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Long-awaited Comfort Inn hotel approved in Ithaca

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

After nearly eight years of planning and delays, the Town of Ithaca Planning Board has reapproved a proposal for a Comfort Inn hotel at 635 Elmira Road.

The project, led by Pratik Ahir of Ramji Hospitality, originally envisioned as a Sleep Inn, switched to Comfort Inn to align with franchise desires for the Ithaca market, according to reporting by the Ithaca Voice.

Initial approvals were granted in 2017 and 2018, but financing and the COVID-19 pandemic caused significant setbacks. The project’s progress was further complicated by new zoning regulations under the Inlet Valley Overlay District, which restricts lodging facilities to fewer than 60 rooms.

The proposed 67-room hotel faced challenges due to these restrictions, aimed at protecting sensitive environmental areas and promoting smaller boutique hotels. Despite these hurdles, the project team revised the hotel design to meet aesthetic guidelines and sought re-approval. The Planning Board’s unanimous decision to grant final site plan approval comes after intense debate and consideration of the project’s alignment with new zoning and environmental standards.