Huge Win for Santa Monica Residents – A Downtown Plan Limited to 84 Feet!

August 20, 2013

Dear Supporter of SMCLC,

Last Tuesday, the Santa Monica City Council recognized that when it comes to our downtown, residents aren’t just one of many stakeholders in our city: we are the key stakeholders.

For months, residents have been objecting to developer proposed projects, which would massively increase heights and densities along Ocean Avenue. We have insisted that the citywide maximum building height of 84 feet be the top height for study even as to the so-called “opportunity sites” downtown.

Residents' concerns were heard loud and clear: The Council agreed and voted unanimously to reject the staff proposal to study heights greater than 84 feet in our downtown for environmental review of the Downtown Specific Plan that is in the process of being drafted.

Moreover, many of us believe that proposed heights and densities for the downtown will need to be scaled back once the full environmental impacts are disclosed next year.

While no one can stop developers from filing their “pie in the sky” project applications, the burden is now extremely high for them to justify such projects which greatly exceed the Plan maximums.

Developers take note: Projects proposing faux community benefits and making greatly exaggerated claims of increased city revenues, while claiming negligible infrastructure and traffic impacts, will be subject to extraordinary scrutiny and opposition.

How Did We Win?

An array of individuals, SMCLC, the Santa Monica Transparency Project, and neighborhood organizations, came out in droves at every meeting on the downtown, and bombarded the City Council with emails and testimony demanding that land-use decisions reflect the historic, lower-scale profile we have, and not exacerbate traffic gridlock with huge, dense, poorly designed projects that degrade our quality of life and negatively impact our unique relationship to our beautiful coastline. 

What's next?

We'll keep you informed as the Downtown Plan moves forward in the spring. In the meantime, Tuesday night was a victory for all of us concerned about over-development and the traffic it brings. Thank you for your hard work.

Diana, Victor, Sherrill, and Jeff

Local coverage:

Santa Monica Daily Press - read
Santa Monica Lookout - read