The Junipher Building on the Third Street Promenade was recently named a landmark.

MATTHEW HALL
Daily Press Editor

The Architectural Review Board will hold a special meeting this week to potentially expand the ability of staff to approve some projects and in a separate discussion, consider design standards for the Third Street Promenade.

ARB staff have some authority to approve some projects that are then approved by Commissioners on the consent calendar. According to the staff report, expanding staff powers would streamline the process by allowing the Board to focus on larger projects, shorten review times for small projects and increase staff efficiency.

Three areas are identified for staff responsibility include façade remodels, landscape remodels of less than 1,000 square feet, new or additional rear units and signage that complies with existing requirements.

“There may be other types of projects that the Board would feel comfortable considering for staff-level/ administrative review,” said the staff report. “Those listed above appear the most eligible based on recent Board reviews and would make the process more efficient without increasing staff workload. As is already stated in the staff approval resolutions, staff will always have discretion to require Board review if the project appears too substantial or is otherwise not appropriate for ad-ministrative review.”

The Board will also discuss ways to preserve the identity of the Promenade as new buildings are constructed or existing structures are remodeled.

“As project designs are reviewed by the Board, there has been discussion around maintaining the unique identity of the Third Street Promenade while allowing flexibility for architects, designers, and business owners to propose innovative designs,” said the staff report. “In particular, there has been concern regarding façade remodels of older buildings, and remodels of storefronts within buildings on the Historic Resources Inventory (HRI).”

The report said even when remodels do not damage the buildings, allowed designs can obscure historic elements.

“Often storefront designs do not incorporate character-defining features, but rather cover features with removable elements,” said the report. “For example, the signage proposal for Skechers (1322 3rd Street Promenade) covered a character-defining feature on the Woolworth Building, identified on the HRI as a potential Structure of Merit. The element was removable and did not damage the existing building. While this approach meets the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards, there was a concern raised that covering over these features degrades the authenticity of these buildings and the Promenade overall.”

The Board will discuss how new buildings can fit with the existing structures.

“While there are very few new buildings proposed on the Promenade, there has been discussion about how proposals for new buildings could relate to the unique sensibility of the Promenade while providing for innovative design,” said the report. “For example, the Apple store, shown be-low, generated much discussion about how a new building of a very modern sensibility is appropriate for and enhances the character and experience of this unique place.”

The special meeting will be held in the Santa Monica Institute (SMI) Training Room, 2nd Floor, 330 Olympic Drive, on Sept. 25 at 7 p.m.