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Aberdeen council approves site plan for five-story hotel near APG

Aberdeen's city council unanimously approved a preliminary site plan for a five-story hotel at Routes 40 and 715 on Monday.

The extended-stay Home2 hotel will be part of Aberdeen Exchange, a commercial development bordered by Newton Road, Route 715 and Route 40.

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Home2 is a new brand by Hilton, Amy DiPietro, of site engineer Morris & Ritchie Associates, explained.

The hotel also will be next to a Royal Farms convenience store and gas station being built at Newton Road and Route 7. The Royal Farms plan was approved by the city council last summer, despite the concerns raised by one council member over allowing gasoline tanks in the city's wellhead protection area.

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Hotel representatives noted their site will include a walking trail to the new Royal Farms.

The site will have 109 parking spaces, one per room. The plan is also required to have 5 percent parking islands and one tree for every 10 parking spaces.

Primary access will be via Newton Road, which connects Route 40 to Route 7 and parallels Route 715.

Also during Monday's meeting, public works director Matt Lapinsky recognized three employees in his department for being recognized in Municipal Water & Sewer magazine.

They were given framed photos of the article, and they also surprised council members with smaller, framed copies of the magazine cover.

Bernard Backus, of Northgate Road, told the council during the public comment period he has been impressed by all the positive fiscal news coming out of the city lately, like the AA bond rating and $2.5 million from a legal settlement over the MTBE spill at a 7-Eleven gas station.

"I just can't believe all of the things I read," Backus said, noting the city is doing better than places like Harrisburg, the capital of Pennsylvania, and has a better bond rating than Spain and Greece.

"I just have to let you know how grateful all the people of Aberdeen are," he said. "The ones I've talked to are really crazy about what they're hearing."

Backus estimated the city has earned more than $4 million from items like the gas station settlement and savings from personnel reductions.

"If we accept the silent, unknown amount of proceeds, we'll further enhance our total captured revenue," he said. "I thank you very much for being our council and not someone else's."

Bob Hartman, of Paradise Road, meanwhile, suggested the city look into a charging station for electric cars, in light of the new hotel planned by Route 715.

"I think that we should get federal funding for charging stations for electric cars," he said. "We want to knock down on the green[house] gases and all that; well, let's get a charging station…We're going to have an electric future."

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Also during the meeting, the council passed resolutions granting a property tax credit to Aberdeen Family Chiropractic and Merritt Properties for being in the Enterprise Zone, and approving an application for state funding through the Community Legacy program to go toward the façade improvement program.

Planning and community development director Phyllis Grover said many businesses have taken advantage of that program.

"We've really had a lot of success in that. We hope to continue and we hope this resolution supports our grant application," she said.

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