It was standing room only in the Franklin School cafeteria Thursday night, as 200 Santa Monicans turned out to criticize a development project that has been proposed for the eastern end of the city’s busy Wilshire corridor.
Dozens of speakers representing neighborhoods across the city said the project by Century West Partners (CWP) would degrade the area, not enhance it. They said the proposed project is too tall, too dense, and the wrong mix of units for the neighborhood surrounding the proposed site at the corner of Wilshire Blvd. and Berkeley Street.
As the crowd roared its approval, speakers expressed concerns about the project’s impact on traffic and on-street parking. They also raised questions about the appropriateness of $100,000 in campaign contributions that were made by the developer to promote candidates in the most recent Santa Monica City Council election.
The mixed-use residential-commercial project would be five stories (60 feet) high with 100 apartments, mostly small studios or one-bedroom units, with very few units large enough for families. Neighbors were particularly critical of the company’s plan to build a five-story building on a parking lot that currently provides a buffer between commercial and residential areas. The parcel is presently designated as an “A” lot, with “R2” zoning, meaning that it may be built to just two stories or 23 feet high under current zoning.
“If this developer is allowed to develop residential land, that’s going to happen everywhere,” said Tricia Crane, vice chair of Northeast Neighbors Association. “This is big bucks. This project is going to be the first of many.” The proposed CWP project is only one of many that have recently drawn the ire of Santa Monica residents, as the city considers scores of new developments which will generate thousands more daily car trips.
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