Kudos to Vice Mayor Al Clark for voicing important issues and for voting his conscience at the last City Council meeting about the leasing agreement for the Surfliner Inn. If we could all agree on one thing, it is this: Carpinteria is a great city, and we love and appreciate living here. Perhaps it is the last great beach town. Are we going to keep it this way, or go the way of other beach towns that have lost their small town feel and charm?
Linden Avenue is the gateway to the beach. Walking, biking or driving on Linden Avenue offers a view of the ocean. Do we want to block that view and change the look and feel of that part of our downtown? What are we gaining by allowing this hotel and what are we giving up? $600,000 is a good deal of money, if that estimate is accurate. In the big picture, it doesn’t compare to sales tax, property tax and cannabis tax that funds the city. If the Surfliner Inn is built, the changes will be permanent. There’s no going back. It’s not an ordinance that can be repealed if we decide it is a bad idea.
Some of the selling points for this project are speculation. Are guests who can afford the rates going to arrive by train? I doubt it. Will guests be happy with the noise and rumbling of the trains? I doubt it. Safety, water and views all need to be considered. Carpinteria could benefit from a boutique hotel, somewhere other than next to the railroad tracks.
One last thought: if there are two floors of rooms and one floor for the pool and meeting area, I call that a three-story building.