The cross-border opposition is heating up in Santa Monica over the proposed Bergamot Transit Village mixed-use project, which would add five buildings on a 1,500 foot long parcel along Olympic, by a future Expo Line stop expected in 2015.. Public comment on the draft environmental impact report for the project closed yesterday and the opposition held press conference at Santa Monica City Hall yesterday to mark the occasion. As we started to see in February, a growing coalition of homeowners' groups and neighborhood councils oppose the scale of the plan out of concern for the scale of the commercial space included in the project. Residents are concerned that more businesses mean more traffic in a town famous for importing a daytime work force from surrounding cities and communities. The Santa Monica Daily Press reports that "Representatives from 17 neighborhood groups from across the Westside hand-delivered community comments to city officials." The opposition also includes a motion approved last week by the Los Angeles City Council asking that the city of Santa Monica extend the public comment period on the draft EIR because "the mitigation measures contained in the DEIR are inadequate." And everyone knows what happens when the mitigation measures in a DEIR are inadequate: CEQA lawsuit!
According to the website of the Santa Monica Department of City Planning, the Transit Village will ad five buildings with "up to 325 residential dwelling units," about 500,000 square feet of creative office space, and about 47,000 square feet of groundfloor retail, plus a park. Originally nearly one million square feet, the transit village is now just about 767,000.
David Martin, Santa Monica's director of Planning and Community Development, is hoping to modify the project to address concerns about the lack of housing in the city that some believe is the cause of the apocalyptic gridlock. Martin tells the SMDP that the Planning Department is leaning toward "Alternative Three," which would "increase the total number of residences from 325 to 498, hopefully creating less need for people to commute to the city, thus lessening traffic."
Given that traffic is the issue that the opposition is most concerned with, here is what the same website proposes for street and parking changes: "An up to three-level subterranean parking garage would be constructed under the proposed project providing approximately 1,800 parking spaces. The proposed project would also include the construction of two new north/south streets in the western and eastern portions of the project site leading to two new signalized intersections on Olympic Boulevard. Additionally, a new east/west extension of Nebraska Avenue would be constructed along the northern edge of the project site connecting 26th Street to Stewart Street. On the project site, the streets would be constructed at grade over sections of the project's subterranean parking garage."
The project already has a long history of opposition, including a March 2011 rejection by the Santa Monica City Council already in the bag. The current proposal's footprint is a significant reduction from the rejected project, which proposed a one million square foot development.
· Bergamot Transit Village Center Project / Draft Environmental Impact Report / Traffic Analysis [Los Angeles City File 12-0130]
· Residents want a reduced Bergamot Transit Village [Santa Monica Daily Press]
· West LA Ramping Up Opposition to SaMo's Bergamot Project [Curbed LA]