The Santa Monica Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on a “Comprehensive Update to the Civic Center Specific Plan, Amendment of the Land Use and Circulation Element and Final Environmental Impact Report” at its meeting on Wednesday May 18. The area in question is bounded by Pico Boulevard, Ocean Avenue, Second Street, Broadway and Fourth Streets. According to a City staff report, the proposed update to the Civic Center Specific Plan (CCSP) aims to “establish the planning policies and land use and development regulations for the 62 acres of land in the Downtown / Civic Center area. “The existing CCSP was adopted in 1993 and amended in 2000. The comprehensive plan update recommends revisions to the land use mix in the traditional Civic Center area, and also incorporates the Santa Monica Place shopping center property into the specific plan planning area. “In comparison to the existing CCSP, overall development in the Civic Center area south of the freeway would be revised by reducing permitted commercial office facilities by 165,000 net square feet, reducing permitted governmental uses by 40,000 net square feet, reducing permitted cultural and community facilities by 9,500 net square feet, increasing permitted housing uses by 325 net residences, making no change in the amount of permitted retail uses, and increasing permitted parks and open space by 3.5 acres. “A discrete amendment to the Land Use Element is also proposed and a Final Environmental Impact Report has been prepared.” Though the 70-plus page staff report sets standards for the redevelopment of Santa Monica Place, it also notes that it could be excised from the Civic Center Specific Plan. The report, which is contained in the on-line agenda for the May 18 Planning Commission meeting, does not include either costs of or a timeline for the construction of the massive redevelopment. If the Commission approves the report, it will then go to the City Council for its approval.The Planning Commission meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. in the City Council chambers on May 18.
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