5-98-156-A15 Page 8
The hotel site is situated on the most inland extent of the Downtown Shoreline area and State Tidelands, about eight hundred feet inland of Rainbow Harbor (Exhibit #3). Therefore, the proposed hotel is not located within any of the protected view corridors.
Building Heights in the Downtown Shoreline Area
The Commission has always addressed building heights whenever visual resources are discussed. Large and excessively tall structures can negatively impact the character of an area as well as public views. In several past actions, however, the Commission has found that tall buildings, if sited correctly, may be appropriate in high-density urban areas like downtown Long Beach. The previously approved Pike development includes structures that range from thirty to 152 feet above the flood plain elevation (See Appendix B - Special Conditions Seventeen and Eighteen of amended Coastal Development Permit 5-98-156).
In general, the certified City of Long Beach LCP calls for a pattern of development in the Downtown Shoreline area that allows only shorter buildings (40 feet) in the area closest to the water (LCP Subarea 6), medium buildings (40-80 feet) on the Tidelands Parcel located inland of the first public road (LCP Subarea 5, where the proposed hotel would be built), and high-rise buildings (up to 600 feet) located farther inland along Ocean Boulevard (LCP Subarea 4). This pattern of development creates a step pattern from downtown to the water, with high-rise buildings along Ocean Boulevard in LCP Subarea 4 and low-scale structures next to the water in LCP Subarea 6. In LCP Subarea 5, where the hotel is proposed, medium-rise buildings provide a visual transition between the high-rise development and the smaller buildings surrounding Rainbow Harbor (Exhibit #2).
The proposed project involves the construction of a large hotel building in downtown Long Beach, where large buildings are common. The proposed seven-story, ninety-foot high hotel would be built on the site where the underlying coastal development permit approved the construction of an eighty-foot high theater that has not been built. The proposed seven-story hotel is situated in LCP Subarea 5 between the extended rights-of-way of Cedar Avenue and Pacific Avenue. As stated previously in this report, the certified LCP specifically calls for a hotel, up to twelve stories high, to be built in LCP Subarea 5 between the extended rights-of- way of Cedar Avenue and Pacific Avenue.
The scale of proposed hotel is consistent with the buildings that already exist next to the site. Immediately north of the project site, on the inland side of Seaside Way, a recently constructed apartment complex is sixty-to-ninety feet high (above street level). The seven-level Pike parking structure, on the western side of the project site, is one hundred feet high (to the top of the architectural feature). The other buildings in the Pike development, where the hotel is proposed, range between thirty and sixty feet in height (not including architectural extensions).
Many other existing buildings in the Downtown Shoreline area have heights equivalent to the hotel proposed in this application. In fact, in LCP Subareas 3 and 6, the Commission has approved buildings with heights above sixty feet. These recently approved and constructed structures include the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific (62 feet), the City-owned parking structure next to the Aquarium of the Pacific (55 feet with 70-91 foot high architectural extensions), and the California State University Headquarters building (99.5 feet).