CITY HALL — The controversial Hines project’s development agreement was repealed at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting.
The Bergamot Transit Village project was initially approved in a 4 to 3 February vote. Councilmember Gleam Davis, moved by the public protest, changed her mind. Davis’ vote was enough to rescind the February decision in a 4 to 1 vote. There were two abstentions.
The item was brought before council as a result of a successful petition circulated by residents. Council was forced to choose between canning the project and putting it to a public vote later this year.
The Texas-based developer, Hines, will have to start from scratch, reoccupy the site, or build within the current zoning code.
Councilmember Bob Holbrook, who criticized the vitriolic nature of the public discourse, opted to abstain, as did Mayor Pam O’Connor. Mayor Pro Tempore Terry O’Day cast the lone vote in opposition to the project’s repeal, lauding the residents’ referendum drive but noting that he believes in the policy of the plan.
The Hines project consists of five roughly 80-foot-tall building and 765,000 square feet of office, housing, retail, and restaurants.
Opponents point first to the estimated 7,000 daily car trips that the project could add to an already congested area. They say, among many other things, the project was ill conceived and needs more housing.
Advocates point to the $32 million in community benefits over 55 years and the city’s current shortage of creative office space. They note that the land is private and that the developer could simply choose to reoccupy the space. The proposed project, they say, is better for the city.
Residents needed to collect 6,525 signatures from registered Santa Monica voters to put the project on ice and, led by the community group Residocracy, they came back with more than 13,500.
The Daily Press will have a more in-depth story in Thursday’s paper and online later on Wednesday.