CITY HALL — More than five years after City Hall began working on a new general plan to guide future development in Santa Monica, the draft Land Use and Circulation Element has been released.

The main concepts of the draft LUCE were presented to the council on Tuesday, showing a document that aims to preserve neighborhoods, control and manage growth and reduce vehicular trips.

The document has eight framework elements focusing on neighborhood conservation, integrated land use and transportation, proactive congestion management, complete communities, community benefits, quality urban character and form, preservation of historic resources and change management/success measurement.

The existing general plan is 26-years-old.

Eileen Fogarty, the director of planning and community development, said the plan integrates land use with transportation, placing activity centers and villages near transit crossroads or near the future light rail line. Jobs and housing will also be tied together near transit.

“We’re shifting away from regional commercial and developing complete neighborhoods,” Fogarty said.

The plan received positive comments from members of the arts, parks and historic preservation communities for reflecting concerns that were expressed over the last five years at public workshops.

“This new LUCE is awesome,” Nina Fresco, who serves on the Landmarks Commission, said. “It preserves neighborhoods with an approach that will intensify their particular character over time.”

The LUCE will now enter the environmental impact review phase with a draft report expected early next year. The document is slated for adoption in May 2010.

A copy of the draft can be found at

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