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News, City Council, Development, Santa Monica

Santa Monica Activist To Host Referendum Launch Event To Veto Hines Development

A rendering of the mixed-used Hines project at 1681 26th Street that will total 765,095 square feet of housing, creative office space, and restaurant and retail space.
Courtesy Of The City Of Santa Monica
A rendering of the mixed-used Hines project at 1681 26th Street that will total 765,095 square feet of housing, creative office space, and restaurant and retail space.

Posted Feb. 6, 2014, 9:27 am

Brenton Garen / Editor-in-Chief

Santa Monica activist Armen Melkonians will host a referendum launch event this Wednesday, Feb. 12 in an attempt to veto the City Council’s 4-3 vote Tuesday night to approve Hines’ 765,095 square foot mixed-use development at 1681 26th Street.

Melkonians said the launch event would be held at 7 pm at the SGI-USA Building at 606 Wilshire Boulevard in Santa Monica.

“Our elected officials failed to hear the voices of the vast majority of Santa Monica residents who are concerned about the rapidly deteriorating quality of life in our town when it comes to traffic and congestion,” Melkonians said.

Melkonians, founder of recently launched Residocracy.org, said nearly all of its 800 plus members opposed the project by signing an e-petition.

In addition, he said every neighborhood group in Santa Monica opposed the project as well as Santa Monicans for Renters' Rights (SMRR) and Santa Monica Coalition for a Livable City (SMCLC).

Melkonians said all Santa Monica residents were encouraged to attend Wednesday’s event.

“By law, the referendum must be launched after the second reading of the Ordinance which will occur on Tuesday, February 11, 2014,” he said. “Therefore, Residocracy.org will post an official referendum petition on our website at www.residocracy.org on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014 that will be available to download, print, and circulate for signatures by our community network of residents.”

Melkonians said the petition needed about 6,100 signatures – at least 10 percent of the registered voters in Santa Monica – as the first step to stop this project from moving forward.

Melkonians said there was a 30-day window from the passing of the second reading of the ordinance to collect the required signatures.

“My belief is that we’re going to get double the number of required signatures,” Melkonians told The Mirror. “We have a bunch of people who have volunteered to take to the streets to collect signatures. We’ll also work with the neighborhood groups to help push the petitions. The sentiment on the streets is that everyone is opposed to the project, which is mostly based on the traffic impacts and the sheer size of it.”

Melkonians said if the required number of signatures are collected and verified by the Santa Monica City Clerk’s office (who contracts with the LA County Registrar’s Office on such matters), the ordinance would be immediately halted.

He said the matter would then return to City Council.

“One they can kill the ordinance instantly,” Melkonians said. “Or two they can decide to put it on the next general election or a special election to be held after a minimum of 88 days.”

If placed on a special election or the November general election as a ballot item, the referendum would need more than 50 percent of the vote to pass, Melkonians said.

“From my understanding, the same ordinance cannot be brought up within a year after the passing of a referendum,” Melkonians said. “It would have to be significantly altered by the developer to be brought back before then.”

Melkonians said it would be “political suicide” if any council member did vote for the project in the future if the referendum passes.

“For example, if we are successful and get a lot of signatures, say 20,000 signatures, it would be clear to the elected representatives that the people don’t want the project,” he said.

Kate Vernez, Santa Monica Deputy City Manager for Special Projects, confirmed the referendum petition must be filed with the City Clerk and the law allowed 30 days for signatures to be collected.

“The Elections Code specifies that the requisite number of signatures is 10 percent of the voters of the city according to the county election official’s most recent official report of registration,” Vernez said. “If the requisite number of signatures were collect, the effective date of the ordinance would be suspended, and the Council would be required to reconsider the ordinance.”

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Comments

Feb. 6, 2014, 10:05:14 am

Liz Bell said...

I'm so glad to read of Armen's efforts. I have been preoccupied with something else so haven't been able to pay attention the last few weeks, and was dismayed to read the Mirror headline that the City Council had approved the project. I'm thrilled it was only the 1st reading. We must take control of the Council and of our city, and not let the Hines project go forward. This project is too big and dense for the size of Santa Monica.

Feb. 6, 2014, 10:35:21 am

R Templeton said...

Guess I've got plans for next Wednesday, and will be getting to know my neighbors over the next days. Now what did I do with that clipboard?

Feb. 6, 2014, 10:36:38 am

Daniel J.B. Mitchell said...

A similar story of a residents' revolt over a large development in Redondo Beach that all involved need to read is at http://issuu.com/danieljbmitchell/docs/heart

Feb. 6, 2014, 11:18:21 am

Charles said...

Enough already! The project was approved, get over it! Jesus, these idiots don't have lives and other things to worry about. Just because a few old people don't want this project to happen does that mean we all have to suffer? If you don't like living in SM anymore, get the hell out!

Feb. 6, 2014, 11:35:28 am

Marie said...

Hi "Charles", The vast majority of Santa Monica residents oppose this outrageous, extreme development. WHY? Because horrific, gridlock traffic is bad for EVERYBODY... and that means people of ALL ages, not just the elderly. Hard to imagine why you would side with developers, unless, of course, you work for Hines. Hmmm...

Feb. 6, 2014, 12:12:35 pm

Hillary N said...

All this complaining about traffic is idiotic and dense, if this project gets halted the reoccupancy of the building will make our city uglier and create MORE traffic without the benefits.

Feb. 6, 2014, 12:56:07 pm

Charles said...

Marie, you are just clueless, aren't you? Stop with the dumb conspiracy theories, seriously. The "vast" majority that you speak of actually wants to develop this area of SM that so badly needs it. Stop pretending SM is the same as it was 60 years ago, it's not going to happen. Progress, thou, will. Peace.

Feb. 6, 2014, 2:23:41 pm

Jon Bravo said...

800 people oppose the project? That is unfortunately, the real "1%" that somehow drives this City. Good for the City Council not to be hijacked by the unbelievably vocal minority. Onward!

Feb. 6, 2014, 3:27:08 pm

D'Lynn Waldron said...

It would be wonderful to have what Councilman McKeown proposed and which three council menbers voted for, which is a plaza surrounded by ground floor shops providing the things people need, and residences above the ground floor. (And there should be sufficient underground parking for the residents so they don't need to search for a place to park on the streets which are bound to be crowded with the cars of those who are taking the light rail into LA.) I can remember when we in NW Santa Monica rarely had to go beyond Montana Avenue for the things we needed. But those family businesses were priced out by rental to coffee shops and boutiques, which has greatly added to my car miles in Santa Monica. A plaza with ground floor shops would serve the residents on the floors above and in the neighborhood, the workers in the nearby office buildings and the users of the light rail. With such a development, more of the people who work in the office buildings we already have in Santa Monica, would live here, reducing, rather than adding to, the car trips in and out of Santa Monica.

Feb. 6, 2014, 8:33:48 pm

PB said...

Look out! Here come the Pro developer PR trolls like "Charles".

Feb. 6, 2014, 10:56:56 pm

David said...

Just build it! It's going to be great. I'm one of the many nearby residents who are totally in support of converting that abandoned site into an active and vibrant place.

Feb. 6, 2014, 11:10:51 pm

They Lie said...

David the troll. A fictitious person created by a multimillion dollar corporate developer to make us all feel warm and fuzzy about building high rises. He probably works for the tobacco, gun and oil lobby too.

Feb. 7, 2014, 7:34:48 am

Whitney P said...

You all sound like insane conspiracy theorists, I hope no one actually listens to you

Feb. 8, 2014, 8:15:29 pm

Grace said...

So... Armen, you're full of other info in this article, how about mentioning the price to the public for indulging you and your fans?

Feb. 8, 2014, 8:52:45 pm

Tom said...

No-growthers who think they're progressive? Not so much: SMCLC + Residocracy = Tea Party SM Press = Fox News Head of SMCLC = Roger Ailes (no tactic off-limits) Head of Residocracy = Paul Broun!

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