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New plans for King George Inn land drops hotel proposal

By Stephen Althouse, WFMZ.com Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Aug 28 2013 11:20:03 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 29 2013 06:31:11 AM CDT
SOUTH WHITEHALL TWP., Pa. -

The developer seeking zoning relief for a proposed project at the site of the King George Inn in South Whitehall Township offered a surprise and altered proposal that substitutes out a motel and inserts a 381-seat restaurant during Wednesday night's zoning hearing board meeting on the subject..

Atul Patel made the request through his attorney, William Malkames, on behalf of Patel's Hotel Hamilton, LLC, who proceeded to file a dizzying array of paperwork with the board.

Malkames, who also represents King George Inn owner Clifford McDermott, presented the sworn testimony of project engineer Harold Newton Jr. during Wednesday night's meeting.

Newton testified that by withdrawing a proposed motel from the plans, the overall project would now have enough parking spaces and thus, would not seek that relief from the board. He noted that the entire project, which now includes a restaurant, bank and pharmacy, would have 227 parking spaces for all three buildings, sufficiently meeting the township's criteria. The project would still require zoning relief from a myriad of setback regulations to the properties from Cedar Crest Boulevard and Hamilton Street.

Choosing his words carefully, Newton did not disclose any of the proposed tenants for the project should it come to fruition, noting that at this state the designs submitted included "standard prototypes" indigenous to the industry.

One thing that didn't change from the previous hearing on the subject last month is that plans to demolish The King George Inn remain intact.

The 18th century structure, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, has been known as The King George Inn since 1970. After 42 years in business, McDermott abruptly closed the restaurant one year ago in August 2012.

After hours of testimony and cross examination, the hearing was tentatively continued to October 3rd, pending additional cross-examination of Newton, who will be unavailable to attend that night as he will be recovering from medical surgery. Should he be subjected to cross examination, the board established October 23rd as the alternate date. If not, the proceedings will continue on October 3rd.