Here are facts ignored in [Bill] Bauer’s breathy, name-calling column that belittles anyone with a contrary view (“Have anti-Fairmont forces gone bonkers?” My Write, 24). The SMDP could perform a better service to the community by publishing views of the residents, none of whom advocate building another high-rise in town on the waterfront. Residents of Santa Monica have opposed the Ocean Avenue, LLC./MSD Corp. proposal for a hotel and condo development on the Miramar site because it:
1) Is more than twice as big as the current Miramar hotel, including a 20-plus story tower that punctures the skyline, blocks views, sea breezes and light at street level, while increasing noise and pressure on community services.
2) Intensifies current problems of congestion, traffic and parking on all adjacent streets.
3) Ignores the wishes expressed by hundreds of residents for their community in public statements and meetings and by the neighborhood associations and others who are in favor of a smaller hotel-only modernization project.
4) Advocates building the tallest tower along the ocean front in a city of low-rise buildings, despite the objections of hundreds of residents.
5) Reduces available street parking in the neighborhood.
6) Ignores the mandate for a transition of structures from Downtown to lower-density residential neighborhoods as stated in the LUCE.
7) Ignores the requirement for outstanding architecture.
8) Draws more people through a part of town already crowded by residents and visitors at the busiest times of the day.
9) Takes property value away from existing property owners in the neighborhood.
10) Imposes a tremendous burden and inconvenience on businesses and residents during several years of construction, without any consideration toward them.
The developer has condoned:
1) Smears and lies in its surreptitious publications.
2) Spreading falsehoods that the Wilshire-Montana Neighborhood Coalition, a democratic nonprofit volunteer association run by the residents, was manipulated by the Huntley Hotel.
3) Trampling on the objections of a longtime business owner and residents who have the right to protect their property while the developer takes value away from their business and other nearby properties.
4) Vigorous lobbying efforts and funding of sympathetic candidates for City Council election campaigns.
5) Ignored requests by council members and planning commissioners to present smaller alternative projects.
The city leaders appear to have encouraged the Miramar hotel-condo proposal. They see the hotel tax revenues as the short-term solution for financing municipal services and retirements. They ignore the long-term consequences, namely that the new condos and affordable housing at this landmark location will increase the population density and will alter the character of Santa Monica for the next 50 to 100 years by setting a precedent for the construction of more high-rise buildings along the ocean front. In addition, the project will impose an ongoing cost to the city. One of the city’s options, so far ignored, is to look for an investor who will take over the Miramar and develop it as a hotel-only project.
Despite our sometimes heated words, after the Miramar controversy has been settled, residents, business owners and government workers will continue to participate in Santa Monica. Let the dialogue now be civil and framed on solutions that embrace what’s best for Santa Monica in the years to come.
Robert M. Gurfield