CHICO — The 3-2 decision by the Chico Planning Commission on Thursday night to deny a hotel project left the packed audience of California Park residents cheering and clapping.
Sandy Goulart, who has been at the forefront of the fight since the beginning said she felt relief but was tired.
“It’s been a long three years,” Goulart said. “I’m thrilled. There’s nothing like teamwork. You have to give back and that’s really where you get the most of yourself too.”
Martha Ellington, the president of the California Park Homeowners Association, provided a statement thanking the planning commission for the decision.
“We are thankful to the Planning Commission for their vote to deny the hotel’s request for a special use permit,” Ellington said. “We feel that the majority of the commissioners heard our repeated pleas to deny a hotel; the site is clearly not compatible nor beneficial to the surrounding neighborhood which is comprised of senior citizens. We want to acknowledge the outpouring of support from our residents who filled the council chambers and thank all who took the time and effort to prepare a presentation to the commission. Huge thanks to our principle organizer, Sandy Mezger Goulart, and our No Hotel committee members.”
Although the denial was approved by the commission, this likely won’t be the end.
Continuum Hospitality, the applicant for the proposed Marriott Hotel on the corner of Highway 32 and Bruce Road, will have until Aug. 1 to file an appeal with the Chico City Clerk’s Office.
City Clerk Debbie Presson said that should the applicant file an appeal, it would then go before the Chico City Council during a meeting scheduled for no less than 30 days and no more than 45 days from the date of filing.
“(The City Council) can either uphold the Planning Commission’s position or overturn that and approve the project,” Presson said, adding if the decision to deny the application is upheld, it is possible the applicant could sue the city.
Principal Planner Bruce Ambo said he’s spoken with the applicant and they plan to appeal the decision before the council.
“Notices will be sent to everyone in the same manner as the Planning Commission hearing,” Ambo said.
The proposed hotel was planned for a 4.09-acre span of land on the north corner of Highway 32 and Bruce Road and would have faced the California Park neighborhood. This led to considerable backlash from many residents of the community. Concerns were voiced at Thursday’s meeting regarding evacuation issues, trespassing, water usage and the hotel itself having to connect to Sierra Sunrise Terrace, a private road.
Goulart said the group, No Hotel, would be taking the next 10 days to rest, adding that the fight will continue if it needs to.
“Somebody’s got to do it and we got together and did it,” Goulart said.