After much discussion, the Santa Monica Landmarks Commission approved a Certificate of Appropriateness for design approval of a new public restroom facility and ice cream kiosk on the Santa Monica Pier.
The new facility will feature a 2,507-square-foot restroom building with a wave-shaped roof and privacy screens at the restroom entrance. The kiosk will be positioned at the north end of the new building, while the adjacent Police Substation/Pier Maintenance building will be remodeled to include a storage facility for vendors’ carts.
City engineers have been working on the restroom project for 10 years and the Commission had discussed the item at two previous meetings, postponing approval of the design in October 2006 because of concerns over the proposed design, and postponing again in February 2007 because the applicant was not present.
While the new design presented by the City at the March 12 meeting incorporated the Commission’s suggestions in regard to removing a faux “tower” design element for the kiosk and making the kiosk itself more prominent, as well as introducing a new color palette of green and gray, there were still elements of the design that several Commissioners struggled with. It was mentioned that the kiosk still didn’t seem prominent enough, that it was too “squat,” that it needed enlarged fenestration on its front façade, that the restroom privacy screens blocked the nautical designs on the building and that the facility needed to be well lit.
But as a City engineer and a representative from the Pier Restoration Committee pointed out, the project has been in the making for a long time and there is a “dire need” for more restrooms on the Pier (the new building will have double the number of booths as the current restroom trailer). The Commission voted and approved of the design with the “friendly” amendment that the applicant work with staff in a manner that places more emphasis on the front of the kiosk.
The Commission had an easier time approving a Certificate of Appropriateness for alterations to the ground floor of the Bay Cities Guarantee Building in the downtown area (the familiar clock tower building). Submitted for approval was the exterior design for a new restaurant, the Brasserie Café, which involved awnings, a blade sign bolted to the front of the building, a menu board, and a new vestibule and a door opening into the alley to the north. It was agreed that these proposed alterations were reversible (in case of future tenants) and did not interfere with or appear incompatible with the building’s 1930s Art Deco design.
A consideration of whether to file an application for nominating 227 Broadway (the Keller Block) as a City Landmark was postponed due to the Big Blue Bus’s project of building the City Transit “Blue” store on the ground floor of the building. The project is scheduled to be completed in July, after which the item will be re-introduced.
The Commission also heard a presentation from Eileen Fogerty, Director of Planning and Community Development, who outlined the City’s projected improvements to the planning process. Several community meetings are scheduled during the next few weeks to collect community input on the Land Use and Circulation Element.
A new Commissioner, Margaret Bach, was sworn in and welcomed. Bach is returning to the Landmarks Commission on which she has previously served.
No action was taken on the following demolition permits: 1231 4th Street, 464 21st Place, 733 22nd Street, 1812 Stanford Ave., 704 23rd Street, 1122 26th Street, 1332 Ocean Park Blvd. or 1336 Ocean Park Blvd. More information is necessary to determine the course of action at 402 20th Street.