Dear Mid City Neighbors and Friends,
Concerned about terrible traffic and lack of parking in our City? Here's a chance to do something about it today and tomorrow!
Tuesday August 13 - tomorrow evening - City Council will discuss both the Downtown Specific Plan Program Environmental Impact Report parameters (agenda item 8-A) and also the Bergamot Area Plan (agenda item 8-B), which if approved will lead to more big buildings and more traffic.
At the bottom of this email I have embedded an article on the downtown building heights by former mayor Paul Rosenstein. As for the Bergamot Area Plan, which was originally discussed on the July 23rd, Council has received few emails and at the first meeting on the Plan only a few residents showed up. Below is a letter on this topic sent by Santa Monica Coalition for a Livable City. But first, the details on what you can do and how:
The proposed Bergamot Area Plan for the 140 acres between Cloverfield & Centinela, and between the freeway & Colorado, will allow large development projects that exceed zoning restrictions, and will generate LOTS of additional traffic.
If you want Council to downsize the Bergamot Area Plan, here's what you can do RIGHT NOW:
1) Email your comments TODAY to Council@smgov.net, Clerk@smgov.net, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com,firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Be sure to put "Bergamot Area Plan - 8/13/13 - item 8-B" in the subject line. (Encourage your neighbors to do the same.)
2) Attend the City Council meeting on Tuesday, August 13th -- 6:30 PM- City Hall, 2nd floor Council Chambers, 1685 Main St.
Free Parking: Civic Center Parking Structure entrance on 4th St. between Pico and the freeway (bring your parkign chit to the Council chambers to validate)
To speak: Fill out a speaker card and hand to staff. You'll get 2 minutes at the microphone. Even if you don't speak, your presence will send a message.
Note: This agenda item 8-B may be delayed to Wednesday, August 14th, at 5:30 PM, depending on how many people show up to talk about the Downtown Specific Plan, which is agenda item 8-A and comes first. We won't know if item 8-B will be continued until the Council meeting starts on the 13th.
Below are some possible talking points you may want use in your emails regarding about the Bergamot Area Plan:
1. The LUCE goal of "no new net trips" won't be met by the proposed Bergamot Area Plan. Projects planned or recently constructed in the area will generate an estimated 20,000 additional daily car trips.
2. The theory of greater density reducing traffic congestion is not working in Santa Monica. The development of the "Special Office District" (Yahoo/Colorado Center, Water Garden, the Arboretum, MTV, and Lantana) brought a tremendous increase in commuter traffic and the greater density in downtown Santa Monica is currently creating traffic gridlock.
3. The LUCE goal of preserving existing neighborhoods is ignored by the plan, witness the city-approved upcoming demolition of the Village Trailer Park, which lies within the Bergamot Area.
4. The Bergamot Area Plan won't correct the jobs/housing imbalance, which results in so much commuter traffic, as claimed. A survey of employees in the Bergamot area showed that they could afford to pay on $1,000 to $1,500 per month in rent. Most new apartments in the Bergamot area will rent at market rate, which is probably closer to $3,000.
5. "Creative office" space won't reduce PM peak hour car trips, as claimed. 725,000 square feet of "creative office" space is already planned for the Bergamot area. Surely some of the workers in those future buildings will go home for supper with their families.
6. The LUCE goal of transitions to existing residential neighborhoods won't be met. Building 5-story buildings across from 1- and 2-story apartments buildings is not a "transition."
7. Consistency with the LUCE Environmental Impact Report is not meaningful. The projected growth predicted by the LUCE for 2030 in the Bergamot included 1,400 apartments. 1,300 are already proposed, only 3 years into the 20-year plan.
8. Controlling development won't threaten school funding, as some claim. Local schools are funded primarily by the state legislature, a local parcel tax, a local sales/use tax, and a joint facility use agreement with the city, not by developer fees.
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