Ordinance? What ordinance?
The city of Galveston's planning commission has voted in unanimous favor of a nine-story hotel at 1328 Seawall Boulevard, despite community opposition and a proposed height and density that exceeds the city's current zoning rules.
The hotel is slated for the corner of the seawall and 14th Street, on a property owned by Amir Fadaei. Michael Gaertner Architects, whose projects include renovations of the Tremont House, the Belmont Hotel and the Hotel Galvez, anticipates that the hotel would include as many as 80 rooms and up to four stories of above-ground parking.
As the Galveston Daily News reports, "Under the rules, the size of the lot on which the hotel would rise is too small. Fadaei wants to build a 120-foot-tall building, but the lot size — 20,168 square feet — would allow only for a maximum of 70 feet above grade, or six stories, according to city documents."
This high-density development seems one step in the direction of making Galveston's east end more walkable and tourist-driven, an idea suggested by the Galveston's 2011 Comprehensive Plan and a sustainability study published by Rice University's Shell Center for Sustainability last year.
But does it step on the toes of area residents for the sake of progress?