Rendering of the planned Hampton Inn and Suites. (Courtesy TKO Hotels)

A process that began in January concluded Tuesday as Cody Planning and Zoning members unanimously approved, with conditions, a plan to build a four-story Hampton Inn on the corner of West Yellowstone Avenue and Southfork Road.

The long wait was needed by the Wyoming Department of Transportation to conduct a traffic study as the hotel will be accessed on Southfork, not West Yellowstone.

P&Z members – Buzzy Hassrick was absent – all said the developer’s changes to the facade satisfied the early worries of the hotel not fitting in with the surrounding businesses on the West Strip.

“The change in aesthetics are great,” member Sandi Fisher said.

City planner Todd Stowell said he and his staff agreed the addition of manufactured brick and a stacked log look, along with a switch to earth-tone colors, solved that issue for them.

“They’re using quality materials and the color scheme fits in with the City of Cody’s other structures in that stretch,” he said.

While staff recommended approval along with a number of minor adjustments, members did add a request for the developer to restrict exterior lighting to no more than 3,000 kelvin for each bulb. Above that measurement the Dark Sky movement says the night sky is too polluted by light.

The developer was represented by John Koehler of Aberdeen, S.D., who is with the ownership of the Hampton Inn, and said that request wouldn’t be an issue.

The lighting was a big one for Jones, who otherwise was pleased with all of the improvements the developer had added over the many months.

“I appreciate applicants taking into account preliminary comments,” Jones said. “Changes to facade, although not classically western, are sure a big improvement. I see this whole structure enhancing a relatively blighted corridor. But I am concerned with the lighting. I see that as one of our assets, a relatively dark night sky.”

Others agreed, and the language was added to a package that presents another big step toward the 92-room Hampton Inn & Suites coming to town.

When Koehler first came to the P&Z with a different design, the public response, mostly on social media, was negative.

As soon as that meeting concluded, Koehler said he drove around the area taking pictures of all the buildings.

“I feel like we’ve come to a good place, good solution,” he said. “We made those changes to fit in.”

Another question people raised was the height obscuring the view of residences on top of South Fork hill, but Stowell said there would be roughly 40 feet of space between the top of the building and the base of the hilltop.

“I appreciate your addressing the height issue,” member Stan Wolz said. “We got a letter from Cody’s premier keyboard warrior and he won’t be satisfied by the change, but I will.”

Wolz said they also received a letter on worries about there being a labor shortage in the hotel industry, but said that was not in the wheelhouse of the board to address.

No one from the public spoke prior to the vote.

The building will have a footprint of 14,984 square feet, and 58,160 square feet of total floor area, including 112 parking spaces – six ADA – and six motorcycle spots.

As for the access issue, WYDOT approved making the inside lane on the Southfork a dedicated left turn lane for Hampton Inn. The double lane still opens up after the entrance.

(1) comment


My top two concerns about this venture are 1. the insipid architecture !!! that earth tones and faux western materiale cannot assuage , and 2. the double whammy of a poor topographic siting that in turn forces a wholly awkward possibly dangerous Ingress/Egress that did not seem to consider the driving habits of automotively antagonisic Wyomingites living upcountry who abuse the laws of physics and common decency when traversing the Southfork hill . What was Wy-DOT and P&Z thinking ( or not ) when they approved the access ?

My nagging question about the business model driving this project centers on the labor pool. Is there a local labor pool sufficient to work the place 24/7/365 ? We hear so much grumbling from other Cody innkeepers and travel/retail businesses about getting and keeping adequate staffing , seasonally or otherwise.

Finally, what happened to Hampton Inn version 1.0 ? A few years ago a developer was advancing an earlier incarnation of a large Hampton Inn hotel in the space created when the rustic Gateway Motel and Campground were obliterated, 1/4 mile back towards town on the north side of the West Strip on 4.5 acres bewteen the Forest Service and Good2Go convenience center directly across from Cassies. That's just a vacant lot now. It was and remains a far better venue for a Hampton Inn with few if any " issues ".

It does not matter that this project got approval because it met all the regulatory requirements. What matters is that nobody convinced the developer it was a bad idea in a worse location.


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