August 12, 2022 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Santa Monica City Council Denies Oceana Hotel Bid to Make Restaurant Public

Ocean Avenue hotel’s proposal defeated in deadlock vote

By Dolores Quintana

The Oceana Hotel’s second attempt to make their in-house restaurant available to the general public has narrowly been defeated last week in a Santa Monica City Council vote. The Planning Commission vote in June had an identical result as the City Council vote which was deadlocked with three yes votes and three no votes. 

The crux of the issue is that The Oceana Hotel sits in an R2 and R3 zoning district which normally would not allow hotels to operate as they are zoned as low and medium density residential districts. The Oceana Hotel was founded in 1958 so it predates the current zoning ordinances and is therefore allowed to operate despite the zoning restrictions. The zoning ordinances do prevent the hotel’s restaurant from serving to anyone who isn’t a registered guest at the hotel. This creates the problem that the hotel cannot serve the neighborhood residents and become part of the local community’s food scene. 

The difference of opinion is that some feel that the hotel should be allowed to increase its share of business by offering the neighborhood another food choice that might help them become more profitable as a small business. Some feel that this might embolden other businesses to ask for exceptions in residential zones too and that the opening of the hotel’s restaurant would disturb the peace and quiet of the neighborhood. 

Council member Laura Negrete, whose small business has faced challenges during the pandemic was in favor of the exception and said, “As a small business owner myself, the more we put a chokehold on people for things like this, and the more we exclude our community in a post pandemic world, I think we’re doing ourself [sic] harm,” Negrete said. 

The City Council members who voted no included Mayor Sue Himmelrich who didn’t oppose the exception for the hotel specifically, but voted no because the exception would have required a text amendment, which the Mayor opposes unequivocally. Mayor Himmelrich said, “I just want to say that I have nothing against this project and if we could have done it without a text amendment I probably would have voted for it, but I basically am opposed to text amendments,” Himmelrich said. 

A text amendment would be required since the hotel is an exception to the current zoning ordinances. Text amendments do not allow for other similar exceptions to be granted, but Mayor Himmelright still believes that any text amendments are a “slippery slope” to businesses expanding their retail and commercial usage of space into residential zones. 

Council member Oscar de la Torre originally seemed to be undecided which led to him making a request that the vote be delayed but this request was denied. Council member de la Torre was rebuked by Mayor Himmelrich because he had a sidebar conversation with Council member Phil Brock during the vote that was not conducted through the Council’s microphone system. De la Torre responded, “I was attempting to clarify the process. I was surprised to learn it would take multiple votes so it was a bit confusing. I needed more time to understand how the issues residents raised could be mitigated.” Both Council members De la Torre and Christina Parra voted no along with Mayor Himmelrich.

Councilmember Phil Brock, a nearby resident of the hotel, wavered from a yes vote to a no vote and then back again to yes.

“The ability to walk to a restaurant to me brings the community into the fold and makes it not exclusive, but rather inclusive,” said Brock, adding that while he generally opposes neighborhood densification he doesn’t believe opening the restaurant to the public would create negative impacts. 

The deadlocked vote resulted in a denial of the text amendment since Council member Gleam Davis was not present to break the tie. A City Council vote requires a clear majority for the amendment to pass.

Related Posts

Another Mountain Lion Dies After Being Hit by a Car

August 12, 2022

August 12, 2022

P-89 found dead along the shoulder of the 101 Freeway in Woodland Hills last month By Sam Catanzaro Another mountain...

Santa Monica Police Arrest Sexual Assualt Suspect

August 12, 2022

August 12, 2022

Anthony Barrett arrested in connection to June 28 assault By Sam Catanzaro Santa Monica police are seeking the public’s help...

LA City Council Approves Expanded Anti-Camping Ordinance

August 11, 2022

August 11, 2022

Bonin one of three not votes in expansion of LAMC section 41.18 Los Angeles City Council has banned homeless encampments...

Review: A Santa Monica Restaurant’s New Happy Hour is Top-Notch

August 10, 2022

August 10, 2022

By Dolores Quintana Birdie G’s in Santa Monica has a new Happy Hour and it is something special. For one...

Italian Market Coming to Montana Avenue

August 10, 2022

August 10, 2022

Sogno Toscano planned for 1512 Montana Avenue By Dolores Quintana Sogno Toscano is aiming to open a new “lifestyle cafe,...

Best of Santa Monica Awards Voting Now Open!

August 10, 2022

August 10, 2022

Cast your vote to support your favorite local businesses  Voting is now open for the Santa Monica Mirror’s annual Best...

Venice Family Clinic to Provide Free Community Resources in Celebration of National Health Center Week

August 9, 2022

August 9, 2022

Nonprofit Community Health Center Offering Free COVID-19 Vaccines, Children’s Books, HIV Testing, Health Insurance Counseling, CalFresh Enrollment and More August...

Santa Monica Obtains Injunctions Against Landlords in Section 8 Voucher Discrimination Lawsuit

August 8, 2022

August 8, 2022

Judgment requires landlords to accept voucher, pay $20,000 in restitution  By Sam Catanzaro The Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office has obtained...

Local Nursing Home Tells Wrong Patients Family Their Loved One Died: Santa Monica Beat – August 8th, 2022

August 8, 2022

August 8, 2022

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes.* Local Nursing Home Tells Wrong Patients Family Their Loved One Died* Santa...

Brentwood-Adjacent Residential High-Rise Complete

August 8, 2022

August 8, 2022

The first high-rise residential development built west of the 405 in over 40 years is now leasing luxury apartments. Learn...

Mixed-Use Downtown Apartment Complex Has Highest Rents in City: Santa Monica Real Estate Report – August 8th, 2022

August 8, 2022

August 8, 2022

Property, Developments, and Listings on the Westside.* Mixed-Use Downtown Apartment Complex Has Highest Rents in City* Gardening Tips for Fall*...

Supervisor Holly Mitchell Calls for Update of Marina del Rey’s Vision Statement

August 5, 2022

August 5, 2022

By Dolores Quintana Marina Del Rey is now considered part of District Two in Los Angeles County and now falls...

Meridian Building Sells in Santa Monica for $18 Million

August 5, 2022

August 5, 2022

Redcar Properties buys Santa Monica office at 1448 15th Street By Dolores Quintana Redcar Properties purchased a second property in...