Community Board: Incentivize new hotels

It's unclear which motel or hotel is the site of filming.

We like the idea for reduction of impact fees on any decent hotel proposals coming the way of Hollister officials.
Hollister council members earlier this month authorized deferment of impact fees on a new Marriott Hotel until the end of 2018. The deferment of impact fees has an estimated annual impact of $524,245, according to the staff report. The deferment would be in effect until December of 2018, the city said.
According to the staff report, the city council authorized two incentive programs for securing financing for new and refurbished hotels in 2014 when the city council established the Hotel Transient Occupancy Tax Incentive Program, also known as the TOT Program. The program allows the city to enter into an agreement with a hotel owner or developer pledging a grant of 50 percent of future occupancy tax revenue received by the city annually. This applies to both new or “significantly refurbished” hotels in Hollister for a maximum of 15 years or a maximum cap of $1 million, whichever is achieved first.
Then on Dec. 15, 2014, the council authorized an impact fee deferment agreement with Lotus Management Group for the Marriott Hotel at 390 Gateway Drive. The new owner, Hollister Hotel LP, has consented to enter into a new agreement at the 2014 rates.
As City Manager Bill Avera responded, the program could affect other potential developers and the city would consider those on a case-by-case basis.
That’s fine. But council members must ensure that the program and related review processes are as objective as possible and clearly outlined.
Hotels and other forms of lodging, after all, are needed in Hollister and San Benito County, which has been less-than-friendly toward such prospects itself.
Visitors currently have very few options, and the amount of hotel space available in the area does not accommmodate the number of people coming to attractions like the Hollister Independence Rally or Pinnacles National Park. Visitors could be more likely to make it a day trip rather than staying on a vacation under the current circumstances. More hotels would provide more opportunities to visit local places and generate positive economic activity. But building a hotel can be an expensive proposition, so impact fee reductions can come in handy when encouraging those potential developers.
On a similar note, county and city leaders must work toward making sure local roads are the No. 1 priority. Streets are in bad shape, and the highways leading in and out of town are decades past the point of needing serious expansions. Sitting on issues like the lack of hotels and poor road conditions will only push out any potential for serious economic recovery in San Benito County.

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