As a resident of Ocean Park since 1984, first as a renter and then as a homeowner, I am thrilled to see the proposed transformation of a giant parking lot and a sad and shabby strip mall into a major housing development.

These ten beautiful buildings will provide a place for people to live who work at John Muir and Will Rogers elementary schools, SMASH, John Adams Middle School, Obama Learning Center, and Santa Monica High School, just for starters. Unlike the Sea Colony apartments, which are right on the beach but are similarly dense, these apartments will be affordable to people who do not qualify for government-funded “affordable housing” but who work in downtown Santa Monica, City Hall, and the business parks throughout Santa Monica and the Westside. 

Bus and bike routes are already in place. National experts at UCLA tell us that housing does not create traffic, it is caused by offices and retail uses. Santa Monica’s population grows to 250,000 people during the day, and that is where the difficult traffic comes from! 

In addition, I am troubled by the position that we shouldn’t let others share in the glory of our wonderful neighborhood. I would love it if more of the people who work here could live here and be part of our community on a 24/7 basis. These are the kind of apartments that young people who grew up in Santa Monica could rent as they start their careers, including those who work in local businesses, schools, libraries, or who work remotely most of the time. 

The site for this new apartment complex is ideal due to its location at the bottom of a hill and on an unremarkable (some might say ugly) stretch of highway, and in walking distance to Main Street, schools, and many places that the residents will work.

Let’s consider being positive, generous, and welcoming to our future neighbors.

Abby Arnold, Santa Monica