Downtown Santa Monica (File photo)

The group that spearheaded a successful referendum last year is gearing up for another.

Residocracy, which opposed the Hines development project, is asking residents to sign a petition in opposition to the updated Zoning Ordinance as it’s currently proposed to City Council.

The Zoning Ordinance update (ZOU), which will dictate land-uses throughout the city for years to come, will go before council as a study session next week, with final approval slated for May.

Residocracy’s petition frames the proposal, which was put forward by the Planning Commission after months of debate, as “Too Tall, Too Big, Too Much.”

This petition is not an official referendum but meant as a warning to City Council. Residocracy’s e-petition, which launched on the group’s website this week, asks residents if they would be willing to collect signatures for an R-petition, or referendum petition, should council ignore the group’s demands.

After the Hines project was approved, Residocracy had 30 days to gather 6,525 valid signatures from registered Santa Monica voters – or 10 percent of the electorate. They could make the same push if the Zoning Ordinance is approved in May.

“Even after Residocracy gathered 13,440 signatures in 19 days from Santa Monica voters to repeal our City Council’s approval of the Hines Development project one year ago, no gains have been made or concessions provided in the ZOU, to reflect residents’ wishes and concerns regarding the policies of over-development of our beach town,” Residocracy officials say in the e-petition.

In short, Residocracy is asking for a 25 percent reduction of all proposed heights and densities under the first and second tier development standards.

They want an amendment to another planning document (The Land Use and Circulation Element or LUCE) that eliminates third tier developments.

They’d like a second amendment to the LUCE that would eliminate all activity centers, which would allow larger scale development.

And finally, they want an ordinance requiring that all development agreements be approved by Santa Monica voters.

They claim that the proposed ordinance and the LUCE “are complex 500 page documents, seven years in the making and tailored by and for development and special interests.”

“Nowhere else in the country are residents more active in local government affairs than in Santa Monica,” they say in the petition. “And nowhere else have residents been so marginalized and ignored.”

The ordinance goes before council on Tuesday night but, in anticipation of hours of public comment, city officials have also scheduled a special meeting for Wednesday night. The plan is for council to hear public comment the first night and make their suggestions on Wednesday.

Council is scheduled to approve the first reading of the final ordinance on May 5. After a second reading of the ordinance in the weeks that follow, Residocracy can begin collecting John Hancocks. If they score signatures from 10 percent of the electorate, council could decide to overturn their previous decision (as was the case for the Hines development) or they could send the decision to the ballot for voters to decide.

Residocracy also has e-petitions up and running against the proposed redevelopment of the Fairmont Miramar Hotel and the proposed mixed-use development on Arizona Avenue at Fourth and Fifth streets.

dave@www.smdp.com

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