Latest Grandi application expires

07/18/2018

The county tabled an application from the owner of the Grandi Building last week, the latest setback for long-delayed plans to restore the site to its former glory as a hotel. 

Owner Ken Wilson obtained county planning permits back in 2005 to transform the building that has sat derelict for more than three decades. He received an extension for those permits in 2007, but it expired in 2011. Mr. Wilson was granted another extension, but in 2012 the county determined that the extension had been approved in error, and revoked it.

In 2014, Mr. Wilson, a Napa Winery owner, applied to have the permits reinstated; at that time, the county deemed his application incomplete. Given the years that had passed, the county needed updated information, including further verification that the maximum flow of wastewater would not be exceeded and a new traffic study that accounted for summer congestion, among other things. 

Though Mr. Wilson attempted to meet some of these concerns since 2014, the county informed him last week that his most recent application to reinstate the coastal permit, use permit, design review and sign review had expired. 

“In this particular instance, we provided Mr. Wilson with a number of extensions, recognizing the information might be challenging to get with respect to septic systems and timeframe with respect to parking,” Curtis Havel, a senior county planner, said. “Expiring the project doesn’t mean it’s a bad project; it’s an attempt to give the Wilson team more time to look at the problems that were raised, give a good, comprehensive response to them, and then re-submit.” 

Mr. Wilson has described a 34-room hotel, a restaurant, 400 square feet of retail space, an outdoor plaza in the back, outdoor seating and pedestrian pathways. Three affordable housing units would be built inside a renovated storage unit at the southwest corner of the property. 

The project would also turn currently informal parking areas into 88 off-street designated spots and 22 spots on the street—eight in front of the Cheda Building and the others on the main street and Second Street sides of the Grandi.

Though Mr. Wilson did not return a request to comment, Mr. Havel has previously explained to the Light that the owner became caught up in red tape and the huge amount of work it takes to proceed with a renovation of one of the town’s oldest buildings. 

The Grandi was built in 1915 to replace a previous building destroyed by the 1906 earthquake. The family christened it with a no-nonsense name: the Point Reyes Hotel. The hotel, along with a popular dance hall, was on the second floor, while the first floor housed a restaurant. When the Depression hit and the railroad left town, business soured. The hotel closed in the 1950s, and the Grandi housed a hardware store and the post office until the 1970s.