The Thousand Oaks Planning Commission voted 4-1 Monday to recommend the city council approve a development permit and zoning change for the Homewood Suites and Home2 Suites by Hilton Hotel, planned at 225 N. Moorpark Road. Vice Chair Justin Link cast the dissenting vote.
Commissioners, Greater Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce officials, residents and other tenants at Janss Marketplace said the 216-room hotel, on the 1-acre site will help revitalize the 38-acre shopping center and contribute to the city’s economy. “These overnight (hotel) stays generate tax revenue for the city and create a lot of jobs,” said Josh Gray, the chamber’s director of government affairs and tourism.
“The city of Thousand Oaks needs more hotels,” Gray told commissioners. “The Hampton Inn (& Suites) opened in 2009. We haven’t had a new hotel in Thousand Oaks for 14 years.”
According to a Community Development Department staff report, if the remaining approval is given, construction would begin in spring 2024 and the hotel would open in winter 2025.
Evangelina Young, director of operations at Gold’s Gym SoCal Group, said she supports the addition of the hotel. Gold’s Gym has a location at Janss Marketplace.
“We feel it would really draw in foot traffic, and I think it would benefit all the retailers and residents in the surrounding area,” said Young, a Simi Valley resident.
Commissioner Marcella Tyler Ketelhut said the hotel will be a place where applicants for jobs or new employees can stay.
The development permit would allow applicants NewMark Merrill Companies, the owner of Janss Marketplace, and Verdant Thousand Oaks LLC to demolish a 35,500-square-foot, two-story building that housed a Marshalls department store until 2017 and dental offices until 2019.
The permit would allow the applicants to build on the same site the approximately 133,000-square foot hotel, which includes about 13,000 square feet of retail space on its first floor.
The proposed hotel also includes an approximately 5,200-square foot courtyard for special events. A pool on an outdoor deck on the second floor is also planned.
As part of its 4-1 vote, the commission recommended the city council change the zoning at the hotel site from Community Shopping Center, which has a maximum height limit of 35 feet, to Community Shopping Center-Height Overlay, which would allow the hotel its height of 75 feet.
Senior Planner Scott Kolwitz noted nearby businesses at Janss Marketplace have waivers that allowed them to exceed 35 feet. For example, he said, Regal Cinemas is 40 feet, 6 inches high.
Kolwitz also said the proposed hotel is consistent with the current land-use plan and the draft 2045 land-use plan.
As part of its approval, the planning commission recommended the city council approve a special-use permit to allow the sale and consumption of beer, wine and distilled spirits with food service at the hotel’s bar and restaurant.
“All of our rooms will have a full kitchen and are designed to meet the needs of many businesses and families, including those visiting a loved one at nearby Los Robles (Regional) Medical Center,” said Atman Kadakia with Greens Group, the developer behind the proposed hotel.
Kolwitz said the hotel’s contemporary design would be consistent with the rest of Janss Marketplace and would feature earth tones.
He said the hotel wouldn’t need additional parking. Guests could use the marketplace’s current, four-story parking structure and that the shopping center’s existing 2,642 parking spaces would suffice for the hotel and other businesses.
While noting that the hotel could help revitalize the shopping center, Link, the commission vice chair, cited concerns that the traffic impact wasn’t addressed adequately.
Kolwitz said the project satisfies traffic concerns.
According to a Community Development Department report that Kolwitz discussed, the hotel would generate a net increase of 64 morning peak-hour trips and 41 afternoon peak-hour trips on surrounding streets. That meets the city’s criteria because it’s fewer than 100 net peak-hour trips in both cases.
Article by Dave Mason for the Ventura County Star