Santa Monica’s City Council approved a settlement Tuesday with the Palisades Beach Property Owners Association who were suing the City due to concerns that the proposed redevelopment of the 415 Pacific Coast Highway site (the former Marion Davies estate) as a public beach club would disrupt their quality of life and cause dangerous traffic conditions.
City Attorney Marsha Moutrie read a report on the settlement because the settlement terms had been discussed during closed session. The agreement requires that the City enter into separate agreements with the Annenberg Foundation, which is giving a $30 million grant for the project, and the California Department of Parks and Recreation, “To provide that certain specified operating conditions for the facility which have been negotiated between the parties would be in place, for some conditions 10 years, and in the case of others for 7 1/2 years.” The City would then include those conditions as part of the California Coastal Permit request and advocate for those conditions in the permit.
The City’s Director of Community and Cultural Services, Barbara Stinchfield, told the Mirror on Wednesday the conditions included the hours of operation, security measures, “the elements of design to reduce the impact of lighting and parking on the neighbors, the way in which certain areas of the site will be booked for community use and how events and food service will be handled.”
Another condition would be that all the parties involved with the project would try to get a Caltrans approval for a traffic signal at 415 PCH. In addition, the agreement would be contingent on “the City Council adopting a resolution expressing its intent that certain specified operating conditions would be in place for 7 1/2 and 10 years.” This resolution will be presented to the Council at its next meeting. Finally, if the Council approves the resolution and enters into the required agreement with the Annenberg Foundation, the homeowner’s lawsuit would be dropped. They would, however, reserve their right to make sure the conditions of the settlement and the operating conditions are enforced.
In other business, the Council unanimously approved allowing flexibility for the heights of the buildings that will comprise the village component of the Civic Center Specific Plan. The City’s Housing and Redevelopment Manager Bob Moncrief told the Council the members of the community who attended the workshops on the subject last June had supported the higher height of 65 feet. The 65-foot height exceeds the current zoning-allowed limit of 56 feet.
Moncrief also mentioned that allowing the higher height would allow the City to “get a bigger payback for the residual land value” and also allow some modulation in the project because buildings could alternate between being 65 and 56 feet tall.
Mayor Pro Tem Bobby Shriver supported the height flexibility but mentioned, “I’m surprised to hear from Mr. Moncrief that people are supporting a higher height. If I could generalize my coffeehouse experience, the one absolute iron rule that I hear in the coffeehouses is no more height.”
Lastly, the Council approved the new development standards for the R1 areas of Sunset Park and North of Wilshire that have been developed over the last three years. (See page 11).