The second of two proposed hotels in downtown Pismo Beach received approval from the Planning Commission on Tuesday, paving the way for what city officials hope will be a revitalized downtown.
The commission unanimously voted to approve the BeachWalk Resort project, which would require demolition of five buildings at 147 Stimson and 150 Hinds avenues to build a 128-room, 94,000-square-foot hotel and resort.
The site currently is home to a small beach bungalow, Wheel Fun Rentals, a storage building, a single-family home and a five-unit apartment building. Excluding the storage building, all of the spaces are rented and occupied.
"I am totally for this project, but my concern is my renters, my friends, my family, really. What is going to happen to them?" Nathan Allan, the property manager at 150 Hinds Ave., said at the meeting. "This has become an area for us to gather and relax, and what is going to happen to that?"
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A representative of the project applicant, Nexus Companies, said the company would offer assistance to renters in those buildings when the time came to vacate the property, though a specific plan was not presented.
Other concerns with the proposed project were the design of the hotel, and how it would fit with the "Classic California" style the city had previously chosen for revitalization efforts downtown.
The proposed design for the three-story hotel features white woodworking for balconies and window decorations — a motif popular in seaside New England buildings — coupled with a pale gray color scheme and topped by sloped rooflines.
"When I look at the design of this building, I don't see 'Classic California' at all," said Alex DeLeon, who owns the property at 172 Stimson Ave. "I've lived on the Central Coast for 20 years, and I don't feel this is what we would have here."
Commissioners disagreed however, saying the proposed design for the new hotel matches other projects approved for the area.
"That design looks very similar — to me — to what has already been planned will go there," Commissioner Dean Overland said during discussion.
The new hotel would include conference rooms; a fitness center; swimming pool, Jacuzzi and spa; meeting rooms; a restaurant and bar; a public access courtyard; underground parking; and a deck connecting the hotel courtyard to the nearby pedestrian boardwalk, the Promenade.
The BeachWalk Resort is the second hotel the city has approved to be built along the oceanfront in downtown Pismo Beach. The first is the 104-room Inn at the Pier, which the City Council approved in September, and is slated to begin construction in October.
The two projects are part of the city's ongoing efforts to revitalize the downtown area, including repairing sidewalks, adding string lights across several streets and installing a temporary parklet.
The public now has 10 working days to appeal the decision to the City Council. It can also be appealed to the Coastal Commission. If no appeal is filed, construction could begin by late 2016.