BY JEFF GILL
With construction under way on Flowery Branch’s first hotel, City Council is looking to adopt a 5 percent hotel-motel tax.
Council is scheduled to discuss the matter and possibly give its first OK to the tax at today’s regularly scheduled meeting, which is set to begin at 9:30 a.m. at City Hall, 5517 Main St.
According to state law, Flowery Branch could use the tax revenue to promote tourism, conventions and trade shows.
The city would keep the first 3 percent of the tax and the remaining 2 percent would go to the Lake Lanier Convention & Visitors Bureau, as long as most of that contribution is "used for advertising and promoting the city and its surrounding area and the city has representation on the (CVB)," according the proposed ordinance.
A Hampton Inn & Suites hotel is being built on Holland Dam Road next to the BP gas station off Spout Springs Road and Interstate 985. The 84-unit, five-story hotel sits on two acres.
Hotel owner Yogesh Patel said he hopes the hotel, one of the tallest structures in South Hall, will be completed by Oct. 15.
The hotel is being built using stacked stone and brick, featuring a current Hampton Inn design and matching up with the architectural style of the Stonebridge Village shopping center, which is nearby on Spout Springs Road.
"We are trying to stay in tune with the area," Patel said. "And it was one of the city’s requirements."
He said he believes that with growth and business activity in the area, and the Atlanta Falcons headquarters nearby on Hog Mountain Road, "we should do well."
City planning director James Riker said he doesn’t know of anyone else looking to build a hotel in the city.
In other business, the council is set to give final consideration to a proposed new historic district for the town.
The city is looking to merge two districts into one, cutting out some properties not deemed as historically significant, such as the sewer plant.
The proposal has drawn ire from many town residents and property owners in the planned district, complaining that its regulations represent too much government intrusion. Some have said the city’s zoning laws are adequate in governing properties.
The council approved the ordinance on first reading in July with no comment from three of four members attending the meeting. Councilman Chris Fetterman voted against the district, saying, "this is a clear case of government gone wild."
Also, the council will consider approving a beer and wine license for Shane’s Rib Shack in Stonebridge Village and a beer, wine and liquor license for Lake House Bar and Grill at 5466 McEver Road.