Those who participated in Saturday’s Civic Center Village workshop supported allowing Village heights to go to a maximum of 65 feet.
Community members chose the 65 feet over the 56-foot option. Architect James O’Connor from Moore, Ruble, Yudell Architects & Planners, part of the Village’s design team, explained that the additional nine feet would give the additional space needed to bring the total number of units that could be built to 325. That number was specified in the updated Civic Center Specific Plan (CCSP), which was approved by the City Council in June of 2005. The 56-foot height would only have permitted 294 units.
O’Connor also mentioned that the higher height would give the City more funding for community and City development because more condo units would be sold. The CCSP calls for 325 units to be split evenly between market rate units and affordable units for low-income residents, with the low-income units being financed by the sale of the market rate units.
Other positives for the higher height are that it is still lower than the adjacent buildings “so there are more opportunities for setbacks,” for a more varied skyline and it gives an opportunity to increase the open space in the Village area.
The other topic explored at the workshop was open space. Jim Kemper from the City’s Housing Division summed up the consensus of the group to the Mirror by stating they felt the .7-acre Village Green, which is part of the CCSP, “should shift to make a more vibrant and connected open space.”
The City’s Housing Commission will discuss the project parameters from the workshop on July 6. Their recommendation and the parameters themselves will be discussed and confirmed by the City Council in late July. In late summer, another community workshop will be held to discuss the design concepts. A third workshop will be held in early fall to discuss such key design issues as sustainability and public art.
The projected timeline for the Village includes six months for the community design process which began in May, 18-24 months for the development review process and 18 months for construction.
Kemper emphasized to the Mirror that even though only 15 community members participated in Saturday’s workshop, the City notification about it had been extensive. All those who lived within 1/4 of a mile were notified, as were those who had participated in the workshops to develop the updated CCSP with the Civic Center Working Group.
Those interested in more information can go to www.thevillageatsm.com or call Jim Kemper at 310.434.2647 or the Community Corporation of Santa Monica at 310.394.8487.