AGAWAM — The hotel proposed for Agawam’s Main Street, now called the Opal Inn & Suites, will be built regardless of whether Shield Hotel’s request for a zone change is approved.

“We will be going forward with the hotel regardless of the zone change. The structure, the parking, the proposal, all we can do without the zone change. It helps us clean it up,” Rob Levesque, of R. Levesque Associates, told the Planning Board.

Levesque, representing Shield Hotels at the March 21 public hearing, said Opal Inn & Suites would be a smaller-than-average, “boutique” hotel, with only three floors and 40 rooms. The hotel would be behind D’ Patron Mexican Restaurant at 1422 Main St., with a new parking lot built for it. The property is beside the Massachusetts Veterans Memorial Cemetery and is less than a mile north of Six Flags New England.

Shield Hotels was requesting a zone change to change a 12,000-square-foot rectangular sliver zoned Residential A-2 in the back of the parcel to Business A. Levesque said this was “a housekeeping item” for the developers. The hotel itself would be entirely outside the current residential zone. Originally, the driveway to the new parking lot would’ve gone through it, but it has since been redirected around it.

“We’re going around it, but it makes sense as anybody would want one contiguous property,” Levesque said.

While the Planning Board was only voting on the zone change, Agawam residents used the public hearing as an opportunity to voice their opposition to the project.

“I would respectfully say ‘no,’ that this hotel should not be built in Agawam. The large risks far outweigh the benefits that could be observed,” said resident David Kreps.

Kreps told the board that the state would use the hotel as emergency shelter for migrants and homeless people. Once in the hotel, he said, it will be “difficult to get them out,” and their children would attend Agawam’s schools. He also claimed there’s no control over migrants’ and homeless people’s vaccination statuses, which would cause infectious disease to skyrocket.

Feeding Hills resident Alice Ditomaso asked if there could be a legally binding agreement requiring the hotel to cater to travelers and not migrants or homeless people. She said she was concerned there’d be “an overflow of homeless, possibly into the cemetery.”

Among other things, she was also concerned about traffic, which she said was already bad around the cemetery.

“We have problems in Feeding Hills Center with traffic,” she said. “I just see this as another traffic situation.”

Levesque said developers will be sharing details on traffic and the hotel’s site plan with the Planning Board in the coming month. On migrants and homeless people, he said that the proposal was nothing more than a market-rate hotel.

“My understanding is a lot of these motels and hotels that have been doing these types of things are very tired,” he said. “Typically, for something like this, you would not want to put an investment into the town of Agawam north of $5 million to then ruin it by letting just anybody live in there.”

After the meeting, Kenny Patel, of Shield Hotels, added that he didn’t want to ban migrants or homeless people from staying at the Opal Inn & Suites, but that the target demographic would be tourists and businesspeople.

The hotel will not be part of a nationwide chain, Patel said. National chains, he said, put too much pressure on franchise owners, especially with franchise fees. Following trends in the industry, he said, it will be a “boutique” hotel, he said, where rooms will cost around $172 to $200 a night.

“It’s just not worth it right now to build a franchise,” he said.

Asked why Shield Hotels is interested in Agawam, Patel said the town needed a hotel. He said he knows this from travelers who patronize the company’s Courtyard by Marriott franchise in West Springfield.

“They go somewhere else, so we want to capture the Agawam market,” he said.

Patel also said the hotel would hire 15 employees from the community, and that Shield Hotels would also use local contractors, if the price were right.

The Planning Board voted to give a positive recommendation to the City Council, which will host its own public hearing on the matter on Monday, April 1. Council meetings are at 7 p.m. in the Senior Center, 954 Main St., Agawam. All are welcome to participate.