Neighbors voice concerns about size of proposed waterfront hotel in Rockland

Engineer Tyler Smith (right) describes plans for a four-story hotel on Rockland's waterfront during a Wednesday night meeting with neighbors. Developer Stuart Smith is standing at the far left.
Engineer Tyler Smith (right) describes plans for a four-story hotel on Rockland's waterfront during a Wednesday night meeting with neighbors. Developer Stuart Smith is standing at the far left. Buy Photo
Posted Feb. 27, 2014, at 6:12 a.m.
About 75 people turned out Wednesday night to ask questions and comment on a proposed hotel on the Rockland waterfront.
About 75 people turned out Wednesday night to ask questions and comment on a proposed hotel on the Rockland waterfront. Buy Photo

ROCKLAND, Maine — A common theme voiced Wednesday night by several neighbors to a proposed four-story waterfront hotel was that it was too large and would block their views.

Developer Stuart Smith and several staff members met with about 75 residents on the grounds of the proposed hotel in the former Amalfi Restaurant space.

Kendall Merriam, a South End resident from Mechanic Street, said he thought the proposed hotel was ugly and out of proportion for the neighborhood.

Smith disagreed.

“I think it’s beautiful. I agree to disagree with you,” Smith said.

Smith said he was seeking a traditional New England architecture that would be similar to the historic hotels.

Drucinda Woodman of Crescent Street said the project seemed to be really tall.

David Wylie of Masonic Street agreed.

“This will have a huge visual impact,” Wylie said.

Engineer Tyler Smith pointed out that from the land side the hotel will be three stories tall while on the waterfront side it will be four stories.

James Davenport of Pacific Street reminded the gathering that where the hotel is being proposed is where Fisher Engineering used to store their snowplows that they manufactured. Fisher relocated from that location when MBNA purchased the property in 2000 and built the current office complex.

John Macone of Mechanic Street said Rockland didn’t have one consistent architecture and that any common sense design would add to the allure of the city and neighborhood. He said that the two former cement grain silos in the South End are ugly.

When asked by a resident on whether he would take the neighbors’ suggestion into consideration in designing the hotel, he said he would listen to them, but the final decision would the owners’ decision.

A formal application has yet to be filed with the city but a pre-application meeting was held earlier this month.

The project calls for 65 suites in the hotel with a balcony for each suite. Engineers said there was more than enough parking for the hotel and a separate fitness center and day care center that is planned to occupy the former Amalfi space.

Marc Frampton of McLoud Street was concerned about added traffic near the adjacent Sandy Beach where children play. Smith said that people using the hotel will not be driving that far down the street but instead turning into the parking lot.

Eight to 15 employees will be working at the hotel at any one time.

When asked about what employees would be paid, Matthew Levin, the director of operations, said that the lowest paid workers would be housekeepers who will receive $9 per hour, which is above the $7.50 minimum wage. Other employees will be paid $10 to $12 per hour along with commissions.

Smith also said he is not seeking any type of tax break for the $6.5 million project.

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