deliveries.
Mellen also said he wanted to ensure the plan takes into account the streetscape.
Bahder said there’s enough space between parking spots on Baltimore Avenue and the sidewalk for trees to be planted with a raised flower bed in between.
A Maryland Avenue property owner said he was concerned about the impact on his property because of the heavy trucks, dumpsters and venting from the restaurant. He said he is also concerned hotel occupants would see into his backyard.
Bahder said all the rooms face Baltimore Avenue; the Maryland Avenue side would have no windows because it is a hallway.
Rehoboth Building Inspector Damalier Molina said he had a few concerns over the project, including increased traffic and how the first block of Baltimore Avenue would be affected during construction. He said he still had questions about what constitutes a story because the restaurant is proposed to be below ground level, with a ceiling about 6 feet above grade.
No decisions were made by the commission during the meeting, and the applicant still has to come back before the commission for an official site plan review.
Lankford said he was optimistic construction on the hotel would start in September, with a completion sometime in 2019.