An appropriately zoned property for a new hotel has been located and a site plan submitted by the developer to the Tulare County Resource Management Agency. All that’s left to do is the environmental review process that will include an environmental impact report.
Why an EIR? Because a new hotel development that plans to build more than 100 units adjacent to the Middle Fork of the Kaweah River must address community concerns and mitigate potential impacts.
That’s why the Three Rivers Community Services District was asked by the Tulare County Planning Department to review plans for proposed hotel at its regular monthly meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 14. The CSD board was asked to consider the proposed development and identify issues and concerns they view as critical in the outcome of the project.
The CSD has an important role in providing input because they are an agency recognized as a certified local government, the only one such entity in Three Rivers. The CSD is charged with keeping an eye on water quality in the Kaweah River and monitoring wells and septic systems within the district.
Who— The applicant and property owner is Hitesh J. Patel of Pleasanton, Calif. Agent and developer for the project is Four Creeks Inc. of Visalia.
What— The proposal includes a three-story hotel containing 110 rooms, one 500 square-foot conference room, a 700 square-foot breakfast area, a pool, 15 tiny houses for extended stay patrons, two tiny houses for staff use, a domestic well, and septic system.
When— Environmental documentation, site review, public comment, and permitting often take two to three years or longer.
Where— The hotel is being planned for an 8.46-acre parcel currently owned by Greg Dixon adjacent to the Three Rivers Post Office. Two existing parcels would need to be created and combined to accommodate one parcel with the current zoning “O” for recreation. A motel development is an allowable use in the recreation zone.
How— Because the hotel parcel would exist in the F-1 primary flood plain, the project must contain appropriate protection for site drainage, wastewater disposal, and potential flooding. Four Creeks has proposed a levee for flood protection similar to the one built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Lake Kaweah to protect Western Holiday Lodge.
The CSD is currently drafting a letter with questions and concerns, including the following topics: water/septic systems, river access, traffic circulation, restrooms, and levee specifications. The CSD will also ask the agent Four Creeks Inc. to make a presentation at an upcoming Town Hall meeting.
When and if the new hotel is approved, it will be the first major hotel to be built in Three Rivers since the first phase of the Holiday Inn Express (now the Comfort Inn), which opened in May 1997.