Medlock Park residents weigh in on a proposed hotel, and the answer is ‘no’Attorney Douglas Dillard speaks to Medlock Park residents about a proposed hotel during a meeting at North Decatur United Methodist Church on June 1. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt
Attorney Douglas Dillard shaved one hour off of a two-hour meeting on Wednesday night.
Medlock Park residents saved him the trouble of answering questions about a proposed Residence Inn hotel for Scott Boulevard. A few minutes into the June 1 meeting held at North Decatur United Methodist Church, Dillard concluded that the residents didn’t want it. It happened right around the time a member of the audience shouted, “We don’t want it.”
There had been signs the discussion was headed in that direction. When Dillard introduced the Danny Patel, CEO of PeachState Hospitality Inc., to discuss the other hotels his company owns, another member of the audience shouted, “We don’t care.”
At the very start of the meeting, Dillard said, “What we see going on in Decatur today is pretty amazing and that’s good and bad.”
“That’s not amazing,” another member of the audience shouted.
Mike Clifford, with architecture firm Lindsay Pope Brayfield Clifford & Associates, quickly went through his slideshow of the proposed project. It would be located at Blackmon Drive and Scott Boulevard and would have about 134 rooms with 167 parking spaces.
Currently the 2.3 acre site has about six houses on it. That’s the part that has made residents furious about the proposal, the encroachment of a commercial space into a residential one. The symbol of that encroachment would be about 4 stories tall. Its gray and brown exterior would consist of smooth metal panels and brick veneer.
When the architect finished his presentation, a member of the audience shouted, “That’s the ugliest design I’ve ever seen. Is that the best design your engineers can come up with?”
Another shouted, “It looks like a prison!”
Dillard tried as best he could to restore order. Later he would say that the Medlock crowd was tame compared with other crowds he’s encountered. He’s best known locally as the attorney for a proposed mosque in Kennesaw, which the city initially tried to block. He said he’s had police escorts at meetings before.
“This crowd is very mild mannered,” he told Decaturish after the meeting.
He told the audience that it wouldn’t be worth continuing the meeting until 9 p.m., when it was originally supposed to end, saying he “got the message.”
Around 8 p.m. he said, “It’s been very helpful. I thank you all for coming. Go home and be with your families.”
Dillard and Patel said they would discuss their next move, in light of the community’s reaction. The company hasn’t filed a zoning application yet.
And the audience left no doubt they’d prefer the spot be left alone. Or, as another audience member suggested, replace the homes with trees.
Don Wilson, a resident of the nearby Tuxworth Spring Condominiums, said he moved there because he liked seeing green all around him.
“I moved to a beautiful area,” Wilson said. “I moved into a park. There’s a park everywhere you look. I don’t want to look at a five-story building.”