RESIDENTS DEMAND, “SHOW US THE PLANS!”
The Santa Monicans Against the Miramar Expansion Coalition, which now has over 1,000 members, has demanded that they be given “adequate time” to review the Miramar’s massive redevelopment plans in advance of the City Council meeting on Tuesday, April 24, at which the project will be discussed.
The developer, Ocean Avenue L.P. that is owned by billionaires Michael and Susan Dell of Texas, presented its plans at a two-part meeting of the Planning Commission last month. A majority of the 70-some people who spoke at that meeting objected to the redevelopment plans for the Miramar.
Members of the Commission were uniformly critical of the plans, citing its expansion from its current 250,000 square feet to its proposed 500,000 square feet, excessive height, multiple impacts on its neighbors, its “Las Vegas style,” its inclusion of 120 to 200 condominiums, among other things. But, in spite of their largely negative critique, five of the seven Commissioners voted to recommend that the Council enter immediately into negotiations for a Development Agreement with the developer.
In similar situations, the Commission has routinely required developers to revise their plans in light of the criticism and present their revisions to the Commission again before it recommends that they proceed to Development Agreement negotiations.
The Miramar developer has told the City that it will submit revised plans, which Council will review at a “float up” hearing on April 24th, but the plans have not been made available to the public, though “float up” hearings’ specific purpose is to solicit comments from the public.
Why has the community not seen the revised plans for the massive high-rise expansion at the Miramar Hotel?
The Santa Monicans Against the Miramar Expansion Coalition, made up of over 1,000 Santa Monica residents and businesses, has requested that the City require the developers to make the plans public at least one week before the hearing to give residents time to adequately review the plans.
If residents do not have ample time to examine the very elaborate plans for the Miramar redevelopment and expansion, how can they possibly become familiar with, fully understand and comment intelligently on it at the “float up” hearing?
For developers who say that they want public participation and transparency, “this should be a no-brainer,” as one member of the Coalition said. “They should have released the revised plans to the public the moment they were completed, so that the community can understand them prior to the April 24th float up hearing. Withholding the plans denies meaningful participation by Santa Monica residents. Where’s the transparency they promised?
“This Las Vegas-style condominium/hotel/retail project is extremely controversial and will have huge impacts on the community. It would increase the hotel’s size to more than 500,000 square feet, build three new high-rise towers spanning an entire block of Ocean Avenue, create significant traffic and parking challenges and potentially harm the landmark Moreton Bay Fig Tree.
“Residents have a right to adequate time to learn about and understand plans that will impact their lives. The plans’ clear violation of the LUCE would also be a dangerous precedent for all of Santa Monica. Bottom line – the plans should be made available today.”