The Coast News Group
The Planning Commission tabled the hotel project in May 2017 after residents raised concerns about traffic. Courtesy photo

Portofino Hotel hearing to resume May 16

ENCINITAS — The Encinitas Planning Commission won’t decide the fate of a controversial hotel renovation project on Coast Highway 101 until May 16.

Commissioners were expected on May 2 to continue a hearing over the proposed conversion of the Portofino Beach Inn into a luxury hotel, which has been loudly criticized by neighbors and a prominent property owner.

But the ownership group behind the project requested the hearing be continued to May 16 because the entire project team would not be available on May 2.

The continuance of this item is being requested by the applicant to allow additional time for the

applicant’s development team to be available to answer questions that the commissioners or

the public may have. Their team is not all available on May 2 so staff recommends that the

Planning Commission continue the item to May 16.

The Planning Commission tabled the project — which has been in process since January 2015 — in May 2017 after residents raised concerns about traffic that the project would divert onto a residential street that runs parallel to Coast Highway 101.

After pushing the hearing off until June, July and then September 2017, the city and applicant decided to take the hearing off the calendar to give the developer more time to redesign the project.

A spokeswoman for the ownership behind the project, 101 Hotel, Inc., said the group has taken the last two years to make the project responsive to both neighbors and the Planning Commission’s concerns.

But on the eve of the hearing, property owner Don McPherson and his attorney Felix Tinkov submitted a massive report, compiled by several hired experts, that they said revealed flaws (or as they called them, violations) in the project and the conclusions drawn in the noise, traffic and parking studies.

One neighbor, in an email to the group of Melrose Avenue neighbors opposed to the project, referred to the hotel as a “proposed party house/hotel/bar.”