September 21, 2020 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Ocean Avenue Hotel Project:

Santa Monica’s Planning Commission recommended the City Council approve a Development Agreement with Hill Street Realty Partners to develop 1333-1337 Ocean Avenue as a hotel.

The developer is proposing a 73-room hotel with a rooftop pool and terraces with rooftop projections of up to 57 feet. The project’s square footage will be approximately 41,050 square feet with a 132-space subterranean garage.

A Development Agreement between the City and the developer is needed because some of project doesn’t conform to the City’s zoning ordinance. In exchange for a variance, the developer must provide public benefits which, in this case, include the preservation and the reuse of two landmark structures, a publicly accessible plaza, a sustainable LEED-rated building, a contribution to the City’s childcare fund of approximately $100,000 and an annual Transient Occupancy Tax contribution to the City’s General Fund.

A Final Environmental Impact Report was part of the approval the Commission made at the April 4 meeting. The report found that significant traffic impacts at the intersection of 4th Street and the on and off ramps to the I-10 freeway could not be mitigated. Therefore, the Commission also had to approve a Statement of Overriding Considerations. Commissioner Julie Lopez-Dad was the only commissioner to vote against approving these two documents since she “continues…to not be satisfied with the EIRs that come our way primarily because we don’t have adequate traffic measurements” and this project’s EIR “falls under that.” She later also voted against recommending that the Council approve the Development Agreement by noting that she was originally enthusiastic but changed her mind because she doesn’t like the developer’s design. She also didn’t “like the way it interacts with either the landmarked buildings” or Ocean Avenue. In her view, the project will impact Ocean Avenue in a negative way.

Other commissioners made recommendations of what should be done in the Development Agreement, which include how the developer could aim for a Silver LEED rating, restrooms on the roof if required when serving food and alcohol, having a minimum vertical clearance in loading spaces of 11 feet, making sure construction trucks are covered when they haul dirt away and having a member of the City’s Architectural Review Board present at the Landmarks Commission’s hearing on the project to discuss landscaping.

Joseph Penner, a partner with Hill Street Realty, told the Commission they are “trying our best to create a project that will draw visitors to Santa Monica.”

The project will be reviewed by the City Council on April 24. If approval is given, the project will enter the final design phase and then have to be reviewed and approved by the City’s Landmarks Commission for a Certificate of Appropriateness.

Go to smmirror.com/MainPages/DisplayArchiveArticle.asp?eid=5177 for a previous article with additional project details.

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