The owner of McCali Manor seeks to house visitor suites
Jane Altman, owner of McCali Manor in Mt. Pleasant, is hoping to attract more business to the borough by doing away with the events social hall aspect of the building and adding visitor suites to the current restaurant located in the center of town at 462 W. Main St.
Altman said the community has spoken through their actions that there's no need for another social hall for weddings or business meetings since reservations for such events are down.
Instead, Altman has seen a big need for visitor suites, or mini-apartments that would hold families or visitors on a temporary basis, but longer than the normal hotel stay.
“I see doctors who come in for business or grandparents who live far away that come in for the summer who need a place to stay,” she said.
Altman is proposing rooms to fulfill just such needs that would house people for longer periods of time, but not permanently. The rooms would come complete with a kitchenette.
She is currently in the process of making this plan a reality, but one issue that has arisen is the zoning of the business.
Altman has been working with the code enforcement/inspection company Building Inspection Underwriters that the borough uses, and the question that has come up is if the borough is allowed to issue a permit for the renovations under the current business zoning.
Councilman Fred McCloy said he feels the concept will make the property a multiple family dwelling, which does not fall under the current zoning.
Borough Manager Jeff Landy said he, as well as other borough officials, think Altman needs to get a zoning variance.
Altman, however, said the $1,500 to $2,000 cost for the zoning hearing to obtain a variance was excessive when she feels the renovations that would turn part of the business into visitor suites does, in fact, fall under the current zoning allowances.
“The spirit of the ordinance is clear enough that I shouldn't have to go before the zoning hearing board,” she said. “Concerning motels and the way it defines the word family, I feel that this meets the requirements for a B-1 district.”
Mayor Gerald Lucia said he feels the idea is a good one for the town and doesn't want Altman to think that anyone on council is against it, but council needs to make a determination as to the proper action that is necessary.
Council President Joe Bauer said he and the rest of council will discuss the situation but they would not be able to have any kind of answer for Altman until January.
Altman said the renovations would not change the footprint of the building and would actually lesson the business' traffic flow.
She is planning on having a total of five suites and currently has one parking spot for each suite, so that parking would not be an issue.
Altman also plans to continue with the restaurant and bar that are part of the business and at some point would like to have another grand opening.
Rachel Basinger is a contributing writer.