CITY COUNCIL: Armato holds up alcohol sales at H20 Hermosa hotel

by Dan Blackburn

Brushing aside a wave of vocal local support, Hermosa Beach City Council member Stacey Armato single-handedly temporarily blocked an effort by boutique hotel H2O Hermosa to serve beer and wine to guests.

Hotel officials sought an amendment to their business conditional use permit (CUP) to “provide onsite sale, service, and consumption of beer and wine indoors only, within the hotel lounge for registered guests only.”

The city’s Planning Commission denied the application on a 4-1 vote, and hotel officials appealed to the council.

At the outset of discussion, Mayor Justin Massey recused himself, noting that he “has financial interest in proximate property.”

Only three council members remained (newly elected Raymond Jackson has yet to take office), thus requiring unanimous agreement on the issue.

Restaurateur Ron Newman told the council the application had widespread support among business owners, citing dozens of letters to that effect.

Resident Laura Pena also supported the request, citing what she called “the anti-alcohol sentiment in this city.”

Armato, however, pressed her point that she has received complaints about noise and other issues regarding the hotel’s operation, and said she wants time “to see if they behave themselves.”

Armato noted, “We just need more time to show us they can be good neighbors and can follow the rules before being granted this amendment.”

Community Development Director Ken Robertson told the council that “enforcement officers can see through the [hotel’s] windows at night if there is anything inappropriate going on.” City staff recommended the amendment be approved.

Resident Kent Larson told the council, “There’s a lot of nitpicking going on. Come on, get over it. Let them have this.”

Chamber of Commerce President Jessica Accamando said her organization supported the hotel’s request, noting that the pandemic had “made it more difficult” for all local business owners.

With Armato casting a negative vote, the remaining council decided to bump the issue to July 13 for reconsideration. 

In other action, the council heard from City Manager Suja Lowenthal that City Hall is now open for in-person visits, with appointments. ER 

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Written by: Dan Blackburn

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