Montara Hotel
A developer says there isn't enough hotel space in Montara and hopes his proposal will serve tourists looking for a coastal retreat. Illustration courtesy San Mateo County

A new three-story, 22-room hotel planned for Montara will come forward for public comment at a workshop next week.

Aaron’s Inn, set to occupy the parcel behind Gherkin’s on Main Street in Montara, would replace two existing homes on the block with 20,603 square feet of rooms and an underground garage.

Planners will hear public comment on the project at a workshop set for Nov. 17.

Developer Paul McGregor said his vision for the hotel is to provide a place for all visitors to the Coastside to stay in Montara. He said 10 percent of the rooms will be dedicated to affordable lodging for lower income families and the hotel will be family-run and locally staffed. The cost of building the finished hotel is still to be determined.

“Montara has one existing hotel and there are not enough rooms to supply the needs of California beachgoers,” McGregor wrote in an email to the Review.

The planned hotel closely resembles a project proposal from 2016 that McGregor submitted but which never underwent the permitting process. According to county planner Ruemel Panglao, the new designs have some key changes. He said the previous designs featured three stories in addition to the underground parking lot. After county planners designated the parking its own story, the top floor, previously planned for residential units, had to be scrapped.

“It is reduced in height compared to the original proposal,” Panglao said.

McGregor said he expects substantial feedback from the community, especially in light of the mixed community response to his 2016 project. Although large development projects on the coast usually face resistance, Panglao said he hasn’t yet received much community correspondence and is hoping the approval process will be relatively smooth.

“There is nothing that’s out of the ordinary,” Panglao said. “But it will draw attention.”

After the public workshop, Panglao said McGregor will have to respond to comments and then go through the standard permitting process, including getting a Coastal Development Permit. Panglao said the project would ultimately be subject to a decision by the county Planning Commission.

“It’s still subject to change,” Panglao said. “After the meeting, we will get into the nitty gritty.”

Members of the Midcoast Community Council who review permits for upcoming development projects plan to meet prior to the public meeting to review the proposed hotel, but didn’t have comments as of press time. Neither did representatives from local group Resist Density, saying they’re waiting for more information.

Residents who wish to review and provide input on the plans should visit for documents and meeting information.

This version corrects the address for the Midcoast Community Council website.

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