There’s a whole lot of new development on the horizon.
The City Council will review and comment on the revised Land Use and Circulation Element tomorrow night. LUCE is City Hall’s blueprint for the physical future of Santa Monica and will set new standards for development, traffic and circulation, green space, sustainability, parks and more.
In the works for years, LUCE will eventually be approved by the City Council. Then, specific zoning, building and “use” codes will be reviewed, amended or created to bring the city plan in line with LUCE’s vision of Santa Monica’s future.
LUCE calls for mixed-use development centered on major transit corridors and lots of low-income and workforce (rental) housing coupled with neighborhood retail uses. Additional building heights and densities will be allowed, especially to encourage low-income housing construction which is now City Hall’s “Numero Uno” priority.
LUCE will also influence how we’ll get around town. Driving personal vehicles will continue to be discouraged. Alternate modes of transit including mass transit (bus and light rail), bicycle and walking will supplant vehicular traffic on many streets. The goal: reduce vehicle trips, promote sustainability and jam traffic.
LUCE calls for increased open space with treescapes and parks built over the freeway in some cases. Shared parking and incentives for historical preservation are included. Conserving and enhancing existing neighborhoods is a goal although there’s nothing in LUCE that prevents multi-family property owners from evicting tenants, demolishing housing and redeveloping with market rate projects such as condominiums.
After Tuesday’s City Council review, there’ll be additional public meetings and chances for input. One sour note is that the latest draft LUCE document was not readily available to the public last week. City Hall had quoted a price of 20-cents a page for copying. At around 500 pages, a printed copy of the draft was $100. By the time this column hits the streets, the draft LUCE should be available on-line or on DVD for a couple of bucks from the City Clerk’s office. Lots of luck finding time to study it before Tuesday night’s council discussion.
Proposed Pico Library uninvited guest in Virginia Park?
The winter issue of the Seascape — City Hall’s newsletter, or as I prefer to call it, "Propaganda Post” — features a glowing if not misleading capsulization of the deeply flawed LUCE and also heralds the new, 7,500-square-foot, $12.8-million branch library proposed for Virginia Avenue Park.
The park “provides the most advantageous and cost effective site for the new library,” trumpets the Seascape. “… An ideal location for the branch is just south of the Thelma Terry building” and it “adds an exciting dimension to the offerings of this rich neighborhood resource.” See why I call it the Propaganda Post?
In any case, the City Council has not approved the library, a budget, design or a final site. There are still those who don’t want to lose scarce open areas or space utilized by the popular Pico Farmers’ Market. Others would prefer it be somewhere else on the Pico corridor.
West L.A. medical park leaves sour taste <p>
Anything built in Santa Monica the next few years could well be overshadowed by a huge development planned for an 11-acre site near the corner of Olympic Boulevard and Bundy Drive in West Los Angeles. The "Bundy Village and Medical Park” will have 385,000-square-feet of medical space 20,000-square-feet of retail/commercial space and 385 residential units, says developer Stonebridge Holdings, Inc.
This project, behind Martin Cadillac, will total of 1.3 million square feet with parking for 3,276 vehicles. Stonebridge estimates it would create nearly 21,000 additional daily car trips in the area, substantially impacting already heavily congested area streets. Numerous Los Angeles groups and the Santa Monica Planning and Community Development Department are opposed to the proposed mega-development.
Did I mention, the owner of the Martin Cadillac property has said he may also develop his own 650,000-square-foot, 2,000 parking space, mixed used project? Oy vey!
Contact the L.A. Department of City Planning at (213) 978-1384 or e-mail luciralia.Ibarra@lacity.org and L.A. City Councilman Bill Rosendahl at (310) 575-8461. You cn e-mail him at email@example.com. Mention Bundy Village, Case No. VTT-66732-CN-DB-GB and say, “No way, Jose.” Also, see www.BundyVillage.info/index.htm and www.StopBundyVillage.com
Art museum is just deserts<p>
Wealthy philanthropist Eli Broad had been eyeing property in Beverly Hills for a museum to house his extensive collection of contemporary art but recently added Santa Monica and another undisclosed city to his short list of possible sites. His museum would include 43,000-square-feet of galleries, public plazas, a sculpture garden, offices and a retail store on 2.5 acres of Civic Auditorium parking lot — previously eyed for a soccer field. The City Council authorized staff to begin negotiations with the Broad Foundations. Smart move.
How about the Landmarks Commissioner/historian who sent out e-mails suggesting that Frank Gehry shouldn’t be hired as the project’s architect. Frank Gehry?. The incredible Guggenheim Museum Bilbao (Spain) and Disney Hall architect? Are you kidding me? He’s exactly who Broad should hire.
Happy Thanksgiving! Bill Bauer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org