I have watched more Santa Monica Planning Commission meetings than any of the current members or staff people have attended, but last night something happened that I had never seen before.

Actually, I didn’t see it, as it happened so fast and so quietly that I blinked, metaphorically speaking, and missed it.

As we reported earlier (see APPLE TO BUILD GLASS HOUSE ON PROMENADE below), Apple plans to build a one-story building on the site of the defunct three-story Borders building on the Third Street Promenade that will have a glass ceiling/roof, and a front wall of glass.

Glass roof, glass wall…that is, to say the least, unusual, but Apple itself
is unusual. At one point during the Wall Street hurly-burly last week,
Apple had more cash on hand than the U.S. government, and, of course,
it makes beautiful, useful and astonishing things, and Steve Jobs, who
created Apple and everything that followed, is himself beautiful, useful
and astonishing.

As it does with all commercial projects, City staff prepared a detailed staff report on the Apple project (though it did not mention Apple and purported not to know who the actual builder was), complete with renderings, and, as it virtually always does, it concluded that the commission should approve the project and it should go forward.

Nothing surprising there. The surprise was that the staff put the project
on the Consent Calendar. I cannot remember any large, complex commercial
project ever going on the Consent Calendar. Apple was the only item on last
night’s Calendar. And, under the rules, the Consent Calendar is approved as
a whole – unless someone wishes to pull at item for discussion.

And in that crucial blink, the commissioners approved the Consent Calendar
(aka Apple Glass House), and that was that – except for a staff report on the
redesign of the Project Case List, after which they adjourned.

I’ve always favored low key, but no key leaves a lot to be desired. In this
case, I wanted very much to hear the Commissioners talk about Apple’s
glass house…so very, very much. But, apparently, they were rendered
speechless. Or had early dinner plans.

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