Shote Hotel ATF Permit


December 1, 2019

After settling an enforcement violation in May 2019 for operating out of conformance with the Coastal Act for nearly a decade, the Santa Monica-based Shore Hotel requested an after-the-fact approval permit for their continued operations. The Shore Hotel proposed to continue operating as a high-cost hotel despite the original permit requiring them to construct and operate a low-to-moderate-cost hotel to replace the 95-room lower-cost hotel that was demolished. Commissioners found the proposed mitigation package extremely inadequate and, instead of denial, opted to negotiate with the applicant from the dais. As a result, the Shore Hotel agreed to supply 72 low-to-moderate-cost hotels on site and to pay a mitigation fee for the remaining rooms. They also proposed to construct and operate a 14-room “micro hotel” in a vacant portion of the building and to offer a youth lodging program within the micro hotel to nonprofit coastal recreation programs aimed at underserved youth.

Why You Should Care

The Shore Hotel exemplifies an attitude among certain developers that as long as they have enough money they can circumvent the law. As a matter of preserving public access, the Coastal Commission requires replacement of any low-cost overnight accommodations to be made on site or for mitigation fees to go toward constructing low-cost rooms in the vicinity. Unfortunately, the mitigation fee program has not resulted in construction of rooms as intended; similarly, decades long lags for use of the funds is common.


Pro-Coast Vote

Anti-Coast Vote

This permit passed in a 7-5 vote with the agreed-upon changes after negotiation with the applicant from the dias. While the final conditions agreed upon were a vast improvement from what the Shore Hotel had proposed, Commissioners could have sent a stronger message to current and future Coastal Act violators by denying the Shore Hotel’s proposal and requiring them to cease operating or to provide 100 percent of the lost low-cost hotel rooms on site. Commissioner Sara Aminzadeh pointed out that assuming a hostel was equivalent to lower-cost hotel rooms for mitigation purposes was “robbing families of the dignity of autonomy of ways in which they can enjoy the coast.” In essence, taking away low-cost hotel rooms and replacing them with a hostel was not sufficient or equitable for low-income families looking for hotel-type accommodations on the coast. Commissioner Aminzadeh also pointed out that it was not clear how the 72 lower-cost rooms agreed upon would be available or marketed to communities and lower income families.

Organizations Opposed

Unite Here Local 11, Surfrider Foundation, California Coastal Protection Network

Decision Type


Staff Recommendation

Approval with Conditions

Coastal Act Policy