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City Council Talks LUCE:

The just-released Draft Land Use and Circulation Element (LUCE) of the City’s general plan was presented to the City Council Tuesday evening, November 24, though no action was taken on the matter.

As reported elsewhere in The Mirror, the City released the Draft LUCE on November 18, and Director of Planning and Community Development Eileen Fogarty made a formal presentation of the plan to the City Council at its November 24 meeting.

Mayor Pro Tem Pam O’Connor called the draft a “milestone” and referred to Fogarty’s presentation as a “curtain raiser” inasmuch as the Council was really only viewing the plan and took no vote, with the hard work of breaking it down and debating the particulars still to come.

Fogarty’s summary stressed the work done by her department incorporating the Council’s directives from 2008, including general reductions in allowable building heights, the derogation of retail uses designed to serve a regional market in favor of housing and local retail/service uses, and the further integration of land use with transportation. She noted that the plan represented a “significant reduction in commercial growth” as compared to the City’s earlier plan and a “small reduction in residential growth.”

Public comment included kudos from Nina Fresco of the Landmarks Commission (“awesome”), Donna Sternberg of the Arts Commission, who applauded LUCE for its inclusion of material from the Creative Capital Plan, and Susan Cloke of the Recreation and Parks Commission (“captures both the spirit and character of Santa Monica”). Both the public and the councilmembers generally praised the openness and inclusiveness of the process by which the Draft LUCE was developed and the process built into the plan for considering future development.

Fogarty said the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) will be released in early January, to be followed by public review, workshops, responses to the DEIR, hearings, and final City Council vote in May 2010. Public comments are encouraged to

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