WILMINGTON — A controversial plan to re-enable accommodation at 34 Look Road has been approved by the Development Review Board in a 3-1 decision.
Neighbors voiced their opposition to the project at a DRB hearing in April. The owners, a company named 34 Look Road LLC after the address, needed approval to change the use of the property to allow group-only rentals with a two-day minimum.
Only one group could rent the inn at a time, Yisroel Teitlebaum of 34 Look Road LLC told council during the hearing.
After a year without lodging, Nordic Hills Lodge has returned to residential ownership. Neighbors argued that the property had not been used as a hostel since around 2014.
Lance Shader, a solicitor for the plaintiff, told the council that one of the former owners included “the infamous club…which broke down”. He was referring to the Hermitage Club, which is now owned by members who bought it at a bankruptcy auction after financial troubles plagued the previous owner.
Terry Perkins and Deborah Strawn-Perkins owned the inn before the Hermitage, which used it for employee housing, then the couple bought it from the city in a tax sale in 2019 after the club failed. did not pay taxes. The couple did not reopen the inn and later sold it to Teitlebaum’s group.
Teitlebaum told the council that small weddings, corporate retreats and family reunions would be events to be hosted on the property. For occupancy, the property can accommodate a maximum of 88 people and the accommodation building has 31 rooms.
According to the decision approved on Thursday, the property will not be rented for less than two nights and stays will not exceed 30 nights. The pool can be used from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and only by property guests.
During the hearing, Teitlebaum said renovations were underway to turn a garage into a synagogue for the property’s guests only. However, this project was not part of the application.
In its decision, the council said the garage “can only be used as the original use of the garage”.
“Any changes to the plans will require administrative approval from the zoning administrator and/or review by the Development Review Board, in accordance with the order,” the decision states. “[T]the owner cannot increase the degree of non-compliance on the lot at 34 Look Road; this includes, but is not limited to, the construction of new accessory buildings, new uses, new recreation areas or new dwellings beyond what already exists, as any modification of the plot to accommodate increased activities of the flag will have an undue effect on the character of the area.”
Addressing concerns that the accommodation would add traffic and noise to the area, Teitlebaum told the board that the property would be very busy and possibly full on holidays or weekends during ski seasons. whether individuals could rent rooms. With groups only, he said, he will accommodate fewer guests at a time.
In its decision, council said the property must comply with the noise ordinance as it is part of the residential area.
“A continuous, permanent, continual or frequent noise greater than that of normal conversation shall not exist at the property boundary,” the ruling states. “Recurring periodic or intermittent noises of that of a normal lawn mower at the property line are permitted provided they do not occur between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. and do not interfere or diminish significantly the permitted use or development of the land of another property.”
Eric Potter, who represented one of two groups of 10 or more interested parties who opposed the project and lives opposite the hostel, told council the zoning is intended to stop ‘non-conforming uses’ over time. He noted that residential neighborhoods do not permit the use proposed by Teitlebaum’s group.
“There are at least 12 families who live full-time and at least nine second-home owners within a half-mile radius who have become accustomed to living in a strictly residential area where noise, traffic and the lighting are at a minimum,” Potter told the April hearing. “We feel we have the right to inform the board that we no longer want this property to be run as a commercial hostel and we believe the impact will be nothing short of overwhelming.”
Before the property can be used for accommodation, owners must have all necessary permits in place. The DRB plans to review the permit one year after an appeal date expires and two years after.
Board member Diane Abate, who voted alone against the decision at a meeting on Thursday and declined to explain why until the decision is made public, could not be immediately reached.