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re: Shore Hotel proposals, Agenda Item 9A

Updated: Jun 21, 2021

April 19, 2021

Planning Commission, City of Santa Monica

Re: April 21, 2021, Agenda Item 9A - Shore Hotel proposals

Dear Commissioners:

Santa Monica Forward strongly encourages you to deny the proposed amendment to a conditional use permit and a variance requested by the Shore Hotel.

The Shore’s application is in direct conflict with the California Coastal Act’s intention to preserve access to our coast for all Californians, especially those people with low and moderate income. The Coastal Act and the Coastal Commission specifically call for preservation of affordable accommodations in the coastal zone.

The Shore Hotel was approved by both the City and the Coastal Commission with the condition that accommodations comparable to the two low-cost motels that were demolished to make way for the hotel. Not only were those rooms never created, but the Shore flagrantly violated the terms of its Coastal Commission approval. In response, the Coastal Commission levied the largest fine in its history (over $15 million) and required the Shore to immediately add at least 14 affordable rooms.

Today the Shore is asking the City to allow it to build 14 substandard rooms on Second Street with lower-than-required ceilings, and to add major luxury amenities when it builds the 14 substandard rooms that will not be located on Ocean Avenue. They are asking for a CUP that will add two luxury restaurants, two bars with amplified music, and a spa. The restaurants, bars, and spa will directly compete with existing businesses in the downtown area that are struggling after a year of COVID shutdown. The hotel’s plans directly conflict with the Coastal Act, the Coastal Commission’s intent in 2019, and the interests of the City of Santa Monica.

As an organization dedicated to equity, accessibility, affordability, and inclusion in Santa Monica, we urge you to require the Shore Hotel to strictly comply with their CUP without amendments, and that no variances be approved.

CUP amendments and variances are discretionary within the Planning Commission’s jurisdiction, and SMF has supported such actions when the applicant demonstrates significant contributions to community goals. The Coastal Commission’s action against the Shore Hotel requires a change of attitude on the part of the hotel’s ownership that would indicate their intention to comply with the law. They are instead requesting CUP amendments and a variance, neither of which needs to be granted.

Very truly yours,

Abby Arnold and Carl Hansen

Co-chairs, Santa Monica Forward

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