Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Wilmington to agree to additional conditions for downtown hotel including ‘no alcohol sales’

New conditions to the City of Wilmington’s special use permit it granted to Arrive Hotel have been added. (Port City Daily/Michael Praats)

WILMINGTON — When the City of Wilmington approved a special use permit for Arrive Hotel in Downtown it faced resistance and backlash from neighbors who took their complaints to court, alleging the city violated their due process rights.

Now, after months of litigation, the city and those neighbors, Bruce and Sonya Carrell, have agreed to additional conditions for the property ending the need for ongoing legal action. On Tuesday, the City Council agreed to amend its previous Special Use Permit (SUP) to require three additional conditions for Arrive Hotel’s property.

In April, the Carrells’ filed their lawsuit against the city after a SUP was approved for the new hotel to expand to 14 rooms and removed the requirement for on-site residential quarters for management.

But by approving the SUP the Carrells claimed the city was actually violating its own requirements. That is because when the city approved the SUP request from Arrive Hotel no final floorplan had been submitted to the city. Since the final floorplan was not submitted by the time of the city’s approval, the claim was that the Carrells’ due process was violated since they had no opportunity to present evidence during the special use permit hearing.

Related: Downtown residents file suit against Wilmington, claiming hotel approval violated due process rights

New conditions

After months of litigation, the city and the plaintiff’s agreed to take the suit to mediation where an agreement was reached.

“Over the course of the litigation, discovery was conducted, depositions were taken, and mediation between the parties was held on December 5, 2019. Following the mediation, terms for a proposed settlement were tentatively agreed to by all parties to the litigation,” according to City Council’s agenda.

The new conditions were part of a consent judgment and order from a judge — because of this, no public hearing was required to update the SUP.

There are three new conditions added to the SUP for Arrive Hotel:

  • In addition to the conditions stated below, the property shall be subject to and comply with all of the specific requirements contained in (former) Sec. 18-277 of the Land Development Code for “Guest Lodging,” including, but not limited to, the requirement to have on the Subject Property (117 S. 2nd Street) residential quarters provided as a principal residence and a management plan that conforms with the specific requirements of Sec. 18-277(d) of the Land Development Code.
  • Alcohol sales and the provision of alcohol to guests are prohibited on the subject property. Nothing in this condition prohibits guests from possessing alcohol on the property.
  • No plan for exterior lighting has been submitted. All exterior lighting is subject to review in accordance with Wilmington Design Guidelines for Historic Districts and Landmarks, or its successor. All exterior lighting and changes to the exterior of the building would require a Certificate of Appropriateness.”

The prohibition of alcohol sales would not affect Dram Yard, the restaurant located on the Arrive campus, since it was not part of the SUP.

Along with the amended SUP, the city also agreed to pay $7,500 as part of the mediation, according to City Attorney John Joye.

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