The North Towanda Township Planning Commission will hold a public hearing today on an application for a special exception for Bob and Jaimi Patel's proposed 58-room hotel and an application for sign variances for a proposed new Dandy Mini Mart.

The hotel and Dandy Mini Mart would be constructed along U.S. Route 6 in the township, roughly a block apart from each other.

"From everything I have heard, the hotel would be three stories," said Gerald Sheets, North Towanda Township code enforcement officer.

However, the Patels want the option of adding a fourth story to the hotel at a later date if the hotel draws a lot of business, Sheets said.

Putting a fourth story on the hotel would require a special exception permit, since it would exceed the height limit in the zoning ordinance, Sheets said.

Under the Patels' application for the special exception, the hotel would be allowed to be six stories or 70 feet, Sheets said.

"But they've said nothing about (building) six stories or (to) 70 feet," Sheets said. "All I have heard is the possibility that if business (is good) they would put in a fourth story."

The hotel would be constructed where the Maple Lodge Motel is currently located.

In December, the Patels had said they had applied for a franchise from Best Western for the hotel.

The proposed 6,485-square-foot Dandy Mini Mart would replace the existing one on Route 6 in the township.

The variances sought by Dandy Mini Marts Inc. have to do with the size and location of signage for the new convenience store, as well as the frequency with which the message on the signs can change.

The North Towanda Township Planning Commission can only make recommendations on whether to approve the special exception and variances, Sheets said.

It will be up to the township's zoning hearing board to decide if those permits should be granted, he said.

Today's planning commission hearing will take place at 2 p.m. at the North Towanda Township Building.

James Loewenstein can be reached at (570) 265-1633; or e-mail: jloewenstein@thedailyreview.com.