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Planning Board Greenlights Ocean Park Bed And Breakfast: Some Neighbors Oppose Business in Area

Santa Monica’s Ocean Park neighborhood will now become the home of a new bed and breakfast facility that will be located in a city landmarked building at 2219 Ocean Avenue.

The property contains a four-bedroom Craftsman beach house which was built in 1905 and was designated as a City Landmark in June of 2007. The current owners of the house, John and Donna Heidt, bought and restored the structure after it became a City Landmark. The Heidts intend to use the house for much of the year but want to have it be a bed and breakfast when it is vacant. Their goal for pursuing this type of arrangement is to use the funds from the house’s commercial use to help with the financing of the property’s improvements and the house’s upkeep.

Immediate neighbors of the property expressed their opposition to the bed and breakfast use to the Commission. Lilly Bensen, a next-door neighbor, was particularly concerned that the bed and breakfast would be operating without any management on-site. She told the Commission “it is not the neighborhood’s responsibility to police an unsupervised business.”

Carl Lambert, who owns properties located on 2211-2217 Ocean Avenue as well as three bed and breakfasts on Catalina Island, stated that it should be a “requirement to have management on the site.” He noted that he runs all three of his bed and breakfasts with on-site managers. He was also concerned that if the Commission approved the site for bed and breakfast use it would be setting a precedent for other designated City Landmark properties.

Other residents, however, were supportive of the bed and breakfast use. Santa Monica Shores resident Duncan Smith said, “This kind of facility is perfect for my family’s annual family gathering in Santa Monica.” It would cost less than a hotel.

Also supportive was Sebastian DeClaire who noted that this type of accommodationwould “provide a unique experience that people can’t find in Santa Monica when they stay in a hotel.”

Santa Monica Landmark Commission member Nina Fresco explained her Commission designated the property as a landmark because of its unique qualities and then stressed that the bed and breakfast use would help “maintain the integrity of the property.”

In the end, the Commission voted to approve a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) that would allow the bed and breakfast use. The conditions of the CUP include having management on site at least four hours a day, two hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon. Other conditions were to have security cameras outside to monitor the property and that the conditions of approval should be reviewed in one year.

This will be the first bed and breakfast facility in Santa Monica.

Contact Hannah Heineman


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