[image-1]The Francis Marion Hotel received conceptual approval Monday night to install new windows in its guest rooms.

Hotel owner Steve Dopp, accompanied by architect Glenn Keyes, argued in front of the Board of Architectural Review (Agenda) that the windows installed for the 1996 re-opening are a source of common complaints from guests.

“Most of the damage to the hotel during Hurricane Matthew was caused due to water leaking through our windows,” Dopp told the board.

Dopp and Keyes cited street noise from late-night partying as another reason for the major undertaking.

The windows in each of the 325 guest rooms and suites would be replaced, according to the plans submitted to the city. Part of why the Board voted unanimously for the conditional approval is that the updates would begin above the terra cotta band that delineates the start of the guest room section.

City architect Dennis Dowd requested that the windows on all four sides of the building match and blend in as much as possible before allowing the board to move for approval.

The move will also allow guests to finally open their windows up to five inches, which were shut due to water damage concerns. Dopp, who also owns the Middlebury Inn in Vermont, argued that the change is a long time coming.

“Ten years ago, the Historic Foundation and the Preservation Society did not look favorably upon this,” Dopp said. “The Middlebury Inn had the new windows already. Frankly, the whole world has been going this way.”