Erie City Council Approves Bayfront Plans

While Erie City Council voted “yes” to approve design plans for a proposed hotel and parking garage on Erie’s bayfront, a new amendment will have architects and the Convention Center Authority looking at the drawing board once again.

The hotel and parking garage will be constructed west of the Convention Center in an area that is now a parking lot and loading dock.

Earlier this week, City Councilman, David Brennan, requested that the Convention Center Authority provide a “community benefit” condition to the project.

This condition would provide something of benefit to the public in exchange for the height variance that the hotel was granted by the Zoning Hearing Board.

Brennan requested a set of stairs that will allow access to the water, a place for boats and pedestrians as well as a community gathering space.

Casey Wells, Executive Director of the Erie County Convention Center Authority told council Wednesday night that there is no room in the budget for add ons.

He said any delay would jeopardize the project which is supposed to break ground in October of this year.

Some council members expressed concern that they did not have enough time to add their input to the project.

Councilman Brennan amended his idea during the meeting. Instead of a stairwell, he proposed to include an 800 square foot concrete plaza on a public access pathway with railways and safety features to be installed within one year of hotel completion.

This amendment was approved with four yes votes and three no’s.

With this amendment added, City Council anonymously approved the design plans for the project.

Project planners say this decision comes as a bit of a surprise and they’ll have to go back to the drawing board to add these changes.

"Well we need to look into it, to see what it really means. Every step of the way we've followed every process the city has in place for this project. I'm glad it got done,” said Jeff Kidder of Kidder Wachter Architecture and Design.

Construction plans are expected to wrap up in April of 2016.

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