Santa Monica’s Planning Commission took another look at the new Surgery and Oncology Center being proposed by the Arnon Development Group for 1217-31 Sixteenth Street.
When complete, the project will contain a three-story, 45,000 square feet, surgery and oncology center with a 250 space, six level, automated parking garage. Access to parking will be made from 16th Street via a single driveway.
The Commission had begun its review of the project on May 20 of 2009 but decided not to make a decision at that time because they were concerned about the project’s overall design and its neighborhood compatibility. Since that time, the applicant hired a design architect and redesigned the building’s architecture to respond to the Commission’s suggestions.
Commissioner Jay Johnson summed up the Commission’s reaction to the redesign at the Commission’s September 16 meeting when he stated the project design is “vastly improved from last time and everything concerned has been addressed.”
Community members expressed concerns about the project’s impact on traffic and parking in the area. Karen Row who lives at Seventeenth and Arizona noted that the project design considered the project’s impact on nearby parking and traffic patterns but not on the “larger patterns” on nearby streets.
Katherine Eldridge was concerned that her suggestion for having the new center provide a shuttle to bring patients to and from the center was not included in their final plans.
Commissioner Jim Ries responded that, “This is a use where it would be hard to take alternative modes of transit to.” He then suggested that the City of Santa Monica needed to “price the parking on the street appropriately so people don’t circle around” looking for parking. There was also a considerable discussion about the City zoning codes pertaining to drop off and pick up areas that would be permitted for this type of use.
Another community member, Clifford Siegal who lives on 15th Street near Lincoln Middle School, expressed concern about where those who will be involved in the center’s construction will park. He mentioned that his neighborhood’s parking areas have been heavily impacted by those who have been working on the construction of the Santa Monica-UCLA Orthopaedic Hospital.
The developer’s lawyer, Ken Kutcher, responded that project construction would take approximately 16 months and during that time there would be 10,000 square feet available on the site for the parking of 30 cars. This will be possible because this area would not be excavated. The developer is also working with Santa Monica-UCLA Orthopaedic Hospital on obtaining additional parking for the project’s construction workers.
The Commission voted unanimously to approve the project’s Statement of Overriding Considerations and its Mitigation Monitoring Program. These documents were necessary because the project’s Environmental Impact Report (EIR) found there would be significant unavoidable impacts by the project on transportation/traffic, from construction and on the surrounding neighborhood. The project’s EIR was approved by the Commission on May 20.