City of LUVE

City Character

“Think about the places that you remember fondly visiting, I think you and discerning visitors from all over this country and all over this world, actually prefer places that retain a sense of place, that boast a unique identity, that retain their local flavor, that nurture their authenticity, that emphasize their cultural and artistic richness … You come to Downtown Santa Monica because it’s a real place. It’s a place that people love, it’s a sense of history, a sense that this is a ‘there’ there.”  (City Manager Rick Cole, in an August 2015 speech at the annual meeting of Downtown Santa Monica Inc.)

It was heartening to hear the city manager speak of the essential value in preserving the history and identity of our city. Cole went on to say, “Let’s work together to retain the support of all the residents…” Cole’s words spoke to the need for residents to buy in to the future development of Santa Monica. The Land Use Voter Empowerment (LUVE) initiative is important for the future of Santa Monica because the voters, the residents, must have a voice in the responsible growth and destiny of our town.

Why do we live here, what do we feel when we walk the streets, or along the pier, or the edge of the sea? Is it the blue skies and ocean breezes, the low-rise courtyard buildings, palm trees and sunlit sidewalks? Or large-scale buildings casting shadows and blocking sky and breezes? What is our vision for Santa Monica: Will it be a city primarily for residents or for tourists? Our collective challenge is to provide for responsible growth, by creating an environment that improves residents’ lives, making them feel comfortable and even joyous.

Roughly 15 percent of our city is available for development, either for reasonable development or excessive development. There is still a considerable amount of growth available in our downtown and along our boulevards without sacrificing what we LUVE about Santa Monica. With 30 percent of our downtown and 75 percent of our boulevards composed of low-rise buildings, there is room to responsibly develop up to 6 million square feet of ground floor commercial space (half of the existing downtown area!), and numerous apartments housing thousands of additional residents. Our civic duty should be to avoid turning Santa Monica into a carbon copy of Downtown Los Angeles. Reduced height limits will bring down land prices and reduce construction costs, resulting in more realistic housing prices, while still providing developers a yearly 15- to 20-percent return on equity!

But how much growth is necessary, realistic and environmentally responsible? Some organic growth in cities is necessary, but how much and where? Are we willing to triple the average heights of buildings in our existing downtown and along our boulevards, as proposed codes and development agreements would allow? Density is not synonymous with quality of life. Traffic, parking problems and the “canyonization” of our downtown streets need not become the norm. Ours is a city seemingly for sale to the highest bidders. Do we want to live by the mantra of the cash register instead of one of birds and blue skies? Have we lost a sense of balance and scale? We’re better than this; at least, we hope we are.

Our civic growth shouldn’t be at the expense of the spirit and uniqueness of Santa Monica. Otherwise we become victims of our own success. We need to make decisions based on human needs rather than economic gain. We need to focus on quality over quantity, ensuring we have open space and access to blue skies.

Have we created a vibrant community only to sow the seeds of its destruction? Is our perceived anxiety over tax revenues worth excessive traffic and density? The future of our downtown and boulevards shouldn’t just be about increased height and density. With this over-development crisis, our traffic arteries are already clogged and we are at gridlock today. The emphasis by developers on maximized commercial development, and the city’s acquiescence, is destructive to our way of life. In essence, our residents get crumbs while developers are eating cake! No additional number of community benefits can make a poor project a good project.

Do we need more height and density at the expense of the city we love? LUVE is about embracing what we have: a comfortable way of life while still leaving enough room for responsible growth. The stakes here are tremendous. We can retain our beachfront environment or become indistinguishable from Los Angeles. The soul of our city must always be protected.

LUVE chooses smart, responsible growth over excessive one-size-fits-all density. Our city government must represent our residents rather than that of special interests. LUVE will take our city off the auction block and put a stop to the trading of our beachfront environment for buildings that are too tall and too dense. It’s interesting that downtown Santa Monica development advocates seem smitten with the talk of iconic architects creating high rises within our midst, as those same architects have also created award-winning low-rise buildings that fit within the texture of our city.

Santa Monica once had a unique housing identity. Bungalow and courtyard homes once dominated our city. A significant part of architecture is the way buildings interact with open space — not imposing their will on nature, but existing within nature. Destroying our connection to the beach and ocean with over-development is not acceptable.

Santa Monica is quickly slipping away, as is our council’s consciousness. It’s alarming that our city council doesn’t seem to realize the reckless course they’re on. Approval of these large-scale projects is happening rapidly. Development agreements shouldn’t be approved while ignoring density and design, traffic and parking, water scarcity and open space. In Santa Monica we must only approve new construction that fits the authenticity and uniqueness of our beachfront community.

Proper infrastructure must always precede new development. We would become unglued if our infrastructure should begin to fail rapidly. The already excessive load on our downtown grid is already evidenced by numerous and increasing power outages. Rather than continue to approve new development, let us pause and spend our valuable tax dollars on reinforcing our city’s existing infrastructure. Is anxiety over tax revenues worth architectural and environmental mediocrity? Residents have begged the city council to veer from this reckless course, but sadly to no avail.

Santa Monica can continue to be a progressive city while balancing growth and maintaining its quality of life. Our beachfront character is our city’s sense of place. Handled correctly and with LUVE, Santa Monica can embrace the future and above all else maintain a strong sense of community.

Ron Goldman FAIA and Phil Brock for SMa.r.t. (Santa Monica Architects or a Responsible Tomorrow)

Advertisements

The Truth Squad

LUVEly Truth

We’d like to set the record straight. We’ve all seen a lot of hyperbole over the past two weeks about the Land Use Voter Empowerment initiative. We’ve read the doomsday scenarios. They say it would be a disaster somewhere akin to the sinking of the Titanic and the explosion of the Hindenburg. Our economy would be ruined, jobs would be outsourced and a great wall built around our city. Hmmm…there are also claims that our traffic woes will be solved, rents will never rise again and the sky will always be blue over our Santa Monica.

Let’s look at the claims of one anti-LUVE (How can you be against love?) press release from a business group in our town. They claim our local economy would be devastated by the passage of this voter-powered initiative. They talk of higher taxes, declining revenue and a stagnating economy. The Truth: Our Santa Monica economy is strong. Overcrowding and increased density would diminish the world-class visitor experience that Santa Monica offers. That experience drew 7.9 million tourists last year and pumped millions of dollars into our local economy. Allowing multiple new mixed-use developments would not help our economy. These developments would strain our infrastructure , exhausting our already stretched city services. The pressure to constantly raise taxes is already on the city’s agenda. There is talk of a ¼ cent sales tax increase and another stab at increasing the property sales transfer tax on this year’s ballot. All of the recently approved development has not eased the pressure on our city government to raise taxes and increase our yearly budget. Perhaps the groups that warn of financial doom and gloom if LUVE is passed should be advocating instead for more efficient use of our city’s vast financial resources.

There are claims that passing LUVE would hurt traffic. Those claims suggest that our city is part of and parcel of the “sprawling suburbs” and that LUVE seeks to decrease Santa Monica’s mobility. The Truth: Santa Monica is an over-congested city that is doing everything possible to encourage multiple forms of mobility within its boundaries. Here is one constant truth…more buildings bring more traffic. We cannot build our way out of our traffic issues. We cannot expand vertically and expect traffic to decrease. More means more. More residents equal more cars. You cannot legislate a person’s proximity to work and their residence. LUVE does not discourage the creation of great streets and the use of alternative forms of mobility. Our streets will be more walk-able if LUVE is enacted.

The claims that the initiative will hurt our residents and property owners are unfounded. The argument has been made that in case of an earthquake or tsunami LUVE would prevent the rebuilding of homes, apartments and small businesses. The Truth: There are at least four ordinances on the books in Santa Monica that address the re-building of structures damaged in a catastrophe. Section 9.27.040 addresses this claim directly. “An existing nonconforming structure that is damaged or destroyed by a non-voluntary fire or explosion, earthquake, or other natural disaster may be restored or replaced to its density (including square footage and number of room or dwelling units, as applicable), parking, building footprint and envelope, and height that existed prior to the destruction…” In addition, Section 9.27.020(B), Section 9.27.30(E),  Section 9.27.040 all address this supposed issue. Finally, the City Attorney’s office reviewed LUVE in detail and found no clause that would bring about a negative impact on casualty repairs.

There are claims that under the LUVE Initiative our schools, hospitals and non-profits would be unable to expand in order to provide needed services in our community. The Truth: None of our public schools, from elementary through community college, are subject to Santa Monica City planning rules and regulations. They answer to the California State Architect’s office for their remodeling and new construction. Hence there would be no detrimental effect on our schools with LUVE . Our public hospital, UCLA-Santa Monica, also answers to the State Of California, not the City of Santa Monica, for both new additions and remodeling. We’ve already seen the continuing effects of the private St John’s Hospital construction. Our City Council has allowed this institution to dispense with a mandated and much-needed parking structure, and the hospital has fallen short on their Transit Demand Management Plans yearly. In addition, they are still proposing a new office tower.

You’ll hear continuous stories about our serious housing shortage crisis – suggesting that LUVE will limit the amount of people that can afford to live in Santa Monica. The Truth: The proposed initiative exempts truly low-cost housing from initiative oversight, thereby insuring that there are relatively few strings to be pulled for the creation of truly low cost housing. By passing LUVE, land speculation is decreased. Hence land values will begin to stabilize. It stands to reason that a parcel large enough for a ten-story, mixed-use building is worth more than one that is capped at three stories. The token low income, low-cost, housing that is trumpeted by developers does not significantly impact affordability in our city, but it will add profit to developers’ pockets. Our city must do more to keep our existing stock of apartments in operation. We cannot build our way out of an affordability crisis in Santa Monica. Using preservation as one tool, in addition to aggressively seeking to partially subsidize our lowest income renters, we can help. When developers take over, our lowest income, blue-collar residents are the first to go. The case study for this paradigm is the history of the former Village Trailer Park in the Eastern part of our city. Over 100 residents were forced to vacate their long-term dwellings to make way for an over 300-unit, mid-rise apartment house that dwarfs the other apartments and houses in the neighborhood. Those forced out of their homes and their city were “salt of the earth” residents who helped build Santa Monica. New housing didn’t help them, and it won’t help other existing residents. The exorbitant rise in the rents of the newly built housing offered them no choice but to leave our city.

The anti-LUVE forces have stated that creative tech start-ups will leave Santa Monica if it is enacted. They opine that employers won’t be able to attract a talented workforce to our city if a land use initiative passes. The Truth: Start-ups are here because of the low-rise, comfortable, creative beach atmosphere that already exists. As soon as our city becomes one that is a standard office environment like Century City or Downtown Los Angeles, the cool high tech companies will flee. They value our natural air-conditioning, our walkable streets and the difference that Santa Monica’s ambiance brings to the table. Our city is never going to be the home of behemoth companies. That’s a great distinction to have. Santa Monica is where companies are born, where they can be creative; where their staff can find small indie lounges and cutting edge restaurants to gather in. Our town is meant to be the refreshing alternative to a Los Angeles lifestyle. Our low-rise existing buildings that have been re-purposed give us flavor. LUVE will keep that flavor in Santa Monica.

The other side talks about the threat of lawsuits. The Truth: Three Southern California cities have adopted similar citizen-led initiatives. Sierra Madre, Yorba Linda and Encinitas have had one court challenge between them to their voter empowerment ordinances. That challenge is over density, not height. The wise citizens of Sierra Madre declared their wishes well. “The people of Sierra Madre find and determine that preserving the small town character of downtown Sierra Madre is of utmost importance, and residents of our city must not be excluded from major decisions. No city council or staff can possess the necessary community-wide sensitivity to make decisions that ensure the small town character will be preserved. Downtown development decisions that could deviate from our long-standing goals should be made by the entire city after a public debate and not by a few city hall insiders.” This statement is so simple, so clear, so akin to the wishes and desire of the residents of Santa Monica. LUVE will not lead to more lawsuits. It will lead to clarity for developers in our planning processes and a breath of fresh air for our residents.

The opposition says that empowering our residents to vote on major land development decisions is a bad thing. They talk about how it would harm our economy, our environment, housing, social diversity, transportation goals and more. The Truth: The Residocracy-sponsored LUVE initiative helps preserve this special place. What are we gaining if this initiative passes? We secure a low-rise Santa Monica that values its people, its visitors and its workforce – a city that has architectural integrity – a city that need not fabricate its sense of place, because it already has a unique, authentic style – a city with a heart and a “roadmap” for protecting our inclusive and diverse population. Ours is a town that lives up to its motto: “A fortunate people in a fortunate place”. A prominent member of our community often says, “You’re either on the menu or at the table”. LUVE ensures that our residents are always at the table.

Phil Brock for SM.a.r.t

Downtown’s housing conundrum

Housing

four_projects-600x350

Our recently adopted City Zoning Ordinance envisions adding dense new housing in the downtown area. We can now see how well that housing goal is being met. What is undoubtedly true is that recent housing approvals have been massive. In the past nine months the Planning Commission has permitted four large downtown mixed-use projects:

To put these numbers into context, we can now answer some basic questions:

1) HOW BIG ARE THESE PROJECTS? The new area approved is equivalent to a second Santa Monica Place being added to our downtown. These additions will substantially change how our downtown is experienced, particularly in the southeast corner where two of the projects bracket the Lincoln-Colorado gateway.

2) HOW MUCH WILL THESE PROJECTS INCREASE OUR CITY”S POPULATION? If we assume an approximate population density of 1.7 people per unit (given the higher than typical bedroom count of these buildings), this represents about an 857-person increase, a 1 percent increase in the City’s current population of 94,000 and is actually a 25 percent increase in the downtown population. This is a steep increase – in less than a year, equal to 33 percent more than L.A. County’s annual average population increase over the last five years. Looking forward, the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) anticipates Santa Monica’s population to grow by about 453 people per year till 2040. By that standard we have just approved housing at about twice the projected annual growth rate.

3) HOW DO THESE PROJECTS FIT INTO THE DOWNTOWN COMMUNITY PLAN (DCP)? The DCP expects to add between 155 and 201 units downtown each year over the next 15 years. So in less than a year we have already approved three years worth of new housing.

4) HOW WILL THESE PROJECTS AFFECT TRAFFIC? Almost 3/4 of the residents who reside in our downtown commute via single occupancy cars each day. We hypothesize that this tendency is not likely to change soon for two simple reasons: the EXPO line does not provide true connectivity to all the workplaces of our new residents, and the high rents charged for these new units will be primarily only affordable to people who own cars and are inclined to use them. Automobile use will increase as more new residents crowd into downtown. This is an area already projected to have 24 of its 44 studied intersections operating at “fair” to “failure” level within the next 14 years (15 of them are already operating at “fair” to “failure” level). However the good news is that these projects have as many bicycle parking spaces as car parking spaces. So hopefully, increased bicycle use and the opening of the Metro will somewhat mitigate our future traffic woes.

5) HOW SUSTAINABLE ARE THESE BUILDINGS? These buildings will perform much better than comparable buildings built in the last decade because of stringent new energy codes. Particular attention has been given to water conservation, and some buildings will utilize the street run-off from the City’s stormwater recycling system for landscape irrigation. However, rainwater is only available on a sporadic basis. It is unfortunate that the new residential projects’ photovoltaic roof areas are so small in relation to their large power demands (elevators, lights, air-conditioning etc.) that they will generate less than 10 percent of their energy needs. They are also woefully unprepared for the expected surge in electric car recharging demand. Thus the new buildings are nowhere near the California stated goal of being “net-zero buildings” that generate as much power as they use.

6) HOW WILL THESE BUILDINGS AFFECT OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS? Estimating school population is an inexact science. Currently the downtown population contains very few children. We may expect up to 15 percent of the new residents to be of school age (16 percent of Los Angeles County’s population is school age). With no local elementary school easily accessible within the downtown boundaries, many of these new students will have to be driven to school each day, thereby increasing traffic. According to the Downtown Environmental Impact Report the closest elementary school, Roosevelt, is at capacity, and is unprepared for any expansion.

7) HOW WILL THESE BUILDINGS HELP AFFORDABILITY? The good news is that about 23 percent of the units are affordably deed-restricted. SCAG would like Santa Monica to build 239 units per year till 2021. In fact, in only nine months, our City has approved two years worth of the SCAG housing targets. It should be noted that the 64 affordable units mandated for the 500 Broadway project are planned for a separate parcel on the eastern edge of the new downtown. These units are still in the approval process. Thus, they are not included in the area and parking data of the chart above.

Because of the desirability of Santa Monica, increasing the number of units will not reduce overall housing prices. The wealthy few will always outbid the middle class or poor for any available units that are not deed-restricted. This is not unusual when supply is limited (in our case by being a built-out, very densely populated city) and the demand is effectively infinite. Santa Monica is coveted by the wealthy of the world. We cannot satiate all the demand for beachside housing. Developers salivate at the possibilities of creating new market rate housing, hotels and offices in our town while throwing us a few bones of low cost housing. Yes, there is an affordability crisis in Santa Monica. But we must be clear – we cannot produce enough affordable units for a full spectrum of incomes in our city even if we saturate the city with multiple “Plaza’s At Santa Monica”.

8) IN SUMMARY: WHAT IS THE TAKE-HOME FROM THE LATEST ROUND OF DOWNTOWN APPROVALS?

A) By any rational metric, Santa Monica is exceeding its housing goals. If we were to approve no other housing for the next two or three years, we would still be meeting our fair share of regional housing.

B) Our City government must consider the burden that is shouldered as we provide more than our fair share of new housing in our built-out town. Our downtown is increasingly impacted and our mobility devices (streets, busses, bikes, light rail) have not yet proven to be able to absorb this growth without escalating gridlock. EXPO’s impact is still unknown: it will surely be beneficial over the coming decades but traffic jams in Santa Monica will not magically end on May 20. They may actually increase because of the train’s effect on intersections. The City’s water supplies are not growing as fast as the potential water demand. If our population grows at about 1 percent a year, yet we need to reduce our water consumption 8 percent a year to reach self-sufficiency by 2020, then this growth does not help our water sustainability targets. Likewise, schools and open spaces are not ready for this increased burden. In short, this much growth, if continued, is unsustainable and should be slowed down to allow our infrastructure (in the broadest sense), parks and schools to catch up. All the costs of this growth are eventually borne directly or indirectly by the city’s taxpayers and by the environment we all live in.

In conclusion, there is no housing production shortage in Santa Monica. There are those who are using the myth of an alleged housing shortage as a Trojan horse. They expect to cram an unsustainable amount of building into our town to increase their profits at public expense. These developers and their supporters expect our residents to meekly bear the burden of this ruanaway unsustainable growth. They want us to ignore the sustainability and livability impacts of that burden.

Mario Fonda-Bonardi, AIA for SMa.r.t.

What’s missing from Santa Monica’s downtown plan

Downtown Community Plan

There are two different visions for our downtown. Do we want to be a densely populated urban place, a smaller Downtown Los Angeles simply adjacent to a beach, or remain part of the beach and ocean environment? What is currently happening in our city has the potential to change forever the “character” that is Santa Monica. Our downtown can either be urban or beachfront — but you can’t have both. Will it have the warmth of local merchants or the coldness of indifferent mid-rise and hi-rise buildings filled with national chain stores? Will we relinquish our interest in community in favor of consumerism?

What will it take to get a downtown plan with which residents and visitors alike can be satisfied and that will allow reasonable, sustainable growth that respects the scale of our beach town and fosters intelligent design solutions?

Open space

Requirements for open space are missing from the plan. They include:

  • required front yard setbacks totaling 20 feet from curb to building line in predominately commercial areas and 15 feet in predominately residential areas and can vary with building offsets;
  • sideyard setbacks required where residential above 1st and 2nd floor commercial levels, allowing blue sky and sunlight instead of shade;
    a 5-foot rear yard setback to help activate alleys for increased pedestrian mobility;
  • development in the middle third of a block should provide a 10 feet sideyard setback for a mid-block “paseo or arcade” in lieu of other code required community benefits (i.e. TDM payments, etc.);
  • alleys that are now under-developed should be beautified as secondary mini-promenades, providing more access to downtown from transit, especially Expo, and allowing for small commercial outlets such as shoe repair, cleaning pickup and drop-offs, etc. Truck deliveries should be scheduled so to minimize pedestrian and vehicular interface;
  • Widened tree-lined sidewalks with trees at a minimum of 25 feet o.c.
    And most importantly, open space is to be defined as starting at the ground and remaining open to the sky.

Height and FAR

We don’t need excessive height and density to entertain tourists or to be healthy economically. The plan as written allows 67 percent of downtown to be 100 feet tall when “decorative features” are added, while currently 67 percent of downtown is 32 feet or less. In effect, this plan more than triples the overall height of today’s downtown! Is that what we want to maintain a beachfront community?

The plan states the “city should have a clear and realistic vision of what Downtown is and can become.” But there is no mention of how much area is necessary without losing our quality of life and environment — how much housing, how much office space, how many hotel rooms, how much infrastructure (schools, parking, piping) is needed to support this vision. And where will the water come from?

  • Maximum development should be 4 stories, and 50 feet with a 3.0 FAR (Floor Area Ratio), leaving a 25-percent open space envelope.
  • Developments with a footprint of 3 parcels or 22,500 square feet should require planning commission review, City Council review and approval, as well as the Santa Monica residents approval as outlined in the LUVE initiative, not simple staff approval of any project up top 100,000 square feet as proposed in the plan.
  • “Opportunity sites” in the plan should not exist, as they give special conditions to specific developers in what is often referred to as “spot zoning,” and did not exist in the LUCE.
  • Development agreements are permitted by state law to be applied for, but there is no requirement for them to be approved.

Cultural and community facilities

  • The downtown plan emphasizes the importance of community and cultural facilities. That’s good. It claims to analyze and address these issues but doesn’t, and that’s bad.
  • Such facilities can and should be located on city-owned property funded by an assessment on new development or by streamlining existing city expenditures. That would be good.
  • 4th/5th & Arizona should be a central plaza with the museum and playhouse (called for in the DCP) along the southerly periphery, and the street festivals (identified in the DCP) located within the plaza, and with the conversion of Arizona between the Third Street Promenade and 5th Street to an on demand promenade. Below the plaza should be a 3- or 4-level subterranean parking structure owned by the City of Santa Monica. That would be good.
  • The Civic Center site should provide athletic fields and an open air amphitheater for synergistic use by the Civic Auditorium and Samohi, and civic land should not be a giveaway to Santa Monica College. That would be good.
  • Maintain and update the existing parking structure on 4th Street and forgo the proposed movie complex. That would be smart.

Building design and massing

  • A punch card of balcony projections should not be the predominant design vocabulary as we currently see being approved and built.
  • In addition to sideyard setbacks above first- and second-floor commercial, minimum 8- to10-foot vertical and/or horizontal offsets in the basic building form/envelope to avoid the heaviness of in-line massing.
  • Where feasible, second-story landscaped areas can be used to benefit residents and visually separate the first floor commercial from upper floors but does not count as required open space.

Housing and adaptive reuse

  • Lower height limits will limit escalation of land cost and reduce construction cost resulting in a potential stabilizing effect on rents and will encourage re-utilizing existing buildings, which is more sustainable than tearing down and building new.
  • Assuming only 65 percent of the vacant land and 1- and 2- story lots were re-developed and/or adaptively re-purposed for truly affordable housing, with 4-story-maximum mixed-use buildings, together with projects already approved, there will be over 4,000 new residents in the downtown. This, coupled with the real possibility of three times that amount on the boulevards, represents a nearly 15-percent increase in the city’s resident population! And this is with only two-thirds of the readily developable property built to maximum 3 and 4 stories! There is simply no proven need for more growth.
  • Acknowledge the car is not yet dead and provide adequate parking for the residents and their guests. Garages can be converted to other uses when an adequate transit system is functional.

 

Mobility

  • Among many long range possibilities discussed in the DCP, and in addition to wider sidewalks and bicycle improvements, we suggest the city look into the immediate possibility of a shared private-public partnership with a parking operator managing and using 9-5 weekday commercial parking lots for night and weekend use.
  • In addition, parking lots on the downtown periphery, such as the Broad Theatre at 11th and Santa Monica, be made available. This would keep a number of car trips from entering the downtown grid and instead take a connecting electric jitney to shopping or the movies.

Conclusions

  • The Downtown Community Plan in every chapter emphasizes the overriding importance of maintaining the “character, vitality and charm” of downtown Santa Monica, and the Council and Planning Commission need to honor that mandate.
  • Take the politics out of the approval process. No development agreements.
  • If the final version of the DCP doesn’t protect the residents, the LUVE Initiative must be approved.
  • The real “character” is found in the benefit of lower heights and our connection to the beach and ocean!
  • The real “community benefit” for the residents, as well as tourists and the visitor businesses, is the healthy environment found in a low-rise beachfront town.

SMa.r.t. is not against development, but we want responsible development. The issues we have outlined above should be thoughtfully considered by our planning staff, Planning Commission and City Council, in a new document crafted such that it respects the concerns of our residents.

This is a pivotal point in our city’s history. Let the council, city manager and planning director know where you stand. If staff and council won’t stand up to this reality, then residents have no choice but to approve the LUVE initiative.

Ron Goldman and Sam Tolkin for SMa.r.t. (Santa Monica Architects for a Responsible Tomorrow)