City Council Approves Preparation Of Mitigated Negative Declaration For Villa Capri Hotel Replacement Project - Coronado Eagle & Journal | Coronado News | Coronado Island News: Coronado City News

City Council Approves Preparation Of Mitigated Negative Declaration For Villa Capri Hotel Replacement Project

by David Axelson | Posted: Monday, December 2, 2019 10:23 am

As a collective group, the Coronado City Council must have had 5 p.m. dinner reservations following their meeting of Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019. The net duration of the session, after it started five minutes late, was a snappy 24 minutes. Some city council meetings are marathon events, most are long distance runs, and on the rare occasion when you get a sprint, one (I’m halfway through the current season of “The Crown” on Netflix) should be thankful.

The fun part of the meeting was the announcement of the winners of the Annual Thanksgiving Poster Coloring Contest co-sponsored by the Coronado Recreation Department and the Coronado Woman’s Club. The first place winners in the three divisions receive a turkey, the second and third place winners receive a pie. All of the awards are presented the week of Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, gone are the days when a 40-pound youngster had to wrangle a 20-pound frozen turkey from the front of the Council Chambers to their parents sitting nearby. As City Council meetings go, that was high comedy.

The contestants range from Kindergarten through Fifth Grade in all of the schools in Coronado. There were 152 entries this year in the Thanksgiving Coloring contest.

The primary item on the Council’s agenda was a public hearing regarding the consideration of the environmental initial study for the Villa Capri Hotel replacement project. Also, the city staff was requesting Council approval to proceed with the preparation of a Mitigated Negative Declaration for the project. Since there were no public comments during the appropriate portion of the hearing, and the Councilmembers had independently reviewed plans for the project, approval for the staff recommendation was quickly and unanimously granted.

The Villa Capri is located at 1417 Orange Avenue and currently is a 15-room hotel nestled between the Glorietta Bay Inn and the Coronado Beach Resort. The existing building was opened in 1956 by owner, model, designer and actress Bettye Vaughen, who owned the hotel until her passing in 2016 at the age of 97. The Villa Capri is now owned by Coronado Resident Saj Hansji, who is also President and Founder of J Street Hospitality. Delawie Architects of San Diego have designed the new 40-room hotel that will replace the existing structure. J Street Hospitality, along with Delawie, have completed 10 hotel projects in San Francisco and San Diego. Some of the San Diego hotel projects have included the Residence Inn, the Courtyard, the Moxy, and Hotel Z, all located on Sixth Avenue.

The project requires an environmental review per the California Environmental Quality Act. The initial study of the project found there were potential impacts to cultural resources and tribal cultural resources. The Staff Report for this agenda item said in part, “As required by Assembly Bill 52, the City of Coronado initiated a consultation with Native American tribes who may have ancestral connections to Coronado prior to completion of a Mitigated Negative Declaration.”

The report continued, “The draft Initial Study includes mitigation measures to require a grading monitor to observe cutting, grading or excavation activities of previously undisturbed soils, and an archaeological monitoring program if resources are encountered during ground disturbing activities to reduce potentially significant impacts to geology and soils. Additionally, a Native American monitor would be included, as requested by the Kumeyaay Cultural Repatriation Committee. Through incorporation of these mitigation measures, potential impacts to cultural resources and tribal cultural resources would be mitigated to a less than significant level.”

Another challenge, although a lesser one than described above, is the current Hotel/Motel Code for the city requires the height of a property shall not exceed 40 feet or three stories. The new Villa Capri complies with the 40-foot height requirement but is four stories tall. The City of Coronado Planning Commission will need to approve a variance for the project exceeding the three-story height limit.

Some highlights of the new Villa Capri project include:

Underground valet vehicle parking for 21 spaces and one ADA compliant parking space.

The historically-designated ‘Villa Capri’ exterior sign will be relocated to the top floor of the hotel and the historic ‘Diving Lady’ sign will be relocated to the south end of the new hotel.

There will be a 2,000 square foot rooftop bar and restaurant.

The existing hotel is 6,291 square feet and the new structure will be a 18,253 square foot hotel.

The project timeline from demolition of the current structure through construction of the new hotel will take approximately 14 months, with the opening of the new Villa Capri tentatively set for March 2022.

The City Council unanimously approved preparation of the Mitigated Negative Declaration, which when completed will have a 30-day public review and comment period.

The Final version of the Mitigated Negative Declaration will be presented to the City Council for adoption.

The next meeting of the Coronado City Council will be held Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019, at 4 p.m. City Council meetings are held at City Hall, located at 1825 Strand Way in the City.