Holman’s Hotel: Holmon-strosity – even Worse than their Leaked Presentation Drawing. Luckily We get to Vote it Down

Proposed Holman-strosity from next to the Library at Central and Fountain

Proposed Holman-strosity across from our Library at Central and Fountain
(Click image to expand it – Just Like Developer Agha will do if we don’t Vote it Down.)

Controversial Developer Nader Agha wants to turn Holmans into a 420 room hotel; a giant hotel that goes from Holmans massive front on Lighthouse Avenue to our Library – street to street / block to block – and 85 feet high.

This would make it the largest building in Pacific Grove, possibly even larger than Monterey’s Hotel Pacific, or Seaside’s Embassy Suites – the largest on the Peninsula.

Currently Pacific Grove law limits hotels to 40 feet but Developer Agha is so excited about his new hotel – he wants to more than double that height. So the City Council voted to put it on the ballot (it costs the city some $45,000 to put an issue on the ballot).

Thankfully Pacific Grove residents get to vote on it – and if history is any guide – Agha’s hotel idea is going down in flames.

Please note: The Hotel shown above is not going on the ballot !

Zoning for a far bigger Hotel is going on the ballot !
That zoning would allow a hotel towering 85 feet high from Lighthouse to the Library, from Fountain to Grand Ave. For reference Holmans in “only” 50 feet high.

“The difference between theory and practice is a lot bigger in practice than in theory.”

Now that Agha, the “Chamber-of-Never-Enough-Commerce” controlled Economic Advisory Committee, and city staff realize they’ll have to convince voters to approve this project — they are all telling everyone that his hotel will only have 240 rooms and only take up half the block.

Dry Carmel River bed upstream from Highway 1 - January 6, 2009

Dry Carmel River bed upstream from Highway 1 – January 6 (the “rainy season”), 2009

That is only half of what Agha told a city Council subcommittee privately. And fortunately for the rest of us – they put it in an official report, buried, but its there.

“Mr. Agha proposes a Hotel of 250 to 420 rooms encompassing the entire block of the Holman Site.” – page 7 (of 125) of the “Issues and Opportunities of a Holman Site Hotel” written by Mayor Candidate Bill Kampfe and Councilman Alan Cohen

Gridlock Every Evening - Lighthouse Ave from PG Thru New Monterey

Gridlock Every Evening – Lighthouse Ave from PG Thru New Monterey

Then there are little environmental problems — like there is no water for about 1,000 new people daily (only 2 people in each room = 840 plus estimated 110 staff and delivery people), there’s no parking for 500 more cars downtown, all the public roads into Pacific Grove are already in gridlock — before you add another 1,800-2,000 new vehicle trips in and out of town every day, the construction noise and traffic disruption, then there’s the visual insult of the Big City hotel in our little town as you can see in the developer’s own drawing (above).

Apparently the Developer has already bragged that they could sell the hotel project to a chain (like Ramada or Howard Johnson’s) once the zoning is approved.

Oh and did I mention that Holman’s is a historic building (1924) – and the buildings across from the Library and Museum are even older? Well, the current council is likely to vote to destroy Holman’s and the other buildings without any shame or sentimentality whatsoever.

Do keep in mind that until the November vote you are going to hear a lot of “fish stories” and shell games. You are going to be told “Its a nice little hotel.” The leaked photo above of the smaller of the developer’s proposals
undermines that Whopper.

Stay tuned.

PS Watch Out for the Riddels Public Relations company (Craig and Rebecca) – they’re getting paid big bucks by the controversial Developer Agha to sleepwalk past the facts and tell everyone this giant hotel “Holmanstrosity” is not that bad (even though they know how awful it is). Check to see if they have their fingers crossed behind their backs while they are trying to persuade you with some . . . uhhh . . . “Truth substitutes.”

The Riddels are the same Public Relations company that got the disastrous Sandra “Eco-Fraud” Koffman elected Mayor. I can just imagine how they’re going to sell this project as “Green.” — “They’ll recycle all their water and paper” (but using our water needed for rationing) or “It’ll be LEED certified” (rearranging the Deck Chairs on the Titanic while ignoring the ship is sinking) or maybe “They’ll only hire certified environmentalists to sweep the floors and clean the toilets.”

*** And Don’t be mislead by the “small” 6-story hotel drawings here. The developer wants the whole block zoned for an 85 foot high hotel. That means the front of Holmans (“only” 50 feet high now) could be three (3) stories higher than it is today.

_______________________

Notes:
Holmonstrosity Facing our Library

Holmonstrosity Facing our Library

A few copies of the drawings were available at the Council meeting, but were not put on the overhead projector for the public to see. As far as we know – these are the only public images available of the proposal.

Q: Why are there no sidewalks along Fountain Avenue side of the building? Is that what they get away with in Texas? I realize Houston has no zoning laws. They literally allow oil derricks to be put next to your home in any residential neighborhood (“where oil derricks sit next to mansions and auto salvage yards abut churches”) ! Is that a good fit with Pacific Grove? Not really, but that’s a bad fit almost anywhere.

Herald Article of Council Approval Putting Hotel Zoning “Gold Mine” on Ballot

What’s Wrong with LEED Certification? “A Better Way to Rate Green Buildings, by Henry Gifford”

“LEED certification process for new buildings does not require energy use to be reported, or even kept track of.” ” The LEED system does this by rewarding designers for predicting that a building will save energy, not for proving that a building actually saves energy.”

Agha’s Earlier Holman’s Hotel Idea in 2009

Nader Agha's Holmans Proposal in 2009

Nader Agha’s Holmans Proposal in 2009

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5 Responses to Holman’s Hotel: Holmon-strosity – even Worse than their Leaked Presentation Drawing. Luckily We get to Vote it Down

  1. Nick says:

    City services like police protection, the recreation department and public works are being cut. For example, just two years ago PG could afford over thirty policemen and women, but now we only have 22. That is all we can afford because each patrol person costs so much in salary and pension benefits. Next year maybe a few less? The recreation department has been gutted, the children’s swimming pool is shut down, and city maintenance is decreasing.

    Eighty five percent of the Pacific Grove budget goes to high salaries and an early retirement pension system that allows city employees to retire in their early 50’s and some with giant six figure pensions. The rest of us can keep working into our late 60’s to pay for all this. The taxpayers are the ones who are on the hook for this growing expense. It will come back to bite the taxpayers in the next year or two. Estimates put the amount currently at about $8,000 per resident, and it is growing every month.

    Is this the size hotel that you imagined would be built in Pacific Grove? This hotel project, is aimed at raising a lot of hotel room tax revenue. However, it will only put a small dent in the pension obligations. The city manager and staff are desperate to raise any fee and tax that they can to protect their salaries and pensions.

    Pacific Grove doesn’t have a revenue problem they have a spending problem. Just a few years ago PG voters voted for pension reform. Guess what? The city manager has convinced the council not to do anything about it. Just keep paying up!

    The city council needs to reduce the high salaries and pensions before they talk about new revenue, including hotels.

  2. Purrfecct says:

    “Room tax revenue.” They will have to build six of these big hotels every year for the next ten years to make it pay for all the city pensions.

  3. Pingback: Pacific Grove Newspaper Publisher Admits Deliberate Censorship | Deep Politics: Environment, Democracy, Health & Beyond

  4. Pingback: Vote NO on Kampe, No on Huitt, No on Lucius in Pacific Grove, and No on Potter | Deep Politics: Environment, Democracy, Health & Beyond

  5. Barbara Thomas says:

    I attended the very first “informational” community meeting at Chautauqua Hall regarding the Holman Hotel project at which developer Drake Leddy gave an overview of his company, his intentions to build a first class hotel and answered questions from audience members. When I entered the meeting I was neither for or against the project.

    (See the rest of this note at “No on “F” , No on Kampe“)

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