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Extended stay hotel application postponed until Aug. 6

Lawrence Township officials have postponed a public hearing on an application that proposes the construction of an extended stay hotel next to Colonial Bowling and Entertainment on Brunswick Pike. The public hearing had been scheduled for the Planning Board’s June 18 meeting.

The board was ready to hold the public hearing on Sheft Associates Inc.’s application, but the applicant and the board agreed to hold off until the panel’s Aug. 6 meeting, Municipal Manager Kevin Nerwinski said.

“There was additional work that needed to be completed by the township, and the upcoming June date did not leave us the time to get it done,” Nerwinski said.

Sheft Associates has applied to build a 123-room extended stay hotel behind the bowling and entertainment center, which it also owns. The plan includes a separate 1,200-square-foot coffee shop building.

The applicant outlined its initial plans before the Planning Board’s screening committee in April. At that meeting, the planners were told the proposed hotel would be built by Choice Hotels.

The hotel would be geared toward clients such as traveling nurses, engineers and construction workers who are in the area working on long-term projects, the applicant’s representatives said.

The hotel would have laundry facilities on the first floor, and a fitness center. The hotel, which would sit near the edge of Colonial Lake, would be three stories tall.

The applicant’s architect said the hotel would be screened from view and said residents who live across Colonial Lake in the Colonial Lakelands neighborhood would not be able to see the building.

The planners were also told the application provides 268 parking spaces, including three oversized spaces that would accommodate large vehicles, such as buses. The township’s zoning ordinance requires 226 spaces, and none for buses.

The proposed hotel has drawn criticism from residents of the Colonial Lakelands neighborhood. At the April meeting, residents questioned the long-term viability of the extended stay hotel and coffee shop.

Residents pointed to vacant storefronts on Brunswick Pike, between Whitehead Road and the Brunswick Circle, and to extended stay hotels in West Windsor and Plainsboro on Route 1 that do not appear to be fully occupied.

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