To the City Council:
In 2010 a four story Spanish Revival complex proposed at 301 Ocean Avenue dwarfed the neighboring apartments on San Vicente and was not harmonious with the scale and character of the neighborhood. A two story deep excavation that would displace over 31,500 cubic yards of soil in close proximity to the Palisades Park cliffs only 100 feet away was proposed. The project site had “High Potential” for landslides according to the City of Santa Monica’s Geologic Hazards Map (Geographic Information Systems, 2001). Massive excavation in such a hazard zone alone should be sufficient cause for major public concern. Ignoring the risk of a development with massive excavation works on that site naturally exposes the City to liability for not taking reasonable precautions to prevent human tragedy on a massive scale.
The proposed deferral of City Council review for CEQA-exempt projects before you tonight would mean that the above project, being for “only” 20 condo units, would not come to you until it had been decided upon at earlier stages in the ” review” process. As per this proposed process you would have been asked to “rubber stamp” it. In other words you are now being asked to become the “rubber stampers” for the worst planning practices.
Santa Monica developers are results-driven limited partners funneling money relentlessly from global channels into “investment wrapper” cities. When shaping projects for such “development game players” Santa Monica’s professional planners, architects and engineers have a duty to uphold age long traditions of concern for human safety and well being. Using “workload overload” as an excuse to cast that duty aside is a sign that Santa Monica City no longer wishes to promote respect of those traditions.
Reject this streamlining proposal as a shoddy excuse to put money before the safety and welfare of your citizens.