The Coastal Commission’s ruling against the La Bahia Hotel project spawns a collective ‘Now What?’
After hours of public comment and deliberation, the California Coastal Commission voted 6-4 against the plan to build La Bahia Hotel, a 125-room hotel and conference center, at their Thursday, Aug. 11 meeting.
The hotel, a project of Barry Swenson Builder, would have gone in the Beach Flats neighborhood where the iconic—but currently dilapidated—La Bahia apartments have stood since 1926. The hang-up that led to the commission’s ruling was the height of the proposed hotel: 15 percent of the planned building would be 14 feet above the Local Coastal Program (LCP) limit.
Plans for the hotel were in the works for more than a decade, with Barry Swenson Builder spending about 10 years and $2.2 million working on it. The city council approved the plan in 2009.
“We’re extremely disappointed,” Mayor Ryan Coonerty tells Good Times. “This was a very good project that would’ve created jobs and was consistent with the values of Santa Cruz.”