Manhattan Beach City Council this week will decide whether a four-story hotel and detached two-story office and retail building will replace a vacant space on Sepulveda Boulevard once occupied by an El Torito restaurant.
But the project has opponents.
The MB Poets, a community group of residents in the Manhattan Beach Poets Section (Keats Street, Tennyson Place and Shelley Street), appealed to the City Council after the Planning Commission OK’d the project in November. The council will consider the project and appeal on Tuesday, Jan. 19. The meeting starts at 6 p.m.
The group is concerned about impact on the surrounding Poets Section neighborhood, known for its quiet character, and believe the project should not be exempt from state law that requires environmental reviews of large projects that could have negative consequences for the surrounding community. The city’s planning staff has deemed the project, at 600 Sepulveda Blvd., exempt from that law.
The Planning Commission during an October meeting postponed voting on the project until November to give the community more time to look over the plans. Now, the council has to decide whether those plans need to be re-evaluated.
The project is exempt from the state law — called the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA — because it meets the definition of infill development, is consistent with the city’s general plan policies and zoning regulations, and would not significantly affect traffic, noise, air or water quality, among other reasons, according to a report from Community Development Director Carrie Tai.
Those opposed to the project, though, have said it would increase commercial traffic on residential streets, like Keats, as well as the already-busy Sepulveda Boulevard, according to the appeal. The appeal also argues that the development would create a parking demand much bigger than what the site has capacity for, with nearly 100 fewer spaces than the city requires for a project of this size.
That would cause patrons of the 162-room, 82,000 hotel and 16,000 square-foot retail space to park on residential streets when the lot is full, it argues.
The proposed 40-foot high hotel building would also overlook residents’ homes; the MB Poets argue it would be the tallest building on Sepulveda Boulevard in Manhattan Beach.