Arroyo Grande commission critical of Tompkins’ hotel plan

December 2, 2015
Nick Tompkins

Nick Tompkins

City planning commissioners are requesting that developer Nick Tompkins redesign a hotel he is planning to build in the Village of Arroyo Grande. The proposed architecture does not fit the character of the Village, according to the planning commission majority. [Tribune]

Tompkins has plans to construct a 27,800 square foot 51-room inn at 325 E. Branch Street. The plan emulates coastal buildings in California with darker shutters and a sloped roof.

Planning Commissioners say those features are not appropriate for the 19th Century design that is apparent in most of the Village. The commission voted 3-1 Tuesday night to continue a hearing on the proposed hotel and to give Tompkins time to redesign the building to better fit the surroundings.

Commissioner Glenn Martin cast the lone dissenting vote. Commissioner Terry Fowler Payne recused herself from voting because her son lives in the area.

The planning commission previously approved a plan to open a 10,000 square foot grocery store at the location. Market owners were reluctant to commit to that small of a space, though, and the project fell through.

Tompkins has said he considers the new project to be more of a boutique inn than a hotel.

Inns are generally lower end hotels. Tompkins was absent at the planning commission meeting Tuesday because of an illness.

The majority of Arroyo Grande residents who spoke at the meeting said they would rather see a market at the location than the hotel Tompkins is planning. Residents also objected to the possibility the hotel would include a swimming pool and spa, saying it sends the wrong message about water conservation.

A water use analysis included in the project’s environmental impact report states the hotel would use 1.7 millions gallons per year.

Tompkins recently managed to gain final approval of a highly-contested mixed used development in Arroyo Grande. He is also attempting to build an 80-room hotel in downtown San Luis Obispo.

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It would have been a perfect site for a “boutique” Spencer’s Market! Wonder if they were even asked…

“Looks like a Motel 6”.

“Uglier than a Motel 6”.

“Could be a Vagabond Inn”.

NKT has a resounding approval for a market. The nearby residents are excited, time goes by, and now the tourists get a boutique hotel with NO immunities but a pool, forget the drought!

It was not pretty.

Not from the public’s point of view.

Not from the commissioner’s point of view.

The grocery market plan could not lure a tenant. It was considered too small. I believe 30 prospective tenants were contacted, and all said no. I believe that Spencer’s was contacted very early in the process and said no. I’m sure someone will correct me if I’m wrong about Spencers.

The grocery store proposal used more water, even with the Hotel having a pool included (which should be removed). At this meeting, the “nearby residents” complained of traffic, parking, and school children safety. A grocery store would create more traffic at the worst time of day, and be a much bigger safety concern for the pedestrian and bike riding children. The nearby residents only care about their convenience.

I think the only issue is with the design and layout of the building.

Sounds like you bought the NKT talking points.

30 tenants…hmmm. If a small grocer from Napa (NKT referred to Ox Bow market) was contacted, what do you think the chances are they would even consider coming to AG?

Mark 1 in the contacted column, 29 more to go. Bring on that boutique hotel.

A market in the village would be utilized by walking and vehicular traffic as well. It would lessen the amount of traffic currently heading west, as east side residents would be able to purchase items closer to home.

Residents were expecting a project which would fill a void in the village. Instead, a hotel for tourists is proposed. Who can blame residents for speaking out? Commissioner Fowler-Payne was adamantly opposed when she spoke as a resident.

Curious to know if you believed Tompkins when he said Courtland was his last project in AG too?

This can not be the same Nick Tompkins of NKT commercial, I attended the AG city council meeting where Mr. Tompkins received his approval for his Courtland and Grand project, and during he comments he said that the Courtland project was his last project in Arroyo Grande and we all kn ow Mr. Tompkins would not lie to us, cough cough.