Santa Monica’s Planning Commission unanimously gave the necessary approvals so that the landmarked structure at 2001 Main Street can be rehabilitated along with the construction of a new mixed-use 3-story building behind it. When completed, the project will contain 3,876 square feet of ground floor commercial space and 14 residential units. According to the City staff report, the west wing of the existing commercial building was designated a City Landmark in May of 2007 by the City’s Landmarks Commission. This designation commemorates the building’s association with the local surf and skateboard culture established in the Ocean Park neighborhood and the building’s use in the 1970s.An approval of a Statement of Overriding Considerations was necessary because the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) prepared for the project found that the project would result in a significant and unavoidable impact to traffic/circulation, specifically to the street segment of 3rd Street between Pico Boulevard and Bay Street. The Development Review Permit was approved for four years rather than the usual two and one half years, due to the recession.Public input regarding the project at the May 20 meeting was mixed. Santa Monica resident Reyna Alvarez told the Commission not to approve the project because the surf shop which currently occupies the building is “living history. It provides service to a subculture.” On the other side of the issue was community activist Jerry Rubin who called the project a “tremendous project that Santa Monica should be proud of.”Rubin’s sentiments were echoed by Commissioner Gerda Newbold who stated right before she voted in favor of the project that the developer “pushed the envelope and it’s allowed us to go where we want to go.”The Commission then reviewed a project proposal from the Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center and Orthopaedic Hospital to build a new Surgery and Onoology Center at 1217-1231 16th Street. After the review, they decided to approve the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the project but sent it back to the hospital with suggestions for its for redesign. Project plans presented to the Commission included a 3-story, 45 foot high, 45,000 square foot Surgery and Oncology Center. Some unusual features of the project were a sculpture that spans from the central atrium on the first floor through the project’s roof and an automated parking system. The project also contained a number of sustainable design features including roof plantings, an array of roof solar panels, and energy-efficient mechanical and electrical systems.Commissioner Gwynne Pugh, an architect and an urban design consultant, told his colleagues “I think this is an atrocious building.” He then complained about the project’s design, the way its driveways work, and its pedestrian orientation. His concerns were shared by the other Commissioners particularly Commissioner Hank Koning who is also an architect.
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