Hermosa Beach

Mayor George Barks failed to get any City Council support this week for a motion that would have repealed the specific plan that zones the old Biltmore site for construction of a controversial hotel.

Barks invited council members to "wipe the slate clean," after the city's development agreement for construction of the hotel was defeated by 19 votes in a special election last month.

"The opponents gave it their best shot and they happened to win, and whether they won by one vote, 19 votes or 1,900 votes, I have a responsibility to honor that election," Barks said, in his motion to repeal the plan.

He also asked the council to form a citizens' committee to determine how best to dispose of the city-owned property on The Strand. That motion also died without a second.

Although the council took no action, it did review a letter submitted by the developers, Greenwood & Langlois, stating their intent to work with the community to modify the hotel and make the project acceptable.

Councilman Gary Brutsch said he believed that voters would approve the project if it did not exceed the city height ordinances, and he argued against selling the valuable beachfront parcel.

"I sure wouldn't want to abdicate our right to control a very expensive piece of property here in town," he said.

Meanwhile, citizen activist Roger Creighton has filed his intent with the city to petition for an assessment of the Biltmore site's value and eventual public sale under whatever zoning would reap the highest selling price.

Creighton said he would not be opposed to a hotel on the site if it did not involve city partnership or special variances to building codes, including height limits. The Mediterranean-style hotel proposed by Greenwood & Langlois would have exceeded the city's three-story height limit by nine feet.

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