Aerial view of American Tin Cannery Comstock hotel (copy)

An earlier artist's rendering of the American Tin Cannery hotel project by developer Comstock Development.

A proposed hotel at the site of the American Tin Cannery in Pacific Grove has taken years to wend its way through the bureaucratic system. There was a rezoning measure approved by voters, one failed development partnership, a new developer proposal, and countless public hearings, two denials (by the Pacific Grove Architectural Review Board and Planning Commission) and finally an appeal by the developer. 

And in its final hearing at the city level on Wednesday night, Jan. 12, the project went through several hours of public comment, with people weighing in for and against the project, and some for a middle-of-the-road approach, wanting adjustments and guarantees about its impacts. 

After the years and the hours, P.G. City Council voted 6-1 late into the night, around 12:30am, to certify the environmental impact report and approve the hotel project, overturning the Planning Commission's denial. 

City Council members and the developer, Comstock Development, agreed to include several additional provisions in the final approval to mitigate some of the residents' and councilmembers' concerns. 

Those include designating 56 rooms of the 225-room hotel for visitors eligible to stay at special, affordable rates (people like nurses, teachers, and firefighters), removing speculation about a vague promise from the developer as to affordability. 

They also added specifications to ensure the plan for water use—approved by the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District under special circumstances—does not run afoul of State Water Resources Control Board guidelines. 

And in addition to monitoring requirements under California environmental law, the developer-hired monitors will be directed to confer with NOAA and Hopkins Marine Station officials about potential impacts to the seal colony on the beach next to Hopkins, located just across the street from the project site. 

These adjustments addressed the concerns of wary councilmembers, except Luke Coletti, who was the lone no vote. 

Some councilmembers were enthusiastic about the project as presented: "This type of project doesn’t come along every day," said Councilmember Amy Tomlinson. "[Comstock] has listened to our community input and they’ve adjusted."

Sara Rubin loves long public meetings, red pens and reading (on newsprint). She has been editor of the Monterey County Weekly since 2016, and has been on staff since 2010.

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