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Legal process continues for proposed hotel on lake shore in Mayville

March 24, 2016
By Doug Callen (editorial@westfieldrepublican.com) , Westfield Republican

Work continues on a proposed condominium hotel along the shores of Chautauqua Lake in Mayville.

During a recent Mayville Village Board meeting, Ed Cannon, Mayville village zoning code enforcement officer, gave his monthly building permit and activity report. He stated in this report that he had worked through the month on a project with the Webb family, including calculating variances and preparing county referral for the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Ben Webb, of the Webb family, who has proposed the hotel development, said, "Our position is five stories with popouts. The zoning board considers it six stories."

He added, "Where we're at right now is following the process getting dialed in, there's going to be a Planning Board hearing and a Zoning Board of Appeals hearing."

According to the legal notice for the Planning Board hearing, a special meeting was set for discussion of the proposed project - the James K. Webb five-story fractional ownership hotel with approximately 32 units with restaurant and other amenities. The hearing was open to prepare an opinion of the variances requested for the project and review of the Waterfront Assessment Form to present to the Zoning Board of Appeals.

According to a legal notice for a Zoning Board hearing, in The Post-Journal on Monday, 18 separate variances are being sought by the Webbs for their hotel development. These variances include minimum front yard variance; minimum side yard variance; minimum rear yard variance; maximum structure height variance; minimum floor space in dwelling unit variances for first floor, second floor, third floor and fourth floor; nine accessory use variances for decks; and lap pool fence variance.

The hotel would be located near Lakeside Park, between where the Chautauqua Belle is docked and the former Pennsylvania Railroad Station is located. The proposed 60-foot building would be composed of several stories of cabin-like rooms.

In 2014, some community members expressed concerns regarding noise, traffic, a blocked view of the lake, employment, and potential ecological harm to the lake.

In a follow up, Devon Taylor, Mayville village historian, discussed the history of large hotels along Chautauqua Lake and the Webbs' proposed hotel.

When asked about the new hotel being modeled after the Chautauqua House or inspired by other historic hotels, Taylor responded, "I looked at the plans and I really couldn't see that."

He added that a lot of the older hotels from the late 19th and early 20th centuries didn't do that well other than the Athenaeum at Chautauqua Institution, which is still going strong.

Taylor said that the first of the large hotels on the lake was the Chautauqua House built in 1868 at three stories and 66 rooms. Horace Fox managed it. The hotel closed in 1893 and burned down in 1894.

He said that the only five-story hotel was the Grand Hotel at Point Chautauqua, which was built in 1879 and burned down in 1902 due to arson. Horace Fox had been a manager there too.

According to Taylor, some residents of Mayville still oppose the Webbs' proposed hotel. "It's still pretty divided," he said.

 
 
 

 

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