Courtesy image.

Nearly nine years since the original developer’s agreement was submitted, Santa Monica City Council will discuss the Miramar redevelopment project during its upcoming meeting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 29.

The local Planning Commission reviewed the Fairmont Miramar project at their Sept. 2 and Sept. 9 meetings, which both featured hours of discussion before commissioners chose to recommend the Vesting Tentative Tract Map and Development Agreement to councilmembers with a 6-1 vote.

“All of the Planning Commission’s recommendations have been incorporated into the proposed Development Agreement (Attachment “B”) unless otherwise noted,” a staff report available online states.

Plans to renovate the century-old hotel include the addition of new guest rooms, 60 for-sale luxury condominium units complete with retail space, and 14,000 square-feet of publicly-accessible open space. The project also intends to provide funding and land that can be used to build a minimum of 42 affordable housing units, which will be located in a five-story apartment building across 2nd Street that would be developed by Community Corporation, the City’s affordable housing provider.

Some of the project’s components have changed in the year since designs were first floated by commissioners and councilmembers in 2012 as a result of dozens of community meetings that were held throughout the process. Despite the local input, many residents still took to Zoom this month to express their displeasure with the project’s proposed traffic circulation patterns and the fact the 130-foot tall building could block some longtime residents’ view of the ocean.

Commissioners said the height of the building aligns with city code before making recommendations that would address residents’ concerns with traffic.

But the recently released staff report states, “City staff disagrees with the Planning Commission’s recommendation and (staff) continues to support the project’s circulation plan with employee ingress and egress on California Avenue, the main hotel entry court on 2nd Street, and residential ingress and egress provided on Ocean Avenue.”

Director of Community Development David Martin said in an interview Thursday he certainly expects traffic circulation to come up as a topic of discussion during Tuesday’s meeting.

But traffic experts and consultants feel the recommendations made by the Planning Commission wouldn’t help reduce congestion as much as the previous recommendations from staff, Martin said, before touching on the project’s history and the hundreds of jobs that could result from the hotel renovation during construction and future operations.

When the project was being discussed by his peers earlier this month, Planning Commissioner Richard McKinnon said the project is an investment that needs to be completed as soon as possible.

Residents will have to see Tuesday if City Council feels the same way, but Martin said Thursday’s he’s excited for the project for a number of reasons, including the affordable housing aspect, its potential to boost local business on the Third Street Promenade and the LEED Platinum certification it earned.

“I think the main thing is this is taking a historic landmark property that’s really been the focal point of Santa Monica for 100 years, and it’s setting it up for another hundred years of success. It’s keeping what’s best about the current property… and upgrading it,” he added.

The planned renovation is not official yet, but if the project were to be approved Tuesday, then it would return to council for a second reading and developers would then head to the California Coastal Commission to continue on with the development process.