A key hotel development in the heart of downtown Pismo Beach received unanimous approval from the Pismo Beach City Council this week.
The Inn at the Pier includes a new 104-unit hotel at 601 Cypress St. — a prominent location near the city’s pier — on a dirt lot that has sat vacant for years and occasionally been used for parking.
The 74,000-square-foot, three-story structure also features 1,795 square feet of commercial retail space, 2,150 square feet of meeting or dining room space, a 775-square-foot business center, 132 parking spaces (including 127 underground spaces) and a rooftop pool.
Before gaining approval from the city’s Planning Commission on July 22, the project underwent design revisions, including changing the architectural style to a “coastal cottage” design from a more modern, contemporary look, Community Development Director Jon Biggs said.
Longtime Pismo Beach residents Effie McDermott and Don Day appealed it to the council, stating: “The development of this core downtown parcel is of such import to the future of the city, it is unthinkable to allow its fate to be finalized without a hearing before our elected officials, the City Council.”
The project is now appealable to the California Coastal Commission.
Although they didn’t raise many issues in their initial appeal, McDermott and Day listed numerous concerns at the council’s Tuesday meeting, including possible parking problems, no restrooms provided for the retail shops, and “canyonization of public views of the beach boardwalk area and pier” from spots on Pomeroy and Hinds avenues.
“I want to make it clear that I am not opposed to this hotel, and I agree that it could be a great thing for the downtown,” McDermott said, “but I also feel we have ordinances and rules and they should comply with those.”
The underground parking garage, with 127 spaces, would turn into valet parking once occupancy of the hotel reaches 60 percent. The garage includes a combination of single and tandem spaces, including some that are three spaces deep.
The tandem spaces would be used by the valet service. They could also park up to 23 vehicles in the aisles.
The aisle parking spots “shows a significant shortage of parking,” McDermott said. “The parking garage is too small for the project. Or the project is too large for the parking.”
Day said he was concerned about the city setting a standard for future projects.
Developer Dana Severy, owner of Postcard Properties, said the parking garage was designed in conjunction with a parking engineering firm and peer reviewed.
“This parking thing is self-policing because the last thing we’re going to do is operate a hotel that’s great and not pay attention to parking,” he said.
The number of spots exceeds the city’s parking requirements by two spaces, Biggs said. In addition, the developer is required to provide a parking management plan.
The council specified that the parking plan provide for employee parking passes in dedicated city lots and that it be reviewed after a year to determine any needed improvements.
Severy told the council that the project was designed with feedback from the community, particularly downtown business owners and merchants. (Postcard Properties and Somera Capital Management closed on the purchase of the lot in December 2012.)
“We see this as a catalyst and an opportunity to bring some added economic stability to adjacent landowners and business owners,” he said.
Before voting to approve the project, council members thanked Severy for redesigning the project to complement the character of other properties in town.
Councilman Kris Vardas thanked city staff and the developer “for coming up with a great project to inject some new energy into downtown Pismo Beach.”