(Mr. Caruso is CEO of Caruso Affiliated, owners of the Miramar property)

Still Committed, Still On Track

Since I purchased the Miramar property nine months ago, I’ve been overwhelmed by the level of interest and support for building something really special on that site.

Since the beginning of this year, we have held dozens of community meetings to get input as well as share our plans. There will be many more meetings in the months ahead. The input we have received, and fond memories that people have shared, have shaped our project design and made it stronger.

Nearly everyone I have met has fond memories of times they spent at the Miramar Hotel. We have tried to capture those memories to the extent possible in our designs for the property, from the cottages, to the landscaping, to the restoration of the boardwalk. We have added new flourishes like a spa, new restaurants, an open-air beach bar, and underground parking to expand the open space throughout the property. Thanks to all of you that have taken the time to share your views with us. We are confident, that once built, the reborn Miramar Hotel will be something the community will be proud to embrace and call its own.

As you may have heard, we recently informed County planners that we needed to redesign a portion of our plan. There is currently a private road that crosses our property that we had hoped to relocate to the easternmost edge of the property. This required the consent of some of our neighbors who use this road for access to their homes. In our discussions about moving the road, they raised concerns about the existing conditions of Oak Creek, which runs along the eastern edge of the Miramar property and ways to improve it. We conducted extensive engineering reviews, which confirmed that our proposed development would have no impact on water flows in Oak Creek, studies we shared openly with our neighbors. Despite the fact that our project would have no impact on Oak Creek, in return for their approval to move the road and in the interest of being good neighbors, we agreed to discuss ways that we could help improve the existing conditions in the creek. Unfortunately, after months of discussions, and offers by our company of more than $1 million in financial assistance to improve the creek, we were unable to reach agreement with them. As a result, they have not agreed to allow us to move the road, and therefore we must redesign the plan.

While redesigning the project will cause a delay, we are working to minimize that by setting to work immediately and hope to have a revised application to the County very soon. You may have seen the story poles that were put up on the site to show the proposed heights. Those have come down, and will be put back up to reflect the new plan at the appropriate time. We are absolutely confident that the new design can be even better than the first plan. As before, we will want your input on the new plan, and we will be seeking it as soon as we have a draft to share with you.

Again, we deeply appreciate everyone who has supported our efforts and shared their time and opinions with us. We are asking for everyone’s patience, but I assure everyone in Montecito that we remain absolutely committed to building a great new hotel at the Miramar site. We will keep you updated on our progress.