Corte Madera hotel plan clears Planning Commission

The long and embattled plan to rebuild the Best Western Inn in Corte Madera has been approved by the Planning Commission.

After a nearly four-hour hearing Tuesday, the commission voted unanimously to send the project plans to the Town Council for a final decision. The commission’s recommendation comes with a few minor requests on the design, such as more toned down colors and patterns.

Reneson Hotels, which owns the site at 56 Madera Blvd., first proposed its plans in 2014.

“I think the quality of the application reflects what we’ve been able to do here,” commission chair Peter Chase said of the project. “For the Reneson team here, I think it’s really quite an accomplishment.”

Garrett Grialou, president of Reneson Hotels, said it hasn’t been an easy road.

“But I think at the end of the day, we’ve come up with a project I think you all could be proud of,” he said.

The 110-room hotel and restaurant are on a 5.53-acre lot between Tamal Vista Boulevard and Highway 101.

A plan to pave a half-acre pond there drew heavy criticism, leading the company to redesign a project that would keep the pond. However, planning commissioners wanted an in-depth pond restoration plan before they would consider approval, so the developers withdrew the application.

Now, after several years of revisions, the company proposes to retain the pond and add habitat enhancements.

The new hotel would be a 149-room Residence Inn with a mix of three- and four-story sections, standing 47-feet at the highest point. There would be no onsite restaurant.

The project would comply with the tier 1 requirements of the California green building standards code. The site would have 169 parking stalls, including six accessible spaces and 14 with electric vehicle charging capabilities.

The environmental report considered impacts to aesthetics, air quality, biological resources, geology and soils, determining that all impacts could be mitigated to less-than-significant.

Residents expressed support for the plan.

“I’m completely supportive of the commission proving this and sending to the Town Council,” David Macpherson said. “It’s a much better project than what was previously submitted and I’m so pleased that the applicant and owner stuck with this.”

Pat Ravasio said she wants town officials to hold the owners accountable for renovating and caring for the pond.

“The pond itself is part of their responsibility to keep it living and vibrant,” Ravasio said. However, she said she liked the project overall.

“You have done something so far and above where we were last time around,” she said at the meeting.

Information on the Town Council hearing will be posted at townofcortemadera.org.

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