The Walt Disney Co. has expressed its objections to a hotel project near Disneyland, leading the project's representative to charge that the entertainment giant is trying to wipe out smaller competitors.
Disney has sent a 16-page response to the city Planning Commission regarding plans by Tarsadia Inc., a Costa Mesa-based development firm, to build three hotels with a total of up to 834 rooms across Harbor Boulevard from Disneyland.
One of the hotels already has received approval, but its one-year permit will lapse over the summer.
The Planning Commission is scheduled to review Tarsadia's proposal today.
Although Disney does not control the parcels involved, the hotels would be situated next to one of two massive parking garages planned for the $3-billion Disneyland Resort theme park and hotel project that Disney is thinking of building in Anaheim.
Tarsadia's plans are "seriously flawed" and the developers should be forced to include an environmental impact report, states the response from a San Diego-based lawyer for Disney, Marian Harvey.
The project would also allow more density than Disney is allowed for the new hotels it is proposing as part of the resort, which would be centered on an internationally themed Westcot park, Disney Development Director Doug Moreland said in an interview.
But Frank Elfend, Tarsadia's planning consultant, said Disney's "real concern is their desire to eliminate competition from small business."
He said that Disney's call for a thorough environmental review is simply an attempt to slow the process, and that "their interests have always been economic in trying to stifle other development."
He said that Disney's environmental report on its own project takes into account the proposed new hotels that Tarsadia would build.
Moreland, however, said Disney is not trying to stop development by others but only asking that it conform to the grand vision laid out for the Disneyland area.
In particular, he said, he is concerned that Tarsadia is asking for zoning variances that would allow more signs than are currently permitted and smaller spaces between the buildings and the street, which would limit landscaping.
"We are in favor of new development in the commercial area. New development is important for revitalization," he said, adding, "we are concerned about variances that would undermine all work that (the city) has been doing in the past five years."