After a lengthy discussion about the amount of parking, the Eagan City Council unanimously approved the expansion and addition of conference space to this Country Inn & Suites at 3035 Holiday Lane, near the new Vikings headquarters.

Hotel debate stresses fears about the P word

   In an extended discussion of a proposed expansion of the Country Inn & Suites Hotel near the new Minnesota Vikings headquarters, city officials expressed concern about what they admit, but do not condone, goes on at the city’s hotels—Park and Fly.
   The issue prompted extended debate during discussion at the July 31 city council meeting of whether to approve a proposed expansion of the hotel at 3035 Holiday Lane to include 55 more hotel rooms and a 90-person conference center. At one point, the discussion became so tense it denigrated to the lowest of levels: trash talk about the Red Sox.
   The proposal submitted by Country Inn & Suites included about 100 extra parking spots, more than double the amount required by the city’s rules. While there is no maximum number of spots under city rules, city councilors expressed concern about “a sea of parking” like the parking lot at Promenade Plaza on Yankee Doodle Road.
   Proponents of the plan explained the extra parking would help accommodate a future restaurant expected to be built at the hotel. The hotel’s architect also explained that soil conditions at the site make the lot impractical for much other than parking.
   For about 15 years, the Eagan Convention and Visitors Bureau has been marketing the city’s proximity to the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport with Park-and-Fly packages, which allow hotel guests to leave their cars in the hotel parking lot after check-out while they travel. The practice prompted concern from city officials out of concern that more parking, and fewer hotel rooms, means less revenue for the city.
   The visitor bureau advertises the packages at local hotels on its website under the name “Sleep and Fly.” Most hotels advertise rates of $10 per day for extended parking, about half the price of parking at the airport.
   Mayor Mike Maguire clarified the issue for the hotel. “First off,” he told the hotel’s representatives, “the ECVB doesn’t make policy in Eagan. They try to fill hotels. It has nothing to say about our parking ordinances.”
   The city council eventually approved the proposed hotel expansion unanimously. In further action, the council on Sept. 5 approved vacating utility easements on the property, facilitating the expansion.
  
  Pair Facing Charges From Drugs In Car
   Two people are facing drug charges in Dakota County court after police found them unconscious in a car, according to court records.
   Jennifer Brierton, 32, of 1530 Glacier Lane, Plymouth, and Alexander Wright, 34, of 5156 Lincoln Dr. #205, Edina, were charged with fifth-degree possession of a controlled substance, according to court records.
   West St. Paul police found the suspects unconscious in a car. When police approached the car, they saw an uncapped, loaded hypodermic needle between the driver’s legs. They also saw a needle in Wright’s possession and a bag of what they suspected was a controlled substance.
   Police seized the paraphernalia and suspected drugs. The suspected drugs field tested positive for methamphetamine.
   Upon questioning by police, Brierton admitted she had been using methamphetamine for seven months and had lost her children because of her drug use, according to court records.
   Wright admitted to using drugs since age 11, according to police. A rock found in his possession by police field tested positive for .02 grams of heroin, according to court records.
Council Eases Liquor Rules  
   The Eagan City Council July 31 voted to amend the city’s liquor ordinance to allow casual restaurants to obtain liquor licenses.
   The unanimous vote eases the city’s restrictions on liquor licenses, bringing Eagan’s rules in line with less restrictive state requirements.
   There was no public opposition to the change.