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NRH Residents Against Proposed Hotel

NORTH RICHLAND HILLS (CBS11) - North Richland Hills residents are pushing back against plans for a new hotel because of its location across from an elementary school.

Dozens of people have sent emails to the city, opposing the hotel, citing safety concerns for students.

The four-story, 112-room TownePlace Suites by Marriott would be part of the Home Town development. Instead of a traditional location along a main highway, the hotel would be on two acres along Hawk Avenue, and across from Walker Creek Elementary School.

"Lots of places to build motels," said Bruce Giese, whose grandchildren attend the school. "This is not the spot."

Giese and others have focused on the suite-style, extended stay type of hotel as their concern. With room rates expected to be above $100 a night, city staff wrote in supporting documents that the hotel will not cater to people in transition, or staying for long periods of time.

That hasn't been enough to satisfy some.

"Even at 100 dollars a night, the city cannot protect our kids," said Jennifer Lucas.

The hotel would be built on a two-acre plot of land, across from the NRH Centre, which is a large recreation center, and down the street from a library, apartments and small retail area.

It was always expected to be developed commercially. However, economic conditions changed and development never happened. After a lawsuit in 2011 over land use, restrictions were placed on the land, allowing only public and commercial buildings.

The city already has the rec center, library and city hall nearby and doesn't need it for civic use.

The city believes the hotel would benefit the Grand Hall at the NRH Centre, which reportedly has lost out on booking events including weddings because of the lack of nearby lodging.

Planning manager Clayton Comstock said staff looked at other hotels in similar locations close to schools, including one on Belknap in Fort Worth. They didn't find the school had any concerns.

Birdville Independent School District has met with the city about plans for the hotel, but has not taken a position for or against it.

The city planning and zoning committee is considering a zoning change Thursday to allow the development. The full city council will decide the issue later in October.

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