The BeachWalk Resort project in downtown Pismo Beach is once again on hold because of some residents' concerns over its size and potential to increase demand on the city’s water supply during a drought.
Five appeals have been filed to the California Coastal Commission since the City Council approved the project on June 2, the commission's Central Coast district office confirmed Tuesday. The developer will now need approval from the commission to begin construction.
Santa Ana-based contractor Nexus Companies has proposed a 128-room, 94,000-square-foot hotel and resort at the end of Stimson and Hinds avenues downtown. The hotel would include an underground parking garage; conference rooms; 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.
It was approved by both the Pismo Beach Planning Commission and City Council earlier this year, despite some opposition from residents who claimed the project would be too big and wouldn’t fit the "California Cool" aesthetic that city officials have supported in local coastal and city plans.
In her appeal, Pismo Beach resident Nancy Hampton expressed concerns about water availability and impeded views of the beach because of the hotel's size, among other issues.
Retired professor Ted Case of Pismo Beach appealed largely because of his concerns about the hotel's proposed water use in light of the state's historic drought, he said.
"In the face of this critical water supply, what does (the city) do? They do business as usual and pay lip service to the drought but then go and push 'build, build, build.' "
Case said he hopes the appeals will bring more focus to the project so that some of his unanswered questions about the impact the project would have on the city can be addressed.
"The city has been pushing a lot of growth right now: two back-to-back hotels and a total of 481 new building units," he said. "But the cumulative impacts of all of these projects on the city, water supply in particular, have not been addressed adequately."
The window to file an appeal on the project has closed. An official public hearing has not yet been scheduled.