HOTEL ON HOLD

December 07, 2000 11:00 pm
City Manager David Wells talks about delays that have plagued anapplication for a waterfront luxury hotel in Crescent City. The hotel hit another snag this week with the California Coastal Commission. Officialsremain hopeful, however, that the hotel will be built. (Photo by Stephen Corley/The Daily Triplicate.).
City Manager David Wells talks about delays that have plagued anapplication for a waterfront luxury hotel in Crescent City. The hotel hit another snag this week with the California Coastal Commission. Officialsremain hopeful, however, that the hotel will be built. (Photo by Stephen Corley/The Daily Triplicate.).

By Jennifer Grimes

Triplicate staff writer

Crescent City was dealt yet another delay this week in the effort to help bring a resort hotel to the community.

Twice, the project has been sent back to the drawing board, and on Wednesday, the California Coastal Commission sent it back a third time.

Obviously, were disappointed...Its one of those projects that just keeps getting more complicated, said City Manager David Wells.

As the brain child of commodities trader Xiao Jin Yuan, the resort would occupy nearly four acres of oceanside property at the corner of A and Second Streets.

Wells and his staff have been working for more than two years to help Yuan get approval for the project from the Coastal Commission.

The projects proposal was set to be reviewed and approved at the commissions Dec. 15 agenda meeting. It was bumped off that agenda however when commission staff realized the proposal was incomplete.

Despite the frustration, Wells said he and Yuan are still committed to the process and ultimately to get the approval they need. This project is the linchpin of our economic development.

The problems stem from old policies laid out in the citys local coastal plan and zoning map.

Seaside Hospital used to be on the hotels building site. Therefore, the zoning designation and local coastal plan for that site were geared toward medical facilities and not hotel/restaurant facilities.

The main issues we have are about the consistency between the project and the local coastal plan, said Bob Merrill, district manager of the California Coastal Commission.

Merrill is the main staff member reviewing the hotel proposal. He said this most recent delay was not caused by incompetence on the part of the city or by obstacles that cant be overcome.

There are some substantive concerns, but I dont see this as a setback for the project as much as just a time delay, Merrill said.

Among the commissions concerns are language adjustments to the local coastal plans policies, and a plan for dealing with storm water runoff during construction.

To solve these problems, Wells and city planner Diane Mutchie will meet with Merrill next week in Eureka.

Wells said the city has been doing all it can to meet the requirements of the commission as it dictates them. But, he said, the steps to take and what order to take them is not cut and dried.

To be fair, its an unusual and a large project for Crescent City. There are bound to be lots of twists and turns in the process that arent easily foreseen, Merrill explained.

Wells said he will work hard to get this beginning phase of the project on the commissions January agenda. If approved then, city staff will present the project to the City Council. If approved by the council it will go back to the commission for the final go-ahead.

There are a number of steps, but weve been very pleased with the citys efforts...were still thinking its something the Coastal Commission will approve, said Merrill.