Santa Monica’s City Council gave the necessary approvals Tuesday night for a 73-room hotel project to be located at 1333-1337 Ocean Avenue. The hotel will include a rooftop pool and terraces with rooftop projections of up to 57 feet and the reuse of two historically landmarked buildings.
Councilmember Kevin McKeown expressed his support for the hotel. “For decades we’ve lost Santa Monica’s past to demolition so I’m heartened to seeing an increased appreciation to our built history,” said McKeown.
Councilmember Pam O’Connor, a historic preservationist, disagreed even though she supported the development. In her view, the there are deficiencies in the project because it is “cobbled together.” O’Connor called for more to be “done on the design and materials of the façade so it better relates to Ocean Avenue.” The rest of the Council agreed, and her suggestions were incorporated into the Council’s approval, which also included certifying the project’s Final Environmental Impact Report, approving the Development Agreement and a Statement of Overriding Considerations and adopting a Mitigation Monitoring Plan. The project will now enter the final design phase and then have to be reviewed and approved by the City’s Landmarks Commission for a Certificate of Appropriateness.
In other business, the Council decided to integrate input on Santa Monica issues related to the Phase II of the Light Rail Exposition Project into the City’s ongoing update of its Land Use and Circulation Elements (LUCE). The Exposition Light Rail Construction Authority is currently beginning the Draft Environmental Impact study for Phase II, which is expected to be completed in eight-to-nine months. The input derived from the LUCE process will be forwarded to the Construction Authority. Updates will also be given to the Council on a regular basis.
Originally, Mayor Pro Tem Herb Katz and O’Connor proposed to lead a Working Group to formulate the input, but other councilmembers objected. Councilmember Ken Genser told his colleagues that the project “needs to be more integrated into the LUCE update.” He also noted the plan could potentially have the same impact on the City as when I-10 freeway was built in Santa Monica. Genser also objected to the Planning Commission having designated seats for certain community interests because the “decisions would then be too parochial.”
Lastly, the City Council decided not to endorse the peace activities of the Veterans for Peace in Los Angles (VPLA) due to some councilmembers questioning the appropriateness of making such an endorsement. VPLA is the organizer of the Arlington West memorial at Santa Monica Pier and the “Americans for Peace 2007” tour of the West Coast, to take place later this year.