Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated how many gallons are equal to 17 acre-feet of water; it's 5.5 million gallons.
The BeachWalk Resort project in Pismo Beach has once again been given a stamp of approval by city officials.
The Pismo Beach City Council voted 4-1 Tuesday night, with Councilwoman Sheila Blake dissenting, to uphold the proposed hotel project that was unanimously approved by the city Planning Commission on April 28.
"I firmly believe this is our commercial core, this is our hotel district. This is the place for this," Mayor Shelly Higginbotham said.
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The project can still be appealed to the California Coastal Commission.
The approved plans call for a 128-room, 94,000-square-foot hotel and resort with an underground parking garage; conference rooms; a fitness center; swimming pool, hot tub and spa; meeting rooms; a restaurant and bar; a public-access courtyard; and a deck connecting the hotel courtyard to the nearby pedestrian boardwalk, the Promenade.
Seven appeals were filed regarding the project, Community Development Director Jon Biggs said. The appeals were filed for a range of reasons, from objections to the hotel's design to concerns about water use in the face of an unrelenting drought.
"This is wrong, it really is," appellant Fred Ruiz said during the meeting. "The water issue — I cannot believe the community would be willing to give up its water for this. Sometimes you have to give up a great opportunity to protect the core of what you are."
Robert Eres, vice president of development for Nexus Companies, which proposed the project, told the council Tuesday that the company would pay for water offsets throughout the city, such as removing turf or installing low-flow toilets at public facilities to offset its water use by at least 125 percent.
The hotel is expected to use about 17 acre-feet — roughly 5.5 million gallons — of water a year.
The council also chose to require the project applicant to bring the plans for the hotel's east wall back for approval by the council. The east wall is largely blank across the entire back lot, and council members as well as city residents indicated they would like the wall to have more decoration from an aesthetic standpoint.
The BeachWalk Resort is the second hotel the city has approved to be built along the oceanfront in downtown Pismo Beach. The first was the 104-room Inn at the Pier, which was approved in September after a similar appeal brought it before the City Council. It is slated to begin construction in October.