Version:1.0 StartHTML:0000000169 EndHTML:0000024616 StartFragment:0000002866 EndFragment:0000024580 SourceURL:file://localhost/Users/peggyclifford/Documents/Chaos
At frequent intervals, during discussions of the revision of the land use and circulation elements of the General Plan (LUCE), the City’s Planning Director, Eileen Fogerty, notes that our residential neighborhoods, which amounts to 94 percent of Santa Monica, , will not be revised.
As Hemingway said, in another context, “Wouldn’t it be nice to think so?”
In fact, every alteration in the business and commercial areas of the city is felt in the neighborhoods.
This continuing perturbation has accelerated as City Hall’s ambitions have grown.
An extreme example of a so-called improvement in the business area causing serious problems in residential neighborhoods
occurred when the City’s brand-new luxe office district triggered the traffic tsunami that swamped the freeway, the Pico Neighborhood and Sunset Park, and has grown worse every year.
But that pales when compared to what’s now in the works.
City Hall’s exploding commercial/municipal development policies, as limned in LUCE, and already underway, are already ricocheting through the allegedly sacrosanct residential neighborhoods with lethal force.
What we need in LUCE is a restoration plan for repairing the damage done in the last two decades. What we’ve got is a bulldozer.
28th Street becomes Stewart Street at Pico, runs under the freeway and north to Colorado, linking Sunset Park, the Pico Neighborhood and the Mid-City neighborhood. Now it’s ground zero in the latest and largest commercial/municipal assault.
The City has ignored residents’ objections and okayed the installation of the Expo Light Rail maintenance yard at Stewart and Exposition Boulevard ––
literally in the midst of a pleasant residential neighborhood.
City Hall is also proceeding with its long-simmering plan to expand its recycling and maintenance yards from Cloverfield to Stewart.
Richland, a Texas-based company, has leased 30 acres at 1800 Stewart from the City on which it plans to build a medical research facility and a 300-unit housing complex.
Santa Monica College recently opened its new $40 million theater complex at 11th and Santa Monica Boulevard. Now it wants to build another theater, with parking for 600 cars, at its
Arts and Entertainment Technology campus on Stewart Street.
Lionsgate Films will present its plans for its new offices at Stewart and Colorado to the the Planning Commission in February.
And last week we learned that Hines, a Texas-based developer, is making plans, in concert with the City, to build the Bergamot Transit Village Center on Olympic between 26th and Stewart. It will combine offices, housing and retail in a one million square foot complex
If all these projects go forward, Stewart Street, between the freeway overpass and Colorado will soon be “enhanced” by two maintenance yards, a research facility, nearly 700 new apartments, hundreds of new offices, a theater, a film company HQ and a huge “village.”
This isn’t planning. It’s lunacy. It takes “mixed use”
to a whole new level, shatters the existing residential neighborhood and compounds the traffic problems suffered by Sunset Park and Mid-City residents.
And that’s just the beginning.
Three large projects have bcen proposed for the area between Stewart and Stanford on Colorado in what is now a residential neighborhood with tree-lined streets and fine old houses and apartment buildings.
What was Drescherville, a grandly eccentric gathering of small artists’ studios, between Olympic and Nebraska is the site chosen by a developer who wants to build over 1,000 SROs (single rooms about the size of a parking space).
And as we have previously reported, just across Centinela, in West L.A., developer is planning the 1.3 million square foot Olympic Village and “Medical Park” at Bundy and Olympic.
This misbegot package of mega-projects wil not make Santa Monica a better town or fill any needs. It will disrupt or destroy irreplaceable neighborhoods, such as the Village Trailer Park. It will enlarge and extend the traffic nightmare that dominates that area. It will make a lot of money for the developers and City Hall.
But, in their excitement, the City and the developers have got ahead of the process.
The state mandates that cities revise their General Plans every 20 years in order to ensure that citizens maintain control of their town’s destiny. In effect, it is our Constitution.
The 1984 revision expired in 2004. The draft of the 2004 revision has just been released. The Environmental Impact Report (EIR) won’t be released until next month.
Strictly speaking, as we are without a current General Plan, and the zoning that derives from it, commercial development should be on hold. The state permits cities in these circumstances to declare a moratorium on new projects. Months ago, the neighborhood organizations asked the City to declare a moratorium. The City Attorney said it “would be difficult to craft,”
And that was that. And the City and the developers went on talking.
But the LUCE is OUR Constitution, , not City Hall’s, not the developers’
And it’s our town and our destiny.
Read the LUCE, the EIR, follow the Planning Commission and City Council discussions, and, above all, speak up – unless you look forward to living in “the little city with the really big traffic jams.”