BROOKVILLE — Just over a year after consultant Mike Lindner, Oshkosh, Wisconsin, Hotel R&D LLC Hospitality Research & Development Services, announced, “Brookville is the right market for a new hotel,” the Franklin County Area Plan Commission considered a conditional use application Oct. 9.

If approved, Third Place Brookville Hotel Group LLC would build a two-story Cobblestone Inn and Suites with 45 guest rooms on 6.9 acres at 9135 U.S. 101, Brookville, opposite the Brookville Dam tailwater area.

Third Place Brookville Hotel Group LLC was formed in 2019, according to a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Form D signed June 3. The principal place of business was listed as 980 American Drive, Neenah, Wisconsin, which is the headquarters of Cobblestone Hotels. Jennifer Wilz, Brookville, was listed as the executive officer.

The Franklin County hotel group is a franchisee of Cobblestone Hotels, which has the motto “big city quality, small town values.” Its hotels are located in 27 states. Other Hoosier locations are in Charlestown, Hobart and Salem.

John Bear of Mullin, McMillin & McMillin, Brookville, an attorney representing the group, pointed out the county’s comprehensive plan “goes into great detail about the importance and impact the tourism industry has on Franklin County.”

Member Mary Rodenhuis, a Franklin County Purdue Extension educator, asked about the hotel’s height, noting that the county’s maximum requirement is 35 feet. Bear answered, “44.4, in excess by 9.4 feet.”

FCAPC President Robert Braun, Batesville, wondered if the Brookville fire department’s truck ladder could reach that high. Brookville Town Council member Curtis Ward reported, “We did approve the permit last night for the hotel, contingent upon the fire chief’s approval. Brookville’s board is supportive of the project and we look forward to it.”

After studying a new sewer lift station design, member Ed Derickson, Blooming Grove Township, wanted more than the one safety gate valve shown. Project engineer Jason Daye, Excel Architects Engineers Surveyors, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, said the valve would be sized correctly to be serviced by the town of Brookville.

Vice President Ruthie Mannix, Batesville, asked if trees would stay on the site and the answer was yes.

Braun quizzed, “Have you considered the drainage (of rainwater) from the parking lot?” Daye explained a pipe would collect all stormwater from the roof and lot, then take it to a basin southwest of the lot. Other water would land in a ditch leading to the basin. The stormwater plan will be designed to meet state code, he said.

Becky Codiano, who lives behind the site, said 15 years ago sewage came into the basement. “Would it happen again” with more runoff from the hotel? According to the engineer, “Everybody’s comfortable with the location” of the proposed Cobblestone, which must stay out of the 100-year flood plain. He reported the building would actually be located outside of the 500-year flood plain established by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Member Chris Ernstes, Brookville, said the site plan shows State Road 101 changes to control traffic. “There have been some accidents ... and fatalities in that area. What about construction traffic? Could changes be the first thing to control construction traffic?” Daye said the turn lane is already there. He will take direction from the Indiana Department of Transportation about what they require.

Greg Guilfoyle, Brookville, said, “I’m glad to see your development coming to town. It’s something we’ve needed for a long time.” He wanted assurance the builder would hire Franklin County construction workers.

Stuart Sell, BriMark Builders construction president, whose business card had the same address as Cobblestone Hotels, said, “We try to use local” laborers. He promised to get quotes from area companies.

FCAPC sent a unanimous favorable recommendation to the Franklin County Board of Zoning Appeals, which met right after the planning commission adjourned.

FCBZA Chairman Paula Keller, Cedar Grove, noted the site is already zoned for General Business.

Bear said, “We’re in compliance with local code. ... There is a variance request” for the structure’s height. He asked the panel to consider the land topography.

Ward reported the town’s fire truck can reach the 44-foot height in case of a blaze.

Member David Mannix, Batesville, was concerned parking lot lights would bother neighbors. Daye said all lights would be directed to the ground, not nearby residents’ windows.

FCBZA approved the conditional use, plus the height variance. Member Terry Duffy, South Gate, abstained from voting.

Debbie Blank can be contacted at debbie.blank@batesvilleheraldtribune.com or 812-717-3113.