CITY HALL — City planners are recommending approval of a MINI dealership at the Planning Commission meeting tonight.
The commission will also consider issuing permits to developers looking to add condominiums at 21st Street and Virginia Avenue, the construction of which will cause bad vibrations in the neighborhood.
The Planning Commission has been knee-deep in the creation of the Draft Zoning Ordinance, which will dictate land-uses throughout the city and will likely be finalized by City Council later this year. Tonight’s meeting is a rare opportunity for the commission to consider other pending projects. There are several on the agenda.
The MINI dealership would be built on Santa Monica Boulevard at the corner of 14th Street. The development would include a cafe, a 6,000-square-foot show rooms, 135 parking spaces, and 21 service bays.
Community benefits include, among other things, local hiring provisions, internships for Santa Monica high school and college students, widened sidewalks, and a transportation demand management program aimed at reducing traffic.
MINI’s building would be nearly all black with yellow, green, and red accent colors to align with the company’s branding. A yellow MINI would hang upside-down from the ceiling over the cafe. Another, adhered to the outside of the building, would face downward as if driving off of the roof.
The building would be 35 feet tall. It would replace a lot that is currently empty but was previously a Union 76 gas station.
The project would bring in an estimated half a million dollars worth of sales tax revenue to City Hall annually, according to city planners.
Developers of a 21-unit townhouse proposed for 21st Street and Virginia Avenue are also looking for the commission’s blessing.
The two-story building would include 19 market rate apartments and two-very low income affordable units. All apartments would have two bedrooms and two parking spaces.
Currently, there are 15 occupied rent control units on the plot that would be demolished if the project is approved. For this reason, the Rent Control Board will have to certify the demolition.
The units are spread out over six single-story residential buildings, built between 1935 and 1951. Because the buildings are more than 40 years old, the Landmarks Commission will also have to grant permission for the demolition. The buildings have been determined, by a state-mandated environmental report, “not to be a significant historic resource.”
That environmental report also shows that the construction of the new condos would have one “significant unavoidable impact”: vibrations.
Vibration decibels (VdB) over 85 are considered to be a human annoyance, according to the report. Vibration levels from this project could reach 87 VdB at homes located 25 feet away to the south and southeast of the site, the report said.
Given the nature of the construction, there’s nothing that can be done to mitigate the annoyance, the report said.