Santa Monica Lookout
Planning Commission to Fine-Tune Santa Monica's Bergamot Area Plan
By Jason Islas
January 30, 2013 -- The Planning Commission will discuss the future of Santa Monica's Bergamot Area Wednesday when they weigh in on the plan that will regulate development in the area around the future Expo Line station.
Once adopted, the Bergamot Area Plan -- which aims to transform the former industrial region in the middle of the city into a pedestrian-friendly, mixed-used arts district -- will become the “rulebook” for development in the area, according to City officials.
“We need to make sure this is a multi-generational neighborhood,” Planning Commissioner Jennifer Kennedy said at the Commission's December 12 discussion of the Bergamot Area Plan.
She, and the other commissioners agreed that the area should have a mix of unit sizes that would accommodate young, single professionals as well as families.
That “rulebook” would govern projects like the proposed 377-unit mixed-use development on the Village Trailer Park site and the proposed 766,000-square-foot project at the former Papermate site.
The proposed Plan would allow for developments as tall as 86 feet in the area around the Expo Light Rail stop -- called Bergamot Transit Village -- and the Conservation-Art Center district of the Bergamot Area.
The Commission will also be asked to weigh in on whether to create a “Track II” option “which allows an applicant to propose a creative design for – and request flexibility from – several of the development standards,” staff said.
Developments that qualify for the “Track II” option would still be subject to height and density limits.
Senior Planner Peter James told the Planning Commission in December that once the Bergamot Area Plan is adopted, developers would not be able to build above the height limits.
Currently, developers wishing to build taller than height limits may do so at the discretion of the City Council and City officials through the development agreement (DA) process.
Throughout the drafting of the Bergamot Plan, a major concern for residents has been traffic.
Former Mayor Paul Rosenstein, who testified when the Commission looked at the Plan in May and again in December, told The Lookout Tuesday, “Most of the analysis in the Plan is in isolation from what the real situation in the neighborhood is.
“There's a need for more housing and less office space,” he said.
The current Plan calls for a 60 percent housing and 40 office space in the area immediately around the Light Rail station and a 50/50 mix in the multi-use creative district.
“Once adopted, the standards set forth in the Plan will supersede the Zoning Ordinance,” City officials said.
|copyrightCopyright 1999-2012 surfsantamonica.com. All Rights Reserved.|