There were both curses and cursing at the Pacific Grove Planning Commission meeting on May 17.
Around 40 residents showed up to plead with planning commissioners to reject a proposal to build the Hotel Durell, across from the Pacific Grove Public Library and next to the Pacific Grove Natural History Museum.
One woman promised commissioners she would curse them every time she passed the hotel should it get built.
Another man came to the podium to warn of dire consequences for the city’s future if officials allowed that “goddamn hotel” to be constructed.
The angry remarks left commissioners disappointed in their neighbors.
“I don’t appreciate threats,” said Commissioner Mark Chakwin. “As a lifelong soldier I’ve been threatened on three continents, but never in Pacific Grove.”
More than one of the five commissioners present said they had carefully studied the project and city ordinances, and could find no valid reasons to deny it. (Two members of the seven-member commission were absent.)
Only one commissioner, Robin Aeschliman, said she was voting no based on the design proposed by architects.
Echoing comments of other residents, she said the three-story hotel building looked more like a roadside hotel found off of Highway 101.
“Why should I sell my community’s soul to approve this project?” she asked.
Aeschliman did vote in favor of certifying the environmental impact report, however. That motion passed unanimously 5-0. The project itself received a 4-1 vote.
Residents opposing the hotel have 10 days to appeal the decision, which would toss the decision in the laps of the Pacific Grove City Council.
And yet, even if the council approves the hotel, it will sit on the city’s water wait list until more water credits become available.