• More on our page 1, April 24, 2015 story: Input on Possible Hotel Design

    From the City Manager’s April 24 newsletter: Nader Agha, the owner of the Holman Building site, has proposed splitting the parcel into two. He is under contract to sell the southerly portion of the site, on which the Holman Building sits (Parcel 1). He is retaining the northerly portion of the site (Parcel 2) for his own development. The lot split request was denied by the Planning Commission on a 3-3 tied vote on April 2. Mr. Agha has appealed the Planning Commission’s denial of the lot split to the City Council. The appeal will be heard May 20.

    In the meantime, both the potential buyers of Parcel 1 and Mr. Agha, for Parcel 2, are starting to work on ideas for the development of the resulting two parcels, should be Council approve the lot split. After many, many years of inactivity, such efforts would be highly anticipated. Mr. Agha has retained the RRM Design Group to work with the community on the development of a possible hotel on Parcel 2. RRM’s architects have asked to meet informally with the City’s Architectural Review Board (ARB), requesting this pre-application workshop to discuss design issues that the project might encounter. The workshop has been scheduled for Wednesday, May 6 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Holman Building, on the second floor.

    The meeting with the ARB is a public meeting (not a “public hearing”) and all who are interested are invited to attend. No formal application has been made to the Community and Economic Development Department. The applicant’s architects have met with City staff on two previous occasions.

    Mark Brodeur, Director of the Community and Economic Development Department, noted, “We don’t do this type of early review on many projects, but given this location and the possibility of a great addition to the Downtown, it is appropriate for the developer to get some early input.”

    The concept being considered would construct a 135-room hotel with on-site parking, restaurant, and meeting room.

    “Whenever possible, we like to encourage architects/designers to meet with members of our ARB before filing a formal application and having to go through the more formalized public hearing process” Brodeur said. “This provides the architect and the ARB the opportunity for a free exchange of ideas and suggestions. It is a good process that I wish more applicants availed themselves of,” he added.

    The ARB invites the community to be present and to offer their ideas for the design of the site. No formal action can take place, as no project application has been submitted; it is still a good opportunity for the applicant to get early input, before proceeding very far with his own ideas.

    “Among the issues to be addressed for this site are water and parking,” Brodeur said. The applicant will need to secure the necessary water before the project can move forward. Several options have been discussed and the applicant is continuing to study and consider these options.

    The site also presents other challenges. The building height is controlled by the amount of the site that is covered with buildings and impervious paving.

    “This is a unique site” Brodeur said, “It has a unique set of zoning standards established by a vote of the community and those standards create a significant challenge to designing a hotel.”

    Development on this parcel is controlled by Measure E, which was passed by Pacific Grove voters in 1994, with over 81% of those voting supporting the initiative.

    The public is encouraged to attend to learn more about the design of the project and to understand the various challenges the architects will face before submitting a formal application to the City.

    The site location is 542-546 and 554 Lighthouse.

    posted to Cedar Street Times on April 24, 2015

    Topics: Front PG News

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