LYNNE BRONSTEIN, Mirror Contributing Writer
The legacy of Mayor Ken Genser, who passed away on January 9, was present in the air during the Santa Monica Landmarks Commission’s January 11 meeting. Commissioner Roger Genser, a third cousin of the mayor, spoke briefly of his relative, saying that although it was a personal loss, it was “a greater loss for the City.” The Commission then observed a moment of silence for Genser.
Following this, Planning and Community Development Director Eileen Fogarty gave a presentation on the Draft Update to the Land Use and Circulation Elements of the General Plan, otherwise known as LUCE. Fogarty noted at the outset that the LUCE involves the “principles of conservation that Genser held dear.”
Fogarty said that the DEIR is to be released within the next few weeks and will be followed by community workshops in which the public will get to look at and comment on the plan. There will also be City Council work sessions leading up to hearings set for April and May.
She gave an overview of the main components of LUCE, including neighborhood conservation, modification of demolition regulations, preservation of character defining resources, complete neighborhoods, increased connectivity, and transfer of development rights.
But Commission members wondered about the incorporation of historic elements in the plans, and what their role would be.
Fogarty explained that the Landmarks Commission would help the City with the creation of “conservation overlays.” These would be geographic areas in which certain regulations for conservation of historic resources would apply.
These areas, however, would not be the same as “historic districts.” In answer to a question from Commission chair Barbara Kaplan, who wanted more clarification about conservation districts, Fogarty explained that conservation districts are “more general, less specific” than historic districts, which she characterized as “rigid” in their definition.
The Commission complimented Fogarty and her staff for their work on LUCE.
In other actions, the Commission approved statements of official action for the Shangri-La Hotel at 1301 Ocean Avenue and the Mar Vista Apartments at 1305 2nd Street. However, a statement of official action for the three bungalows at 1047 9th Street was continued to next month because several Commission members were uncomfortable with the terminology that had been used to describe the construction of the bungalows. Next month’s Landmarks meeting will be on February 8, one night before the City Council hears an appeal of the designation of 1047 9th Street.
The Commission also approved a Certificate of Appropriateness for the relocation of a second-story window at the Isaac Milbanke House at 236 Adelaide Drive. The 5-2 vote reflected the reluctance of two Commission members to approve the change, due to doubts about the aesthetics and the need for the change.
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