The City Council has ordered a survey to gauge how residents feel about development Downtown. We figured we’d cut to the chase and ask our readers what they think.

 

This past week Q-Line asked:

What are your feelings about development and why?

 

Here are your responses, and we received more than we had space to print them:

 

“I am in favor of responsible development of the city, things that are in the right scale and fit into our lifestyle, but I am definitely opposed to 20 story high-rise buildings especially on Ocean Avenue.”

 

“I think what we need to do is stop all development Downtown for awhile. It’s getting much too big. It’s getting too polluted, too crowded. We’ve got to stop for a couple of years, just think everything over. The Miramar project is one example. They’re trying to make Santa Monica into San Francisco or Miami Beach and it’s ridiculous. Let’s all calm down and see what we can do to make Santa Monica a better place because right now the pollution and the noise and traffic is just killing us all.”

 

“Development has become a rampant disease in this city with no consideration to the residents and no concern about the unmitigated traffic. Sad to say but welcome to the developer’s republic of Santa Monica.”

 

“Santa Monica is on its way to becoming a concrete canyon. Next time you stand in front of a six-story building and a one or two-story building see if you notice a difference. Now imagine a 22-story building sucking up an ocean breeze and daylight, and traffic and parking problems to go with it. That’s our visionaries at work with the LUCE that lays a rotten egg. Do we need a builder to tell us all the benefits and programs that will be lost if we don’t go along with their plans? I’d prefer to tell them what has been lost already and to go get lost.”

 

“Stop building stuff. Nothing should be built that has more square footage than whatever was torn down to make room for it. Put up a large building, tear down a bunch of smaller ones, the rest of the area has to remain open space. Park, parking, either one.”

 

“Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights uses development to fund their social service programs, and expand their voter base. Development does not improve the quality of life for current residents. For example, the Village Trailer Park redevelopment was not approved until the owner agreed to convert the proposal from condos to rental housing. The Bergamot project has no home ownership proposals, no condos, all the housing is rental housing. The city wants to approve three new hotels so the 14 percent bed tax, the increased property taxes, and the sales tax revenue generated by the tourists spending money will fund more OPCC homeless shelters, more Step Up on Second housing for the mentally ill, and more Community Corp multifamily low-income rental housing. The residents get more traffic, more crime, no street lights in residential neighborhoods, no new parks (the park across from City Hall will be for residents of the adjacent low-income housing project).”

 

 

“If the city has an agenda, they should state what it is. How many more people does the council want to squeeze into our city limits?”

 

“Smart development is essential to our community’s health. Right now, many of us leave town to do our shopping. Sometimes a well-stocked department store is needed, like Target. Well, have to go to Culver City for that. Development helps pay the bills. I love being a tourist destination. Does anyone realize how much revenue they generate for our schools and General Fund? Bring more, I say! Development along the Expo Line corridor is essential, too. What better place to develop new apartment units for people who will be using the Expo Line to get to work and school. So I say more hotels for tourists in Downtown and more apartments and condos, even upwards of 10 stories, along the rail line and along Santa Monica’s eastern borders.”

 

“The city’s mishandling of the Downtown plan, including the proposal for lots of opportunity sites with heights and densities that greatly exceed the low-slung scale of our Downtown will be a big factor in next year’s council election. Our Downtown is rightly celebrated for its human scale and pleasing relationship to the ocean. You don’t enhance a city like Santa Monica by building isolated towers that disfigure it.”

 

“I think the city is moving too fast to approve every development project that is presented to it. Our Downtown is becoming a hornet’s nest of cars and frustration trying to find parking. Most residents walk these days so the traffic appears to be coming from tourists and drivers from other parts of Los Angeles. I’m afraid we are scaring people away. I’ve heard it more than once from visitors who say they will never come here again to shop as it is too frustrating. If our City Council wishes to make Santa Monica a magnet for tourism they need to first be bold and innovative with traffic solutions. So far, they are simply turning to consultants for answers and those consultants don’t take residents’ quality of life into account. What we have now is becoming unbearable. I can’t imagine what it will be like here when all the mixed-use projects are built. We need to get the traffic and parking problems we have now solved before moving forward with projects that create more people and more cars.”

 

“Is it any wonder the council members who support all the development also receive large sums to their campaigns for re-election? It’s time to clean house and get rid of these council members! The bottom line is that the city is only interested in the almighty dollar.”

 

“The height and amount is too much for this small town. There is no thought to traffic flow, parking and need for this. In fact, it is an avoidance of other problems in the city to have the council only read blueprints at every meeting, which I don’t think they are qualified to do. Address the traffic, lack of left turn signal lights, violence and guns in a sector of the city, lack of employment for local people, bring some music into the parks, dances. If they need the money it is due to lack  of fiscal management in the past and pensions for city employees really don’t go high on my list of importance in life at the moment due to lack of any good employment here. So I think it is a diversion tactic, you build and then don’t deal with the aftermath of it. Building is OK to some degree if there is some intelligent plan of what to do about supermarkets being available and other needs so you don’t have to have a car, etc. There are many other issues to address.”

 

“At present, the city of Santa Monica is already overdeveloped. To approach Santa Monica Place from the east along Colorado Avenue or Santa Monica Boulevard is glacially and painfully slow because of the traffic congestion.”

 

“There are places in Downtown that I would like to shop, for example, REI, or stores in the mall or on the Third Street Promenade, but I avoid going there because I know I will have to creep along in traffic in order to get there. I am not going to ride my bike, as the City Council so blithely assumes I can be encouraged to do. I am 70 years old, a 35-year resident, I live 4 miles from Downtown. I prefer to shop in Brentwood where there still exist open-air parking lots and parking garages that validate.”

 

“More development in will mean yet more traffic congestion and, if the City Council and Planning Commission prevail in their relentless drive to appease developers (who contribute to their election campaigns), it will become even more stressful to visit our own Downtown. The Downtown area will be a destination for tourists only while we residents shop and dine elsewhere.”

 

“My feeling abut all the extreme new development is Santa Monica is becoming a ‘cement city’ losing all identity as a charming, inviting sea city.”

 

“Why in the world is our inspired (or impaired) City Council spending money to hire outside consultants for a ‘scientific study’ about development in Santa Monica? We residents have been telling them our opinions on development for years. We want less!  There must be limits on height and density, not only in Downtown, but in every area of our city. May I repeat ‘our city,’ not the domain of the Planning Commission, the City Council or the developers.”

 

“Here is a town that has until now been pushing commercial development, increased beach tourism and more residential housing. While pushing all three the city has no sensible traffic plan in place. Roads are now too crowded both into and out of the city. Local streets cannot handle peak demand. The city approaches gridlock while the City Council promotes increased road usage. There should be no development now or in the foreseeable future until improved movement of traffic is a reality. The 10 needs to be widened. City streets need to be reconfigured to handle increased traffic. I am not at all sure city streets will ever be able to handle increased traffic. The new light rail system will not reduce traffic, but bring more traffic as well as more pedestrians to Downtown.”

 

“As a 40-year resident of Santa Monica, I am dismayed at the intensity and the speed of development throughout Santa Monica, not just Downtown. I fully accept the need to adapt and change the residential and commercial areas in which people live. I feel that the various departments of the city’s government have acted recklessly in ignoring the terms of the LUCE document, and have not seen fit to adhere to the concept of planning with an overview to the city as a whole. They give citizens of Santa Monica the impression that they care more for what they desire than what the residents and voters want. When will they finish the LUCE? When will they accept its terms? Why do they ignore opinions voiced at public meetings and in the local press? They seem to have forgotten that they are not despots, but they must answer to all the voters, and are responsible for the welfare and living conditions of all of the city’s residents. Thank you for giving residents a chance to air our thoughts on this subject.”

 

“Santa Monica is on lock down thanks to bloated development and social engineering. There may be some good intentions mixed with the greed and indifference, but they don’t excuse strangling our city into marginal livability. Name a more paralyzed part of L.A. County. It will then be too late, but when the smoke clears don’t be surprised to see the folk who brought us our ‘great leap forward’ make the gang at the city of Bell look like choirboys by comparison. To quote a classic movie: ‘It’s Chinatown, Jake.’”

 

“Allow 50 percent increase in height above maximum allowed only in the eight designated ‘opportunity’ sites and only if there are exceptional community benefits along with exceptional iconic design solutions that are judged by a panel of architects and architectural critics neither living nor practicing in Santa Monica. Otherwise Downtown should maintain and restore where possible its beachfront scale and character while also emphasizing open space, landscape and ‘walkability’ per the LUCE goals.”

 

“Our Downtown is already at saturation in traffic, density and city services. Cramming more people and cars into this overcrowded space without adequate regard or planning for the citizens’ safety or well-being is highly irresponsible. Our coastal skyline is a landmark that should be preserved, just as all the other California coastal cities have done by restricting height and density. The high-rise hotels are out of place and character for Santa Monica.”

 

“Our city is inexorably losing its special charm, relentlessly being transformed into a landscape that is increasingly overcrowded and frequently brought to a standstill by gridlock. We all appreciate that businesses expand our tax base, but there is a tipping point that we may have already passed where too much of a good thing becomes a bad thing. We are a green town and getting greener by the day. But the green that our City Council seems to value the most is not the color of grass but the color or money. A special seaside town like ours can retain its unique character only if it is treated with the careful planning and respect it deserves. Measured growth is good; growth with ever taller and denser structures is eroding the charm of Santa Monica as relentlessly as those endless tides are tugging at our sands.”

 

editor@smdp.com