As Flower Mound becomes a more attractive place for the hotel industry, the town wants to make sure it has some control over what comes in.
Monday the Planning and Zoning Commission recommended changes to its hotel ordinance to address extended stay-type hotels.
This comes after the town approved a site plan in October of 2018 for Home 2 Suites, an extended stay hotel at The River Walk at Central Park.
Lexin Murphy, the town’s director of planning services, said at the time of the approval the town had just one definition for lodging options, which was hotel or motel, and nothing about extended stay hotels.
The proposed ordinance changes are to ensure the hotels that come to Flower Mound are used for a temporary stay and not as a residence.
“In talking with police and fire we heard of some of the concerns you have when dealing with longer term stays and some criminal activity that can crop up,” Murphy said during a previous work session. “And some of that had to deal with someone being in a room unchecked for too long a period of time.”
One proposal is to tighten up the definition of a hotel. Currently it states there must be a minimum of 12 units or guestrooms and provide customary hotel services. The amendment specifies “linen and housekeeping” as a service a lodging establishment must provide to be considered a hotel or motel.
Another proposal is adding criteria for the town’s overall hotel definition, such as including at least three amenities from a provided list, such as pools, saunas, fitness centers, etc.
New criteria also includes 10 percent of the lot area must be open space, having on-site staff 24 hours a day, having room entrances from interior corridors and having a porte-cochere or covered parking area for the check-in.
Another proposal is creating a definition for “extended stay” hotel. Among the requirements is the hotel must have a nightly or weekly calculated rate, with the ability to re-up. It must include rooms with kitchenettes with a stove or oven or the ability to check one out. But residential usage is not permitted.
Additional criteria proposed include on-site laundry services and the maintaining of booking information for a minimum of 60 days to verify how long rooms are being rented for.
Other criteria include a minimum of 50 percent of the units have a kitchenette, a minimum room size of 325 square feet and a surveillance system on the property.
Commissioner Thomas Pickering requested extended stay hotels be limited to a maximum of 23 units per acre.
“By limiting the unit count per acre it controls the height, footprint and what they can do,” Pickering said. “And it’ll fit more into the natural extended stays that you see out there.”
Pickering also suggested a requirement that an extended stay hotel can’t be more than one structure. Other commissioners were on board.
“We would not want it to start looking like a set of apartments but that it’s treated like a set of apartments,” said Commissioner Laura Dillon.
An extended stay hotel would require a specific use permit (SUP) in any district that allows a hotel in the town. Murphy said an SUP renewal would be required every five years, with the town sending property owners with 200 feet of the SUP area notification of the renewal.
“That’s where we would look at code enforcement cases, and have we gotten complaints about noise and criminal activity,” Murphy said. “This is where you get a chance to review and see if anything has gone off the rails or if things have deteriorated.”
Other things could require the SUP to return to the Town Council for review, such as a complaint by 20 percent of the adjacent neighbors or if the hotel is sold or rebranded.
The town must be notified of a change in hotel ownership.