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Westside Digest

Santa Monica

May 23, 1985

The City Council has voted to allow a developer to expand a beachfront hotel development, located at 1700 Ocean Ave., from a 299-room to a 349-room facility.

Santa Monica Hotel Associates purchased the 2.7-acre site from another company that had received city approval for the 299-room hotel in 1983.

The company decided the smaller project was not economically feasible and sought Planning Commission approval to expand it. The Planning Commission last month failed to approve the expansion, and the developer decided to appeal to the City Council. The appeal was supported by Mayor Christine E. Reed.

The council decision will allow the company to increase the height from four to five stories and add more restaurant space, meeting rooms and parking.

The project is the first hotel approved under the city's land-use element, which encourages hotel development on Ocean Avenue. Although the council voted for the expansion, some members said they were concerned that the development might set a precedent for large hotels on the beach.

"We have all heard of another hotel coming down the pike," Councilman William H. Jennings said. "It's going to be awfully hard to say no to them after this project."

Councilman Ken Edwards said the project could have been designed on a smaller scale. "It somehow reminds me of a 300-pound person trying to wear a Jane Fonda outfit," he said.

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