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Despite parking concerns, Valpo Council unanimously grants zoning approval for Grand Gardner Hotel

city of valparaiso website

Plans to turn Valparaiso's former Boys & Girls Club into a boutique hotel have taken another step forward. The city council Monday adopted a planned unit development ordinance for the future Grand Gardner Hotel.

But council member Diana Reed had a number of concerns, including several about parking. "I just want to make certain we're doing this right, especially with putting this so close to a neighborhood development," Reed said.

She also asked whether the council should have more oversight over the recommendations of a planned parking study and any potential changes to the planned unit development. Council member Robert Cotton, meanwhile, suggested that Urschel Development use the revenues from the project's TIF district to build a parking garage on-site.

But city planning director Beth Shrader said she's confident they can reach a solution without building extra garages. "The last thing I want to see is unnecessary parking structures or new parking lots built, when we could just better utilize the parking resources that we already have," Shrader told council members.

The developers plan to use valet parking, remote parking or the city's lots, during events where the hotel's 64-space parking lot won't be enough.

Resident Ken Taylor said, outside of Popcorn Fest, he's never had an issue with parking in the 40 years he's lived in the neighborhood. "So I don't see where . . . having that turned into a hotel and having that facility there will create that much more of a problem," Taylor said.

In the end, the city council approved the planned unit development ordinance unanimously with only one minor change.