A proposal to build a $15-million hotel on Main Street in Santa Monica was unanimously rejected Monday night by the Santa Monica City Planning Commission, which ruled that the 64-unit, six-story hotel was not only too high but also in violation of zoning in the area.
The city’s zoning for the area south of Bay Street limits the height of buildings to four stories or 47 feet and the general plan prohibits the construction of hotels there. The restrictions were included in the Main Street Plan, which was drawn up in 1979-80 to regulate development on Main Street.
After nearly four hours of public hearing, the commission upheld staff recommendations that the city’s zoning and the general plan not be changed or amended to accommodate the proposal.
“The proposal is to amend the zoning laws of the city in order to allow higher buildings than those now allowed,” said Dora Ashford, head of the Ocean Park Community Organization. “At this point people in the community feel that it is not appropriate to give special consideration to someone unless we are prepared to give it to a lot of other developers.”
The unanimous ruling blocks construction of the building at 3105-3109 Main Street unless the City Council approves an appeal by the developer, who must first ask for amendments to both the zoning law and the general plan before filing the appeal.
The proposed 71,000-square-foot hotel would include a health spa, a 100-seat restaurant, a laundry, a pharmacy, a bakery, a shoe repair store and a photography print shop, developer Peter DeKrassel said.
A spokesman for DeKrassel said teh developer plans to scale the project down to five stories and 47 feet and appeal the ruling. Four of the seven council votes are needed to overturn the commission’s ruling.
During the commission hearing, DeKrassel said he would have no problem removing one floor from the plan if that was “what the commission wanted.”
Support for Hotel
A resident of nearby Sea Colony, who said he represented other residents in the upper-middle-class town-house district, supported the project. He called the hotel an asset to Colony residents because friends and family could stay there.
Much of the opposition to the project was raised by residents who fear that the Main Street Plan would be changed or amended without a thorough negotiating process between residents and businesses.
“Our opposition is based on the fact that the plan was developed in close work between business and Ocean Park residential community and that any change to the plan have to come out of that process,” said Henry Custis, a board member of the Ocean Park Community Organization. “OPCO is anxious to begin community and business discussions to see if any part of the Main Street Plan should be changed.”