CARPINTERIA, Calif.-The Carpinteria City Council voted 4-1 in favor of the Lease Disposition and Development Agreement ("LDDA") between the city and the 499 Linden Manager for the Surfliner Inn Project.
Only Vice Mayor Al Clark voted against it. Clark agreed with the majority of public speakers concerned about the privatization of public land. Clark shared his concerns about open space, views, and water resources before voting no.
Supporters wearing "All Aboard" stickers applauded the vote.
Opponents wearing "Save Our Beach Parking!" stickers are already collecting signatures in hopes of putting an initiative on the ballot to change the zoning.
The vote isn't a done deal. Developers still have a lot to do, and public hearings will follow.
City staff said the project would give the town more than $600,000 in annual rent and bed tax revenues.
It would also increasing public parking in Lot 3 on the corner of Linden Ave. and Fifth St. near the proposed hotel and train tracks.
Developers have said they would fund off-site improvements including completing the coastal trail.
During the developers' presentation Whitt Hollis was in-person, while Jeffrey Theimer spoke via Zoom due to a cold.
They believe guests at the proposed 40-room Inn, with a rooftop pool and cafe, would often come by railroad, and would indirectly impact the local economy by an estimated $2.7 million in spending a year.
Project supporter Will Carelton said he was thrilled with the vote.
"I am elated, I think the project is a wonderful project and it is going to make Carpinteria very proud."
Suzette Chafey, who was the first speaker, had hoped for more council members to vote no.
"I'm actually quite disappointed in the vote, I am not surprised by it however, they are business people."
Project Partner Whitt Hollis hopes the final design will persuade opponents to change their minds.
"We have taken to heart the comments from the conceptual hearing we are going to look at all those and we're going to thoroughly decide, analyze and decide if we are going to move forward, which I think we will but it's not all my vote, "" said Hollis.
The location is by the old train station where current Surfliner trains stop.
It is also a short walk to the beach and downtown restaurants and shops.
People voluntary wore masks to the second in-person city council meeting since California eased restrictions.
An area was set up outside in anticipation of an overflow crowd but only a handful of people sat outdoors.
public comments opposed to the Surf