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LUCE Wins Prestigious Planning Award  

By Lookout Staff

August 9, 2010 -- Santa Monica’s Land Use and Circulation Element (LUCE) has won the "Outstanding Comprehensive Planning Award" for a small jurisdiction from the California Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA), City officials announced Friday.

The document, which will guide development in the beachside city for the next quarter century, was recognized for its "originality, innovation and visionary approach to planning," according to a statement released by the city.

The LUCE already has won the Santa Monica Conservancy Award, the Compass Blueprint Award for Sustainable Leadership and the APA (Los Angeles Chapter) award for Outstanding Comprehensive Plan for a small jurisdiction.

The plan -- which concentrates major mixed-use developments along the city's busy boulevards and encourages alternate forms of transportation -- was approved by the City Council on July 6 after six years of hearings and public meetings.

"The plan incorporates the community’s most fundamental values of conservation, environmental responsibility and social equity into the City’s official policies and provides the technical tools to implement them," City officials said.

The major goals of the plan are to reduce traffic "by locating new mixed use commercial projects near transit hubs along the EXPO Light Rail line" and to protect existing neighborhoods from redevelopment "by providing incentives for housing near transit."

The LUCE promotes bicycling, walking and the use of alternatives such as carpooling, van pooling and the careful management of parking, according to City officials.

"Reshaping traditional planning approaches, the LUCE seeks to enhance the intimate social structure of a community’s life, placing great emphasis on neighborhoods complete with local services and amenities, gathering places and open spaces and facilitating a vibrant economy celebrating the arts and culture," City officials said.

The award will be accepted at the 2010 State Planning Conference in November.


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