Huge Win for Santa Monica Residents
March 28, 2011
Last Tuesday, the Santa Monica City Council stood up to a powerful developer and said "no."
The Council voted unanimously (with Council member O'Day absent) to reject the Hines company's proposal for a massive, almost one million square-foot commercial development at 26th and Olympic. Residents' concerns were heard loud and clear, and Hines was sent back to the drawing board.
How Did We Win?
The developer asked for a project so huge, one that would have had such a negative impact on traffic in this already gridlocked area, that residents were outraged.
Individuals, SMCLC, and neighborhood organizations bombarded city council with emails and their testimony, demanding the rejection of this development. And Council listened.
Hines will now redesign their project and return to the city with a new idea.
We've been down this road before.
In 2005, the Macerich Company proposed a towering development for Santa Monica Place (including three-21 story buildings!) Residents organized to stop it (that was the birth of SMCLC) and our city council told Macerich to start over.
Rather than redesign their project behind closed doors, Macerich did something smart; something that ensured their success. They stopped fighting residents and gave them a seat at the table.
Meeting with SMCLC and other community stakeholders, Macerich listened. They scaled back their plans and gave the community a smaller, more reasonable project; one we could support.
We hope Hines does the same thing. (Their previous community meetings were more of a PR campaign that did not affect their plans in any meaningful way.)
If Hines wants a project Santa Monicans can embrace, they should adopt the Macerich model; stop fighting with residents, invite them into the process, and really listen to them so that we can all have a winning project for our city.
We'll keep you informed as this issue moves forward. In the meantime, Tuesday night was a victory for all of us concerned about over-development and the traffic it brings. Thank you for your hard work.
Diana, Victor, Sherrill, Susan, and Jeff