I have given great thought to the Train Station Inn. There is a nostalgic dream of the old train station. I suspect there are many regrets that it was demolished before it was cherished. I’m sure the council members who voted on that decision thought they were doing something to improve Carpinteria.
When I first heard about the idea, it seemed like a sweet development. Yet, when I stood on Fifth Street this morning and really pictured the now large project filling up the already full parking lot, shading the community garden and changing the small town feel forever in the beach area, I realized that I am very opposed to the development.
In addition, as a representative of many vacation rental owners, I’m pretty sure you would be trading transient occupancy tax (TOT) revenue from the beach rentals for the TOT for the hotel. Sure, we may get more people who want to spend time in a quaint beach town. But then what they frequently want to do is buy homes, paying more than locals and often leaving them vacant, so they can visit as suits them. At a time when we have a housing crisis, when locals can’t afford to live in Carpinteria and many workers have to commute from Oxnard and Ventura, does it really make sense?
I’m sure the city is looking at the possibility of the income from the land lease as a compelling factor in budgeting and growing. Personally, I’d rather our town had less. Think small. Instead of filling up the airspace with a hotel, perhaps we should just leave the space so we can enjoy it.
Cherish what we have here in this wonderful community. Change isn’t always good.