This week Phil, Ben, Simone and John discuss Downtown Santa Monica development.

The City Council earlier this month approved the heights and densities of future buildings to be studied for their environmental impacts as part of the Downtown Specific Plan, a document that will guide how land is used in Downtown for the next few decades. The council, after hours of debate and years’ worth of community meetings, decided to go with maximum heights of 84 feet (eight story buildings) for eight opportunity sites in Downtown, which are areas that city planners believe can handle taller, denser buildings in exchange for community benefits like affordable housing, public art, bicycle facilities and cash to help pay for street improvements or public transit.

For other areas of Downtown, the council opted to study heights of 50 to 60 feet, mainly on the perimeter. It’s a far cry from the 130 feet city planners were recommending for the opportunity sites.

As for density, the council approved the study of floor-area ratios ranging from 2.25 to 5, raising some concerns that buildings will be too large and attract too many people, creating more traffic and parking woes. A floor-area ratio is essentially the square footage of a development compared to the piece of land it sits on. So a floor-area ratio, or FAR, of 5 would mean the building would be five times the square footage of the parcel it is built on.

To beef up on what has transpired, click here to read news articles and opinion pieces on the subject.

Viewpoints is a show that expresses the opinions of our guests. Opinions expressed are those of the talent and do not necessarily reflect those of the Santa Monica Daily Press, or the Daily Press Editorial staff. Guest commentary, feedback and ideas for future shows are encouraged, as are letters to the editor.


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *