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Plan to Expand the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center Casting
 a Bigger Shadow Over Grapevine, Texas Neighbors

By Bill Teeter, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, TexasMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Feb. 16, 2008 -- GRAPEVINE -- Neighbors of the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center who say they are already bothered by noise from the hotel are bracing for more.

The hotel plans to add a 12-story, 500-room addition and a pool area, and to expand the convention center from 400,000 square feet to 600,000 square feet. It also plans to add two floors to the four-story parking garage.

Residents worry about the lights from the parking garage shining on their property, noise from new air conditioning systems and a lack of privacy from hotel rooms overlooking their homes, said Hugh Patterson, who lives on Silverside Drive, west of the hotel. They wonder why Gaylord doesn't build the hotel addition on open land at Ruth Wall Road and Texas 26, away from homes, Patterson said.

Hotel representatives said that the company is listening and that design changes are expected. The City Council's agenda for Tuesday includes requests for work permits, but the council is expected to postpone a decision until March 18. Gaylord wants time to address the neighbors' concerns, said Scott Williams, Grapevine's development services director.

Residents say they are often startled late at night by noise from the Gaylord's Glass Cactus nightclub. Patrons try to find their cars by honking their horns by remote control, Patterson said. Music from inside the club, particularly from the bass, can be heard at their homes, he said.

And then there's the noise from a bank of chillers near his house, Patterson said.

Patterson's neighbor William Brown said, "They are going to need another air-conditioning system, and they haven't quieted down this system."

Mike Morris, a board member of the Grapevine Northeast Neighborhood Association, said the issues and others voiced by Patterson and Brown were raised at a recent meeting with Gaylord officials and about 250 residents. The association has no position on the expansion, he said.

But Bob Chaplin, president of the association, said that as a resident he sees no major problems with the proposed additions.

Gaylord has been good about communicating with neighbors and about reducing or fixing most problems brought to the hotel's attention, Chaplin said.

"I'm relatively positive on what's been happening with the hotel," he said. "We have dealt with the problems, and they have dealt with the problems as well as can reasonably be expected."

Good neighbor

Gaylord tries hard to be a good neighbor, said John Imaizumi, the hotel's general manager.

"I try to communicate with the homeowners' president; we did these meetings from 2004 all the way through the Glass Cactus opening," Imaizumi said. The expansion is needed because the 1,511-room resort is operating at capacity much of the time, he said.

Gaylord spokeswoman Martha Neibling said a wooded buffer between the hotel property and the neighborhood should offer some privacy. She added that a noise-insulating wall will soon go up around the existing air-conditioning equipment and that the new building's units will also have sound barriers.

With regard to the Glass Cactus, Neibling said the nightclub conforms with city noise regulations, but given the residents' concerns, a second look may be coming.

Imaizumi said the parking garage lighting would be designed not to shine into surrounding areas. But Neibling said there's little the hotel can do to prevent people from using their remotes to find their cars.

As for the hotel addition, the building would be connected to the resort to tie into its amenities, such as restaurants, a lobby and shops. A separate building farther away would essentially mean building a new hotel, officials said.


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