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Plans for The Wellington Hotel includes 100-seat restaurant, not 230

The Wellington Hotel

CLARIFICATION – The Wellington Hotel owners’ plans are for dining accommodation of 19, with an outdoor seasonal patio for up to 81 people.

A traffic impact assessment report submitted to the planning meeting prepared by the Hambly Group stated the main dining area will seat up to about 80 people and a covered screened porch will accommodate up to about an additional 150 seats during the more seasonable weather periods.

However, owner Matt Buckingham says those figures are drawn from a third party traffic study for another property and have nothing to do with the owners’ interior design drawings.

MARCH21 – Wellington could be home to a new hotel and restaurant by later this year.

County councillors, at a planning meeting Wednesday night, heard an application for development at 192 Main St., to become a 20-unit hotel with year-round cabins, a 230-seat restaurant and store, with a spa to come in another year.

Kelly Buckingham, speaking on behalf of her husband Matt, and friends and business partners Jay and Kelly Sinclair said The Wellington Hotel would be owned and run by two families.

“When we first walked into the Carly House we instantly fell in love. It’s an incredibly well-built home filled with history. You can feel it when you walk in the doors. We want to bring this building back to its former beauty and create a space where the community families, friends can come together.”

While objections to the Official Plan amendment and zoning bylaw were filed by five nearby neighbours, council approved the change from village residential area to a village core area designation and rezoned from urban residential to site-specific special core commerical to permit the hotel and commercial retail uses.

Objections related mainly to the number of parking spaces, but also to compatibility in a residential neighbourhood, noise, litter and privacy.

A few councillors agreed the correct number of parking spots could be an issue, but all concerns are to be discussed and addressed when the site plan comes before council.

“We do understand concerns around construction of a new commercial business into the community,” said Buckingham. “Our goal is to work closely with the County, our neighbours and the community to operate this business in a responsible manner. ”

Wellington councillor Jim Dunlop walked the property several times and is pleased with the development idea.

“It’s going to provide jobs, accommodations and at the same time you have to respect the neighbours. I think the cottages could be moved a bit; there could be a row of trees or a fence or face the cabins a certain way. They have the next few months to get together with the people who have objections and work together to address the needs of people. I think it’s going to be great for the village and we need young families, and new entrepreneurs to keep the County as good as it is now.”

Councillor Steve Graham feels the property would need at least 100 parking spaces.

“The idea of a small boutique hotel which is 20 rooms in Wellington sounded great… but a 230-seat restaurant? I need to remind you that we just went through this with The Drake Hotel. It didn’t work with 13 rooms and a restaurant. This has one entrance and one exit. I think it needs to be tweeked. Far too much right now,” said Graham. “I don’t even know where the staff is going to live because no one will have a house. The village you love is because it’s a small village and not to be overrun by people who want to take every house and convert them into inns, bed and breakfasts, air bnbs, whatever. I don’t think it works. I like the idea of a small hotel, but this is too much.”

A neigbouring resident in support lauded the efforts of the group, noting tourism is what has replaced industry there, since the fire that destroyed the Wellington Meats plant.

“Matt and Kelly are contributing quite significantly to the economic vitality of our town which will help young people stay in our town, and help keep our schools open. It is important that there be economic drivers in this town and Matt and Kelly have basically mortgaged their future in attempting to make this their future and our town a little bit better.”

The project is on 2.25 acres of land on the north side of Wellington Street, between Belleville and Maple streets.

Historically, Wellington has been home to several hotels, notably the landmark Tara Hall and the Murphy House (Wildman’s Hotel) and the large Garratt House (The Alexandra) c1880 resort hotel – then the largest building in the village core.

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  1. Dennis Fox says:

    I would have thought that such a project would have required a re-zoning application – at that point the public process would have kicked into gear allowing neighbouring input to be heard – prior to any construction. Admittedly, I am not up to speed on the specifics of this proposal – but knowing the past problems council has had with noise complaints and the difficulties that residents have had with similar operations, I would hope that council would not allow such problems to re-emerge again. By the comments from some, there appears to be problems before it is even built – why does this continue to happen here?

    As far as the comments re: tourists go – well you know where I stand on that issue – if it isn’t helping to support this community as a whole, then forget it! Maybe now is a good time for council to implement a tourist tax???

  2. Gary Mooney says:

    Anne, you make a good point about the outdoor patio and noise from weddings.

  3. Fred says:

    I believe the Wellington Councillor supported the development. Were there discussions with him?

  4. Anne says:

    The person quoted in this article in support of this project is NOT a neighbouring resident, to my knowledge. I am. And yet our relationship to the property in question (we share 150 ft + property line) was conveniently left out of all application documentation to the County, including the Staff report. My husband spoke at the meeting on Mar 21, articulating the same concerns about the scale of the project that councillor Graham brought up, and that many residents wrote letters about. Why didn’t the writer include my husband’s or others’ written comments? This County administration has made a mockery of the process for “lowly” residents who don’t have the expertise or financial backing to make their voices heard. This was a done deal before the applications were ever submitted. The concerns of noise from a large outdoor patio and event space (weddings), parking, traffic issues, privacy and trespassing issues, as well as affordable housing for staff will come up again and again. But for political reasons, I guess for now the “yes” voters can turn a blind eye and those of us in the area will “take one” for the County.

  5. Gary Mooney says:

    In my March 22 post, I advanced the idea of new establishments including onsite staff accommodations, to deal with the problem of affordable housing for staff.

    In a March 28 Times article on the Wellington Hotel, it is mentioned that the proprietors of the Wellington Hotel intend to do this. An excellent initiative!

  6. Snowman says:

    I’m always amazed how, when an entrepreneur brings a proposal forward, many people on here attack Council as if the idea was being promoted by Council.
    Any one with money and property can make an application to Council. This is how the Public is informed of potential change of use for a property Attacking Council about an application for zoning change is akin to attacking the weather man because it’s raining.

  7. Chuck says:

    The dream of industrial long term jobs with high wages and a defined benefit pension in the County is nothing more than a pipe dream. We lost a 17 million dollar payroll at Prince Edward Heights and it was not industry. Brockville is losing 800 jobs with P & G closure! The most advantageous areas of Ontario cannot attract big industry with the cost of energy and labour so why would we think we are a potential site? Be happy we have tourism for others would jump at the chance if so lucky.

  8. Gary Mooney says:

    The planned restaurant capacity (as corrected in the article) makes good sense — 20 inside and up to 80 outside in warm weather.

    Re my earlier comment on parking, it looks like there is no drivable road to the cabins, so there will be 46, not 53 parking spaces — still good.

    According to a Times article this week, the property will include a second Enid Grace establishment, different in concept from the existing.

    An appealing project!

  9. Fred says:

    Little late to put the genie back in the bottle. This is who we are now. It’s how we defined ourselves.

  10. Ian says:

    What a great idea. . I really hope this project is successful.

  11. Paul says:

    It use to feasible to live in The County and commute to other centers for work when the cost of living here in They County was a lot less now families are just moving away. Keep in mind the reason people commuted to work was because there were and still are not many well paying jobs here, now with the lack of affordable housing even more families are leaving. Picton Terminals could provide some good paying jobs but they are being railed against like other industries that have tried to set up shop here or are trying (chicken barns). The focus on tourism has cost this County a great deal its time for and equal approach of tourism and industry for Folks who want to work and live here….

  12. sue says:

    So, how will the county and residents benefit from this? Aside from what is already pointed out about wearing down resources. Roads, emergency services, litter and pollution, noise – add it to the list I guess …… still not clear why we keep inviting more and more visitors – when is enough enough?….our infrastructure such as water/sewer and roads has enough problems sustaining the local population.

  13. Christa says:

    Well…I would think that like a lot of peoole…you would commute to work! People from the County work in Belleville, Napanee, Kingston, and Trenton. So why not the other way around??? And to the people spouting about bringing “real industry” to the county, what are you proposing? Do you have a business plan or business model. What jobs are you creating?

  14. Dave says:

    What an exciting use of an old, forgotten property. It will be wonderful for the community.

    Good luck to the young proprietors!

  15. Richard Pearse says:

    I don’t get the arguments about where the workers will live. If some of the cashiers at a local grocery store come in from Deseronto and Belleville, why do we assume there needs to be accommodation in and around Wellington?
    As to someone asking for real industry, doing what and what is meant by real industry? Rock and salt? (They hate that in Picton)

  16. Sandra says:

    I agree with Steve Graham and Sue. Council is completely ignoring the needs for housing. We do not need more tourist accommodations. Eventually, you will have nothing but tourists, because there is no affordable housing for those of us who remain.

  17. Dave H. says:

    Well the OMB thought 9 parking spots for a 45 seat resturant here is The County was adequate so 40 parking spots for a 230 seat resturant should be adequate—-NOT

  18. Sarah says:

    Gasp! the pollution, the noise, and potential disruption to neighbors…oh wait, we aren’t talking about a chicken barn?

  19. Gary Mooney says:

    I agree with Steve Graham that a 230-seat restaurant seems way out of scale for local potential.

    Re parking, it looks like there is provision for 53 vehicles (including parking at cabins.) As compared to the Drake, this seems to be a generous provision, as long as the restaurant capacity is scaled down.

    Regarding housing for staff, we just visited Salt Spring Island, off the coast of Vancouver Island in B.C. There are a lot of similarities between SSI and PEC, including problems with housing for tourism workers. As I understand it, new retail establishments require the inclusion of on-site accommodations (e.g. second storey) for staff. An interesting idea.

  20. sandu says:

    Aside from promoting tourism, how is this beneficial to the county and it’s residents? The jobs you talk about are part time, low income jobs people cannot sustain themselves on.
    This county needs real industry.
    And now, we’re inviting more visitors to destroy our roads, plug our beaches and main streets. For heaven sakes think about the people paying the taxes and stop promoting this type of growth. Yes I agree we need business to thrive here, but it has to be the right kind of business. The county has too much of this type of tourist feeding business which only decays the resources and puts absolutely nothing profitable back to the community or the taxpayers. Where is the benefit?

  21. sue says:

    What’s that you say?……..”jobs, accommodations and at the same time you have to respect the neighbours”?
    And….”and we need young families, and new entrepreneurs to keep the County as good as it is now.”?
    Last time I checked, the County housing structure was falling apart. Business needs to thrive here but at what cost? What about affordable housing for people who live here? I’m so fed up with grandstanding to tourists and catering to visitors. Stop feeding the mice. We already have a rat pack to deal with.

  22. Michael Lindon says:

    North arrow is the wrong way….hope the rest of the plan is correct…

  23. Sher Tait says:

    Steve inadvertently got it…..where do the workers live? What he didn’t quite get was the seasonal rental situation. I was delivering meals on wheels a few weeks back. Wellington to cover for someone off sick. Down a lane to one old cottage I found every other house with a seasonal rental sign and no sign of occupants. So where do the workers live? Not in the County. How do we continue to cater to money but not people? It will come back and bite us very soon.

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