|Computer Rendering of Proposed Hotel|
By now you’ve probably heard about the debate over whether the owners of the Villa at Mountain Lakes should be allowed to develop their existing banquet hall into a 5 story hotel. There’s already a great deal of support for the idea and, as a local businesswoman, Morris County Realtor and long-time resident of Mountain Lakes, I’d like to weigh in and say that I hope the Frungillo family will be allowed to move forward with this project.
I’ve held and attended a lot of events at The Villa over the years, and the Frungillos are, above all, amazing hosts. Their attention to detail and love of delighting guests is so strong that I know their hotel would be both beautiful and impeccably run. This family has been a part of our community for many years, and I trust them to keep Mountain Lakes’ best interests in mind.
Some people question whether this hotel would look too large and imposing, but after driving down this section of Route 46 every day for years, I honestly can’t see how it could hurt. There are other hotels just down the road in Parsippany, and this isn’t a pristine wilderness. It’s a home for local businesses – many of whom can benefit from guests staying in the neighborhood. Local restaurants and shops could gain substantial business from patrons of the hotel. Just think about how often you eat at restaurants or get in some shopping while you’re traveling. This is, potentially, a huge addition to business’ existing customer base. Charming downtown Denville would be a sure-fire winner in this situation, as would Parsippany, Boonton and Mountain Lakes.
A hotel would also create 75 more jobs locally while bringing in virtually strings-free tax money. Hospitality is big business, and right now surrounding towns are getting a large share of that. This hotel would increase revenue for the Villa, triple its property taxes to $300,000, and Mountain Lakes would be entitled to charge its own occupancy tax – resulting in an additional estimated $200,000 per year. This is tax money that doesn’t mean any more children in schools or extra garbage pick-up. I call that an all round winning situation.
I can also tell you, from my experience as a Realtor, that Mountain Lakes is a big draw for relocating corporate executives. The top rated school system, convenient location and Arts & Crafts era charm of the homes in our community make it a welcoming place. A beautiful hotel, right in town, would be a wonderful way to introduce homebuyers to Mountain Lakes and all that it offers. Homeowners with homes for sale will see the benefit.
There are concerns about water and sewer usage, as well as the construction’s impact on the neighboring Parsippany neighborhood of Rainbow Lakes. It’s important to carefully study these factors, but that’s really the next step in the process after the zoning is in place. If studies show there would be negative environmental impacts in Parsippany or Mountain Lakes from the hotel, it won’t even make it to the building phase because it will die in the permit process.
I’ve never been one to throw my support behind every construction project, but my years in Real Estate have taught me to recognize positive growth within a community. I feel like a hotel at the Villa would be in the best interests of Mountain Lakes and the surrounding towns of Denville, Parsippany, Boonton and Boonton Township.