Monterey County

Lighthouse Avenue development moves forward in Monterey

Monterey apartments stir controversy

MONTEREY, Calif. - UPDATED: A major development on Lighthouse Avenue in Monterey will proceed after a vote by the City Council Tuesday night. 

The developers hope to revitalize an area that hasn't been touched in years. The proposed development is at 230 Lighthouse. It's planned as a mixed-use development with both retail and living spaces.

The developer, Carl Outzen had a use permit approved by the Monterey planning commission in January. But Sharon Dwight with the New Monterey Neighborhood Association filed an appeal in February.

Dwight said neighbors were concerned too much is planned for the site. Her appeal addressed five issues, two of which are the height of the project and the added congestion it would bring on Lighthouse Ave.

"Staff does not believe there was an error," said Taven Kinson Brown, principal planner for Monterey.

Kinson Brown said there were minor concerns with density, but all issues were studied and he said the project is promising for the area.

"Should the project be approved, it's going to bring retail, 7,000 square feet on the street level," said Kinson Brown.

At Tuesday's meeting, the City Council denied Dwight's appeal on a 4 to 1 vote. The project now goes to the Architectural Review Committee to look over what the planning commission as approved. The council is asking for some slight modifications, but Outzen said he doesn't think it will be too much to deal with.

Brian Bode, who owns Oya Salon, said he was excited about the development. For a decade, he's had to look across Lighthouse Avenue at two old, unoccupied buildings.

"That's been an eyesore for a really long time," said Bode.

He's very hopeful about Outzen's plans to revamp the area into a mix of new retail and living spaces.

"A lot of people right now want to live in urban situations, they want to live in a place where they have the bars and restaurants and kind of that place and feel like they are in a more urban area I think that is what is going to provide," said Bode.

While opponents say it does not make good planning sense, Brian Bode said it's just what Lighthouse needs.

"It needs that type of energy to infuse in the city and create some excitement," said Bode.

On Wednesday morning, the day after the City Council denied Dwight's appeal, Outzen told Central Coast News the vote was "great news to have the City Council behind him." He said he is confident the project will benefit the neighborhood.

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