Reneson Hotel’s latest Corte Madera Inn redesign tweak is still boxy, ugly, heavy on concrete and kills historic wildlife pond habitat.
Citizens have a right to expect better at the gateway to Larkspur-Corte Madera, especially as a counterbalance to the 180-unit architectural abomination now being marketed as Tam Ridge Residences.
Corte Madera’s Planning Commission is under no obligation to hand out entitlements to a project that doesn’t meet the town’s design or development criteria. It matters little whether the developer is new to Corte Madera or, as is the case here, a family-owned enterprise claiming a long and friendly association with the town.
Reneson’s massive 175-unit project — despite its many iterations — still looks like any Marriott hotel/motel on any interstate in the United States.
Transplant it to Bakersfield and it would fit there beautifully.
But please not Corte Madera.
Not next to Shorebird Marsh.
Adding white trim and “gingerbread” details does not transform very mediocre design into what one planning commissioner described, inaccurately, as “Arts and Crafts architecture.”
Why does the commission appear poised to approve a mammoth hotel project which neither saves the inn’s historic wildlife pond nor honors this key injunction of the general plan: “Require residential, non-residential and infrastructure design that respects natural areas and ecosystems within Corte Madera?”
Perhaps commissioners are tired. They say they are.
But, after three years of citizen protests, so are we.
“Design fatigue,” cited by commissioners, is not a safe or sane reason for facilitating big developers or poorly designed projects.