Portofino Hotel decision delayed again

ENCINITAS — The Encinitas Planning Commission will again delay a hearing on a proposed renovation of a hotel on Coast Highway 101 that has caused controversy within the community.

The commission has rescheduled the hearing on the proposed renovation of the Portofino Beach Inn, which was supposed to take place July 20, to Sept. 7. 

As with the last delay, the commission is giving the applicant a chance to retool the plans to satisfy community and commission concerns about traffic and the project’s proposed valet parking component.

The ownership group, 101 Hotel Inc., wants to remodel the current 45-room establishment into a 44-room upscale boutique hotel with a full-service restaurant, a 600-square-foot lobby and bar area with eight stools and 24 seats, a rooftop deck and a pool area. 

The project has been the focus of several heated community meetings, in which neighbors expressed worry over the apparent lack of parking and potential noise emanating from some of the outdoor features — including the pool and proposed rear room balconies. 

The proposal included a plan for valet service to allay some of the parking concerns, but at the May 18 Planning Commission meeting, several residents who live along Melrose Avenue, a residential street that runs parallel to Coast Highway 101, complained that the proposed valet service would clog their street with added traffic. 

Hotel representatives said the new plan could change or eliminate the valet parking altogether, which would require a major redesign, thus the request for an extension. 

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