In a vote that drew an unusually large crowd of spectators, Lexington Town Meeting approved a zoning change Wednesday that will allow the creation of a 22-room inn near the Battle Green.
More than 120 people filled what is usually a near-empty gallery at the meeting in Cary Hall and many of those who remained after 3 ˝ hours of debate let out a loud round of applause when Town Meeting voted 138 to 44 in favor of approving the zoning changes.
The vote created a commercial district that will enable Trisha Perez Kennealy to create a 22-room inn called the Inn at Hastings Park located on property at 2027 Massachusetts Ave.
The inn will have a restaurant that seats 54 people and the lodging rooms will be housed in three buildings, including the old Dana retirement home, the Issac Mullikan house and an old Casket Factory.
Many neighbors of the property, which had been zoned for residential use, voiced opposition to the plan, saying it would create traffic, doesn’t offer enough parking and will disrupt what is otherwise a quiet area.
Speaking from the citizen’s gallery above the Town Meeting floor, Carol Rose said the plan for the inn is too big and the use is too intensive for the site.
“Concerns raised by the neighborhood have been largely disregarded in the final plan,” Rose said.
The concerns were echoed by Peter Kelley, the lone selectmen who opposed to the inn.
“It does not fit, it does not belong here,” Kelley said.
But after an extensive review of the project and numerous revisions to the plan, the majority of town officials said they are confident the inn will not cause any major disruptions for the neighborhood.
Selectwoman Deb Mauger said if problems arise, they can be addressed every year when the inn must return to the town to renew its license.
The inn will sit less than a half a mile from the Battle Green where the first battle of the Revolutionary War occurred, and Dawn McKenna, chair of the town’s Tourism Committee, said the facility will provide a much-needed place for visitors to stay.
“Can you imagine the marketing opportunity for sleeping in a casket factory?” McKenna said.