The Santa Monica City Council and a large crowd of interested citizens were up until two am on Wednesday morning approving the Bergamot Area Plan--a big, ambitious effort to prepare for the 2016 arrival of the Expo Line to Santa Monica's eastern edge. It will clear the way for new streets and bike paths, and loads of housing and commercial space. Three years in the making, the plan is designed, "to help transition 142.5 acres of former industrial land into a walkable, sustainable, and innovative complete neighborhood," according to the plan's official website. And here's how the Santa Monica Daily Mirror sums it up: "The plan would have four districts, each with specific standards and development densities meant to dictate the kinds of businesses and lifestyles that would take place there."
As reported by the SMDP and Santa Monica Next, a large crowd turned out to weigh in on the project: people worried about traffic, people worried about public spaces, and people worried about business. Here are a few of the salient details of the plan, as approved by the City Council:
--Two overlay zones will "activate key portions of the plan area with pedestrian-oriented uses and streetscape," according to the SMDP.?
--The plan includes allows for the possibility of ten new streets and 15 pedestrian and bicycle pathways.
--Building heights could range from 36 to 86 feet.
--Nebraska Avenue is proposed as the central "spine" that connects a mixed-use creative district with the Transit Village (offices, housing, and retail) proposed by Hines Corp. at the old Paper Mate facility.
-- The city has prioritized marketing the developments around the station to first responders (e.g, police and fire), nurses, and teachers.
-- Kevin McKeown cast the lone dissenting vote on the plan. He wanted stronger provisions for affordable housing. Following a potential economic analysis, such provisions could be considered as an amendment at a later date.
--The privately owned parcel of the Bergamot Arts Complex will be allowed floor area ratio (FAR) of 1.5 for tier 2 projects and 2.5 FAR for tier 3 projects (tiers are determined by the density of the buildings).
--According to SMDP, the council made a change during the hearing regarding density bonuses: developers building housing affordable for residents making up to 120 percent of the area median income ($77,760 for a family of four), with at least 50 percent of the bonus units being affordable to those making 80 percent of the area median income or lower.
· Bergamot Plan Finally Approved By City Council [SMDP]
· 10 New Streets Planned for Bergamot Expo Line Development [Curbed LA]