Though nearly six out of 10 Pacific Grove voters rejected rezoning to pave the way for his proposed hotel, Texas developer Drake Leddy isn't ready to toss in his cards.
He said Wednesday he plans to "wait until the dust settles" from Tuesday's election on Measure F and, possibly, present a new hotel proposal for the Holman Block. But Leddy said he would go about it much differently in hopes of blunting opposition.
Measure F, which would have prezoned the Holman Block for buildings up to 75 feet tall covering the entire block, was losing after ballots were counted from Tuesday's election by a 59-41 percent margin. Several thousand ballots remain to be counted.
Sally Aberg, a 16-year Pacific Grove resident, said a group with about 150 core members quickly coalesced to oppose the rezoning measure and beat it at the ballot box.
"We are very pleased that people understood and went beyond the confusion," she said Wednesday.
Measure F would have rezoned the downtown block owned by Peninsula developer Nader Agha before Leddy's proposed hotel would go through public hearings and an environmental review process.
Aberg said it was absurd to put the rezoning measure on the ballot before "an application had even been filed, reviewed and vetted." She said the process ran counter to city codes and its charter.
Mustering opposition was "almost a no-brainer" once people read the measure, she said.
Leddy, who held community workshops to outline his proposal, said it was clear in the past few weeks that it was hitting "a significant headwind from the community."
The process — the rezoning first, followed by full project review — was "very difficult to explain ... eyes glazed over quickly," he said.
At the same time, Leddy said he received enough encouragement from members of the community not to abandon the idea of developing a hotel on the site.
"I'm going to let this thing settle and re-look at everything and see if there is a possibility for taking a different direction," he said.
That would entail putting the proposal through environmental review and hearings before city "boards and commissions" in advance of taking it to the voters, he said.
Aberg said current city zoning would allow a much smaller boutique hotel. Leddy's proposal was fundamentally at odds with Pacific Grove, she said.
"We voted decades ago that we are a city of homes," she said. "New businesses ... need to recognize the character of this town."
Larry Parsons can be reached at 646-4379 or email@example.com.