In this economy, you would think that folks would just roll over and let the rich guys have their way when they want to expand and develop properties.
Despite L.A.'s wealth, it has a long history of challenging sprawl and growth. Some folks in Santa Monica today say the expansion plans of the beach-side Fairmont Miramar Hotel, which has hosted movie stars and at least one sitting president, are over the top.
A group calling itself Santa Monicans Against the Miramar Expansion says …
… the hotel's plans would double its size and and towers that could measure up to 133 feet tall.
True? We reached out to the hotel for a response but had yet to hear back.
The opponents said in a statement that more than 1,000 Santa Monicans have signed up to oppose the expansion plans, which they say include an increase in the venue's size to a Santa Monica Place-like 500,000 square feet as well as three new high-rise towers.
They argue that …
… the proposal significantly exceeds the City's zoning standards for height and density and would significantly alter the neighborhood's character. The plan also includes up to 120 residential units as well as sizable new restaurants, retail and a rooftop bar and pool.
Opponents are also concerned that the hotel's main entrance would move from Wilshire Boulevard to more residential-oriented streets on the back and side.
Finally, they say the plans would “block views of the Pacific and that demolition and construction may harm the landmark Morton Bay Fig Tree, an icon in Santa Monica.”
They want the Santa Monica City Council to force the hotel to go back to the drawing board and take neighbors' concerns into account.
Group member Robert Gurfield:
This project is simply wrong for this area. We don't oppose revitalization of the hotel, but this is just too massive. This proposal turns its back on the community and creates a wall of development that separates the neighborhood from the ocean.