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Rick Caruso

Paul Wellman (file)

Rick Caruso


Miramar Hotel: No Day at the Beach

Squabble Over Hearing Date Further Threatens Rebuild


On April 14, the Board of Supervisors will hear two challenges to the Miramar Hotel project approval. The board set that date this week but not without significant pushback from Pasadena-based lawyer Robert Silverstein, who is representing the Pachulski family, Miramar neighbors arguing the 170-room hotel would eat up residents’ on-street parking. For weeks, Silverstein, developer Rick Caruso (who also appealed the approval but for different reasons), and county staff have been in discussions over when to schedule the hearing.

Silverstein maintained he couldn’t attend April meetings given his involvement in a previously scheduled trial but could attend a May 5 hearing. Caruso said he’d be traveling then. Caruso representative Matt Middlebrook said further delaying the hearing would have a “spiraling impact” on the construction schedule yet hinted twice in a three-minute speech that the hotel’s future could be in question regardless. He referred to Caruso Affiliated as “the hopeful developers” and used the phrase, “If we are able to move forward after these appeals are addressed …”

Supervisor Salud Carbajal said county staff did their best to find an acceptable date for the two parties. The Montecito Planning Commission approved Caruso’s project in January ​— ​his third iteration and approval since he purchased the property ​— ​but, to Caruso’s chagrin, imposed temporary caps on event sizes and club memberships.

After Tuesday’s decision, spokesperson Andrew Rice released a statement on the Pachulskis’ behalf. “Supervisor Carbajal tried to spin his selection of April 14 for the Miramar hearing as a compromise. It’s not a compromise at all,” Rice said. “He and the rest of the board were fully aware that the Pachulskis’ legal counsel cannot attend on that date. Yet they blatantly chose to prioritize Caruso Affiliated’s profits over the general public’s right to due process.” Rice suggested that the decision could mean an appeal to the California Coastal Commission.

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