Residents had the opportunity to participate in a Citywide workshop held at Santa Monica College that explored the potential for the City’s industrial areas over the next 20 years, part of the Land Use and Circulation Elements update for the City’s General Plan, last updated in 1984.
At the July 21 workshop, Eileen Fogerty, the City’s Director of Planning and Community Development, explained to the workshop participants that planning for the City’s M1 (Industrial Conservation) Zone and LMSD (Light Manufacturing Studio District) faces very specific challenges which include “unplanned piecemeal development,” large-scale residential proposals that are not transit-oriented, “lack of roadway continuity and a lack of a neighborhood environment.” Other challenges include maintaining the viability of creative, entertainment and arts uses, “retention of existing businesses and services that support the community, increasing conflict between housing and existing uses and increased speculative development pressure.”
According to Fogerty, the current zoning for the M1 Zone includes permitting manufacturing, fabrication, assembly, repair, servicing, processing and testing of products and, with a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) granted by the City, multi-family housing and schools. Also allowed by right are affordable housing projects of up to 49 units. In the LMSD, zoning allows research related to manufacturing, fabrication, assembly, repair, servicing, processing and testing of products, entertainment industry projects and artist studios. City-granted CUPs for this zone allow for schools. Affordable SROs (Single Room Occupancy residential projects) of up to 49 units are permitted by right.
Participants got a chance to express their opinions in small groups on “current uses and a future vision” for the zones, opportunity sites, on mobility and connectivity and on urban design aspects such as open space and landscaping. Several themes emerged from the small groups, including keeping development in check for both zones and preserving the existing small businesses, especially in the M-1 Zone, such as manufacturing, building supply stores and the creative arts.
When it came to housing, residents were interested in having a mix of housing uses and amenities. Residents also want more greenery and to retain open spaces. They also talked about possibly expanding Memorial Park to connect to the Pico neighborhood, and about increased landscaping on Olympic Boulevard. Lastly, they wanted to retain the artistic uses and not increase the density at Bergamot Station.