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Forge Road and Westminster Drive - web only

The South Middleton Township supervisors approved a final land development plan on Thursday night for a new Microtel Inn & Suites on Westminster Drive, just south of Forge Road.

Plans involve constructing a three-story building with 83 rooms with associated parking, utilities, landscaping and stormwater management on a 5-acre lot near an existing Rite Aid. Each of the hotel’s floors will comprise 11,400 square feet, said project engineer Ron Secary of Snyder, Secary and Associates.

Township supervisors approved a conditional use request by Carlisle Investment Properties Inc., in February 2016 for constructing the hotel with a waiver that eliminated any requirement for a traffic study. The board approved this at the time because the developer’s data indicated that the hotel would cause little impact during peak traffic hours. Instead, the developers agreed to contribute $20,000 to the township to use for any general traffic situation in the township. Supervisors also waived an upgrade to widen Westminster Drive at that time, saying the existing road was of adequate width.

Also in February 2016, township supervisors waived a requirement for hotel room sizes of at least 250 square feet. Nine single queen guest rooms will measure only 204 square feet, with the remaining 74 rooms measuring between 276 to 336 square feet. Each will include a bathroom and closet space.

What supervisors did request at that time, however, was for developers to build a walkway leading from the hotel and joining an existing sidewalk surrounding the Rite Aid at the corner of Westminster Drive and Forge Road. Supervisor Tom Faley said Thursday that hotel guests are likely to stroll over to Rite Aid for snacks because the hotel won’t offer onsite dining services.

“We felt that people there would be very susceptible to being hit by cars at night if they walked along that road,” Faley said.

The sidewalk was included in the final plan approved on Thursday, but not at the township’s standard width of 5 feet. Instead, township supervisors approved the developer’s waiver request for constructing a 3-foot-wide walkway. A 5-foot-wide sidewalk would have traversed a neighboring property, for which the owner reportedly wouldn’t grant permission due to insurance liabilities, officials said. Instead, a 3-foot-wide sidewalk will be built across a municipal right-of-way on the site.

Also, the board earlier required developers to install aviation safety lights at the top of the three-story hotel due to its proximity to Carlisle Airport.

Township assistant community development director Tim Duerr said developers need to obtain required permits before construction can begin, which he expects will take “about a month.” Faley said township staff reportedly “got indication from the developer that they hope to get started (with construction) before winter.”