PARKING concerns were not enough to stop a 77-room serviced apartment development from receiving the green light on Tuesday night.
Orange City Council approved the development with the seven councillors present voting unanimously.
The former Central Western Daily building will be demolished to make way for the four-storey hotel, which will include 44 apartments capable of being split into 77 rooms and will also feature a business lounge, conference room, gym, a 65-seat cafe and a retail space.
It would employ four permanent staff and a resident manager.
Staff noted the applicant submitted three parking plans during the process – the first had 52 off-street spaces, the second had 77 spaces and the third increased it to 80 when the requirement was 89 spaces.
However, the final total would be dependent on a tandem arrangement used when the hotel is busy, where two parking spots would be joined together, requiring a valet driver to take out one car to access the other.
With surrounding business owners complaining the development would only increase parking congestion in the area, councillor Neil Jones disputed the applicant’s assertion the conference room, business lounge and cafe were intended for hotel guests only and would not generate parking demand.
“Why have a conference room if you’re not bringing people to the venue?” he said.
“It makes reference to the cafe – it’s going to be another destination for the cafe clientele in Orange.”
He said the Ophir car park could help in the short term, but the interpretations in the report were “skimming at the edges of reality”.
Councillor Russell Turner said he did not have a problem with the tandem arrangement.
“I struck that exact situation in Sydney, I drove up to the reception, he asked me how long I was leaving the car for so he knew where to park it and after 24 hours, he brought it out of the bowels of the car park,” he said.
Deputy mayor Jason Hamling said it would take the pressure off Orange’s accommodation problem in peak times.
“We’ve been screaming out for it and here it is, hopefully there will be more like this to come,” he said.
The developer will have to pay more than $126,500 in parking contributions for the nine parking spaces it did not provide.
Councillors Chris Gryllis and Ash Brown declared an interest and did not vote.
A Quest spokeswoman was contacted for comment, but could not not confirm prior to publication when construction would start.