Too large and too big an impact on the local environment. That was the message made clear by the Pacific Grove Architectural Review Board in December to the developers of a proposed 225-room luxury hotel and commercial complex on the site of the American Tin Cannery. The developers say they listened and scaled back the project and are now ready to show off the changes to the P.G. Planning Commission. But it won’t be an easy sell.
Residents opposing the ATC Hotel and Commercial Project – as it’s called by developers Comstock Homes – say the changes don’t go far enough. One longtime advocate for the harbor seals of a nearby pupping beach, Thom Akeman, says reducing the amount of granite excavation by 40 percent for underground parking is insufficient. “That underground garage will be the death knell for the harbor seals on the beach,” Akeman says. He’s worried constant jackhammering and construction noise will drive seals away forever.
Comstock representative Debra Geiler says the elimination of an underground garage closest to the beach and limiting excavation to a location up the hill should protect seals from noise and vibrations. (The company worked with officials from nearby Hopkins Marine Station that took issue with the lower garage but not an upper garage under a different hotel wing.)
Geiler also believes they’ve addressed concerns over the scale and mass of the building by pushing back top floors, among other adjustments. Some changes recommended by the Architectural Review Board were not addressed, including repurposing a building Geiler says is in poor condition.
Saving 79 existing trees has been a major concern of a group of residents protesting the project. In response the company is exceeding the city’s one-for-one replacement rules by including 136 trees in the plan. “We’re trying to create a better ecological environment with the design of the hotel,” Geiler says.
The commission meets at 6pm on Thursday, Oct. 28 at bit.ly/PGPC1028.