September 24, 2020 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Letters to the Editor:

In regard to the animal activists – I would like to know if any of them would wear an I.D. bracelet indicating that the wearer refuses any medications and/or treatments that emanate from animal research. I think not.

Fearful of fanatics

Santa Monica

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My personal thank you and congratulations go to the parents of the talented students who performed last month at the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District’s “Stairway of the Stars” concert.

Anyone who heard the astonishing level of student performances knows congratulations are in order. I say also “thank you” because family support at home contributes so greatly to the experience we shared at our historic Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. Fully 47 percent of our district students – up from 28 percent just a year ago – now participate in SMMUSD music programs taught by certificated music teachers.

The recently released Creative Capital report documented how important the arts are to Santa Monica, and the “Stairway” concert demonstrated the great value our community receives from its willing support of excellent public schools.

Kevin McKeown

City Council

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I am writing to alert you to neighborhood concerns about a major development being planned for two lots on the northeast corner of 17th Street and Montana Avenue in Santa Monica.

The owner/developers of the property, apparently a married couple from the East Coast, stated to NOMA (North of Montana Association) that they recently purchased the property and plan to build three very expensive condos on the north of the two lots facing toward 17th Street and on the other (corner) lot a very large so-called adult day care center on the first floor, seven market-rate single apartments above and subterranean parking for the entire project underneath, to be entered and exited from a single driveway opening onto Montana at the east end of their structure.

The developers also plan an in-and-out turn-around driveway on Montana for pick up and drop off to their adult day care center. They propose to run a van service to pick up and drop off and pick up again the day care center clients/patients. They do not plan to build enough parking for each apartment to have even one parking space since they said that’s not required because they plan to call it senior housing, even though they said the units will be too small for a senior to live in with a caretaker, and thus, by definition, the apartments will not be occupied by the clients of the day care center as those will clearly be people unable to live independently. This appears to be an attempt to avoid parking requirements for other market-rate apartments.

Many local residents are concerned that if this proposed project is built there will be a tremendous amount of traffic going in and out on Montana Avenue, and probably bottlenecks and backups because the driveway will have cars and vans entering and exiting the entire project, including the condo owners, the apartment dwellers, staff of the day care center, families dropping off day care center clients, vans dropping off and picking up day care center clients, and guests and visitors of all of the above!

This site is directly across Montana from the library and on the bike, pedestrian and car route to Franklin School, Roosevelt School, Lincoln Middle School, and on the route of residents traveling to and from Samohi, SMC, UCLA, workplaces and everywhere else. Residents are worried that the proposed project would greatly increase traffic congestion and parking problems and endanger kids biking or walking to and from school. Residents believe this should concern everyone in the area, not just the immediate neighbors.

My husband and I live 1.5 blocks north of this site, our children are grown, and we can easily avoid this intersection by driving to work by another route. However, we are greatly concerned about the overall impact of this proposed project on the quality of life in both the north of Montana and south of Montana neighborhoods. We are members of NOMA but are not on the Board and do not represent or speak for NOMA.

We do not believe this is a case of “nimby” (not in my back yard). If this were a project offering tremendous benefits to the community, such as low income housing, it might well be worth pursuing, as long as it was well planned, and the traffic and parking problems dealt with. However, this project looks like it will essentially make a few people a lot of money to the detriment of the community as a whole. While there is presumably a need for expensive high-end adult day care, residents question whether that sort of facility ought to be crammed in at this already busy intersection, along with high-end market rate condos, and market rate apartments without adequate parking.

If the developers have the right under the code to build six market rate condos on these two lots, that would presumably have less detrimental community impact than their current proposal. Many residents believe a pocket park would be a particularly desirable alternate use of this property.

We hope that you will follow up on this issue with investigation and/or reporting in your newspaper.

Very truly yours,

Sonya Sultan

Santa Monica

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