Hermosa Inn dips toe into new fit of Paradise Valley footprint

The Hermosa Inn located in Paradise Valley. (File photo)

Seeking to meet the needs of its guests, Paradise Valley’s Hermosa Inn is looking for town approval for some slight adjustments to the property’s footprint.

The Hermosa Inn, 5532 N. Palo Cristi Road, is a beloved resort within the Town of Paradise Valley housed mostly within a residential community. It was annexed into the town in 1961.

In the 1930s, the Hermosa Inn was created by artist Lon Megargee as his private escape before opening up to guests. In April 2015, the Allred family purchased the Inn. Since that time, several previously-approved changes have been built, including a new lobby/administration building, a new arrival area, new guest suites, changes to the bar and various other enhancements.

Having amended its special use permit several times since being issued in 1976, resort representatives are returning to the Paradise Valley Planning Commission to:

  • Reconfigure and relocate previously approved buildings such as the spa, fitness rooms and resort rooms;
  • Add a new restroom building;
  • Relocate the event area with a new tent plan;
  • Add more on-site parking; and
  • Modify and add new landscaping and site improvements.

Paradise Valley Planning Commission heard this case on Tuesday, July 17, where senior planner George Burton laid out the tenets of the application.

The Paradise Valley Planning Commission is a group of volunteers appointed by town council to provide recommendations on a wide array of land-use issues, including: subdivision plats, lot splits, zoning ordinance amendments, SUPs, and General Plan amendments.

The Planning Commission is the deciding body on minor SUP amendments.

“Total floor area and the key count are to remain the same,” Mr. Burton explained of Hermosa Inn’s application. “A point of clarification is all affected buildings have previously been approved, but not constructed.”

Paradise Valley Town Hall is at 6401 E. Lincoln Drive. (Independent Newsmedia/Arianna Grainey)

Mr. Burton explains the resort’s most recent amendments to their SUP occurred in 2014 and 2016. In 2016 the campus reconfigured and re-orientated buildings, added fireplaces and fountains throughout the property and modified and added fence walls and parking area.

Additionally, the Hermosa Inn is considering re-implementing a program for nearby neighbors to utilize resort amenities.

The newly sought amendments do not alter the total square footage or total number of keys. The property will maintain 49 total rooms.

Already approved buildings and additions to be reconfigured and relocated include:

  • Modifying the footprint of guest room building 5
  • Additions to guest room buildings 1 and 2 to be eliminated and square footage used and allocated to other modified buildings;
  • Meeting/event room and storage buildings to be relocated further west on campus and enlarged;
  • Back of house addition to be relocated further north on campus;
  • Spa and fitness building to be relocated from the north part of campus to the west side of the campus.

In addition, Mr. Burton says the applicant is seeking additional requests for the spa and fitness buildings.

“Associated with this, the applicant is actually making a recommendation request to modify the current stipulation,” Mr. Burton said. “The SUP currently states the pool, spa and fitness areas are limited to resort guests and immediate neighbors. The applicant would like to modify that to allow these areas to be available for resort guests, neighbors but also a maximum of 50 members.”

The outdoor event area is planned to be relocated from the western part of the campus to the existing garden area between guest rooms buildings near the southern part of the campus.

Sixteen-foot light poles with string lights are also proposed for the area, which Mr. Burton noted as an area of concern from town staff.

“Staff is concerned that exposed bulbs of string lights might be visible from off property,” he said, describing the gaps between buildings.

For the parking lot, more parking spaces are sought to accommodate staff parking and additional event parking, and discussion of a 10-foot screen wall to act as a residential buffer ensued.

“If the view of Commission is that (the wall) should go all the way to the west end of parking, I don’t think it’s necessary for sound, but we’re more than happy if that’s what the neighbor wants and Commission wants,” said Doug Jorden, of Jorden, Hiser and Joy PLC, who is representing Hermosa Inn during the planning process.

Comment on the topic will be welcome during two public hearings that scheduled during the summer months: Aug. 21 and Sept. 18.

Planning Commission Chair Daran Wastchak says town council had concerns with public hearings being conducted over the summer months.

“Recall that council has concerns with us doing public hearings during the summer for items that with people out of town, there’s a concern,” Mr. Wastchak explained.

“That concern was echoed in letters shared with Commission. We want to make sure that out of an abundance of caution, especially with council’s guidance, that we have a September time after everyone’s back from their vacations.”

Mr. Jorden pointed out that the town’s requirement for alerting neighbors to development nearby isn’t needed until the public hearing, but Hermosa Inn wanted to engage neighbors immediately.

“We have affirmatively sent out letters to all of those surrounding neighbors, that’s what resulted in the feedback you got,” he said.

“We’re going to continue that dialogue with all of these neighbors, hopefully when we come back to see you in September all of this will be resolved. We started that ourselves rather than wait for notice required by the town.”

News Editor Melissa Rosequist can be reached by e-mail at mrosequist@newszap.com or follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Mrosequist_

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