October 1, 2022
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Montecito commission OKs Miramar plan

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Construction on a the new Miramar Hotel in Montecito could begin in January unless the renovation plan approved Oct. 8 is appealed to the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors within the next two weeks.

The Montecito Planning Commission approved plans to rebuild the derelict beachfront hotel near Highway 101. However, opponents still could appeal the decision within 10 days of that action.

County officials said if no appeal is filed, it will take about three months before construction could begin on the project if all conditions imposed by the Montecito commission are met by the developer. One of those conditions includes waiting three months to see if anyone will acquire and move several cottages, considered to be historic, on the hotel property.

The Montecito commission’s 4-1 decision pleased Los Angeles developer Rick Caruso who wants to tear down the old Miramar, which now consists of the dilapidated cottages empty for nearly a decade, and replace it with a five-star resort.

In August, Caruso dropped the number of rooms to 192 from 204, cut the height of the main building to 38 feet above the curb line, and expanded the buffer separating the project from South Jameson Lane.

Caruso said he hoped he could resolve remaining differences with the plan’s opponents, who are concerned about drainage and other issues, including water supply, sewage, construction noise, traffic and building design.

Montecito commission member Jack Overall was the lone vote against the plan. During the Oct. 8 hearing, Overall said he was concerned about events at the Miramar that could draw some 500 people and cause severe traffic congestion.

The commission’s four day-long meetings on the Miramar began in mid-July. At one point, Caruso asked the commission to reject his plan so he could sell the property.

For the latest details, see the Oct. 17 print version of the Business Times or SUBSCRIBE for $49.99 a year today.