Tired of hearing about the Zoning Ordinance yet?
More than a hundred people requested to speak on the Zoning Ordinance update Tuesday night and public comment lasted just under five hours.
The proposed ordinance, which will dictate land uses throughout much of the city for years to come, made its City Council debut last night, drawing opinions from across the board.
Council heard public comment and asked a few questions before breaking for the night around midnight. They were scheduled to return to City Hall on Wednesday night to discuss the ordinance in depth and give their opinions, but the meeting started as the Daily Press was going to print. Results of the meeting will be available in Friday’s paper and on the Daily Press website.
Recommendations made by council will be included in the document, which is hundreds of pages long and often excruciatingly tedious to read. A draft, with those recommendations, is scheduled to return to council for final approval in May.
Comments from the public on the document were wide-ranging. Some complained that it would result in an overly dense, overly tall Santa Monica. Others said that it should do more to allow for the creation of housing and density, especially around the incoming Expo Light Rail stations.
Some commenters were emotional. Others were litigious. A few lauded council and a few put forth mass conspiracy theories.
Some were there to ask that council to include two medical marijuana dispensaries in the Zoning Ordinance. If pass as it stands now, the ordinance would allow the dispensaries. Others asked council not to include dispensaries.
Some speakers just wanted to weigh in on auto dealerships, or hotels, or water usage. Some touched on as many hot topics as they could before their two minutes ran out and they were shuffled along.
Traffic was a common theme.
Several people had multimedia presentations, although they almost never heeded Mayor Kevin McKeown’s request that they alert the City Clerk in advance, leading to painful moments of dead air and fumbling at the computer.
The Planning Commission spent dozens of meetings and hundreds of hours discussing and molding the ordinance before passing it along to council.
Residocracy, the organization that led the successful referendum campaign against the Hines development project last year, mounted an e-petition, asking for significant changes to the ordinance, which they call “too tall, too big, too much.”
They claim to have collected 1,135 e-signatures in favor of the changes. Those signers promised to gather more than 10,500 actual signatures in favor of a referendum if the group’s demands are not met. A successful referendum would require more than 6,000 valid signatures from registered Santa Monica voters.
If the group were successful, council would have a chance to decide whether to reject the ordinance or put it to a public vote. Several members of Residocracy mentioned the e-signatures at Tuesday night’s meeting.