After several months of hearings before the Landmarks Commission which resulted in a decision favoring the neighborhood, residents of the Third Street Neighborhood Historic District are facing one last challenge at the City Council meeting on April 22.
A proposal to build a large, cantilevered, rectilinear structure in the Modernist style of architecture at 2617 Third Street in the heart of the Historic District failed to win approval from the Landmarks Commission at its final hearing on January 14. The applicant has, however, appealed the decision to the City Council. It is to be hoped that the City Council will uphold the Landmarks Commission’s decision and deny the appeal. The project, although beautifully designed, is not appropriate in this sensitive location.
Ever since its first hearing in June 2007, residents of the Third Street Historic District have been unanimously opposed to the project on the grounds that it does not respect the long-established Design Guidelines that protect the Historic District. If the City Council fails to protect this one small, ostensibly protected neighborhood, what likelihood is there that residents elsewhere in Santa Monica will have any say in what happens in their neighborhoods?
The City of Santa Monica, specifically the City Manager’s Office, spent thousands and thousands of taxpayer dollars to mail to virtually every resident and business their one-sided spin on the Second and Fourth Streets Pedestrian and Streetscape Improvement Project, mostly the ficus tree removal aspect of the plan. The problem is by not joining with Treesavers months ago to reach a business and environmentally friendly win-win solution, the City is sending out many misrepresentations, half-truths, and misleading information now that the overwhelming majority of residents and visitors don’t want the trees removed. The people, who the City should be listening to, have so far been for the most part ignored and disrespected. There is still hope for a win-win solution, regardless of what the Court rules. Check out the Treesavers blogsite for the information you may not be getting. Visit: treesavers.blogspot.com and thank you for your help and support.