July 3, 2022 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Spanish Revival Condo Design Approved:

The Santa Monica Planning Commission unanimously voted at its bi-weekly meeting at City Hall on April 20 to allow the developer of a 20-unit Spanish Revival-style condominium complex to move forward with its design plans. This week’s decision upholds an appeal made by 301 Ocean Development LLC to reverse a decision by the Architectural Review Board (ARB) to deny the project’s design plans.

With 39 speakers during public comment, most of whom supported the project in its most current reincarnation, and an extensive staff report and commissioner deliberation, the Commission balked at remanding the issue back to the ARB when it was determined the developer had done all that was to meet the minimum standards of the design process.

Tony Kim, a senior planner with the City of Santa Monica, told the Commission the developer had specifically fulfilled two key requirements that would allow the commissioners to uphold 301 Ocean Development LLC’s appeal.

“Staff … feels that the two findings can be made in the affirmative,” Kim said. “The finding that the project expresses good design, good taste, and, in general, contributes to the image of Santa Monica as a place of beauty, creativity, and individuality.”

One of the 39 speakers, Dennis Wong, who owns the property directly adjacent to the 301 Ocean Avenue property, agreed that the new design fits the persona of the community.

“I think the current architectural renderings greatly complement the design of my building (at 311 Ocean Avenue),” Wong said. “This is especially important because the 300 block of Ocean Avenue consists only of these two lots.”

Eileen Fogarty, the City’s director of Planning and Community Development, stated the project endured significant public process deliberations, which helped shape the current design plans into something that is more consistent with the surrounding community than the original plans. The public process included three community meetings, a designation as city landmark by the Landmarks Commission, and denial of landmark designation by the Santa Monica City Council before the ARB ultimately denied the building design due to the project lacking good design and compatibility with its location and adjacent surroundings.

“We are recommending to the Commission that you uphold the appeal. We believe the project meets all the required ARB findings and criteria,” Fogarty said. “This has been a very extensive process. There would be very few projects that I could envision that would’ve had as many public hearings.”

There was opposition by Landmarks Commissioner member Margaret Bach, who told the Planning Commission the proposed 20-unit condominium project does not reflect the sensibilities of surrounding projects.

“The Architectural Review Board is charged with ensuring that new buildings in Santa Monica are … ‘harmonious with surrounding developments.’ The project before you tonight does not meet that threshold,” Bach said. “This is a gateway building in an area that has a particular aesthetic.”

Dale Goldsmith of the Armbruster, Goldsmith, and Delvac Law Firm disagreed with Bach’s statements, suggesting there is minimal consistency of styles in the community surrounding the 301 Ocean Avenue property.

“The staff report shows that the district is characterized by a variety of styles, including … Spanish Revival,” Goldsmith said in justifying the appeal. “The only common element among these disparate styles is the fact that they have courtyards. This project has a courtyard, therefore we believe it is compatible, and compliments the adjacent potential historic district.”

Echoing similar sentiment was Commissioner Hank Koning, who pointed out the City’s codes do not specifically dictate exactly how each development within Santa Monica should be designed.

“I don’t know that we have a code requirement that says we can’t have boring buildings. It’s really not an exceptional building on this exceptional site, in the eyes of many. Others have said, yes, it is,” Koning said. “I would love to see something fabulous that I would send my architectural students to and say this is an example of what you should do. I don’t think this will be that, but I don’t think that’s necessarily a requirement. I am not handing out an architectural award here.”

Interestingly enough, Greg Ames, a principal with Trammel Crow who spoke to the Commission on the appellant’s behalf, explained his group extensively met with residents and community members to find the ideal design plan, and the selection ultimately presented to the ARB and Planning Commission is significantly noteworthy.

“This project combines classical style and unique contemporary details. It is a celebration of the garden courtyard experience and a sense of community. The courtyard is literally interpreted as an outdoor living room for the residents,” Ames said. “It reflects the current standard for how Santa Monicans like to live.”

According to staff reports, the proposed project at 301 Ocean Avenue “consists of a new 20-unit Spanish Revival style condominium complex within three separate buildings oriented around a central garden courtyard. Fourty-three parking spaces will be provided within two levels of subterranean parking. The project was redesigned from an original proposal for a contemporary styled building that utilized expansive glazing and steel and presented an uninterrupted façade that did not include a courtyard or any openings from the streets.”

The staff report further stated community members “expressed their concerns with the project’s expansive massing and lack of residential appearance.”

Should the project ever be realized, the developers would have to demolish an existing 47-unit vacant apartment complex on the site.

in News
Related Posts

John McEnroe and Patty Smyth Sell Malibu Home for $29 Million

July 2, 2022

July 2, 2022

Malibu Colony home sold to unknown buyer in private sale By Dolores Quintana John McEnroe, a retired former tennis star,...

SMa.r.t. Column: A Tale of Two Cities

July 2, 2022

July 2, 2022

The City of Santa Monica is surrounded on three sides by the City of Los Angeles. Therefore, while the jurisdictions...

Santa Monica City Council Approves Ballot Measure That Would Increase Hotel Bed Tax

July 1, 2022

July 1, 2022

Santa Monica’s bed tax has been raised since 2004 By Dolores Quintana In a vote on June 28, the Santa...

PETA Attempts to Stop the Beach Club From Holding Annual Fireworks Display

July 1, 2022

July 1, 2022

Parking lot where display is held is on City of LA land, not Santa Monica, allowing Club to obtain permit...

Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Prepares for SMASH/Muir Campus Mold Removal

June 30, 2022

June 30, 2022

Exact costs for repairs still unknown By Dolores Quintana and Sam Catanzaro  It is unknown exactly how much the total...

Watering Restrictions for Santa Monica Residents Take Effect Soon

June 30, 2022

June 30, 2022

New restrictions will go into effect on July 5, limiting watering to twice a week By Sam Catanzaro New restrictions...

Daily Harvest Recalls Meal Kits Handed out at Venice Event Following 470 Cases of Mysterious Illness

June 30, 2022

June 30, 2022

Direct-to-consumer meal kit company under fire for handling of outbreak tied to lentil and leek meal kit By Sam Catanzaro...

Central Coast Brewery Makes Westside Acquisitions

June 29, 2022

June 29, 2022

Figueroa Mountain Brewing acquires Broxton Brewery, The Stalking Horse and more. Staff, current beer taps to remain on board at...

Mexican Restaurant Possibly Expanding Into Former Swingers Space

June 29, 2022

June 29, 2022

Bar Hermanito applies for an alcohol exemption sales permit for space at 802 Broadway in Santa Monica By Dolores Quintana...

Six Family-Fun Westside Fourth of July Events

June 29, 2022

June 29, 2022

Fireworks, parades, runs and more taking place across the Westside  By Ashley Sloan  Pacific Palisades  The Pacific Palisades will be...

California Credit Union Awards Grant to Santa Monica Teacher

June 29, 2022

June 29, 2022

Building electric circuit friendship detectors and applying engineering principles to solve real world problems are Westside school projects receiving funding...

Santa Monica’s Building Bridges Art Exchange Presents: J.J. Martin’s “Role Models”

June 28, 2022

June 28, 2022

A traveling exhibit in partnership with Indianilla Cultural Center, Mexico City and Real de Catorce Cultural Center, Real de Catorce,...

Santa Monica City Council Approves New Rules to Streamline Meetings

June 28, 2022

June 28, 2022

Pilot program will run through end of year By Dolores Quintana At the Santa Monica City Council meeting on June...

Banning Construction of New Gas Stations in Los Angeles?

June 28, 2022

June 28, 2022

Motion from LA City Councilmember Paul Koretz calls for banning the building of any new gas pumping facilities By Sam...

Child Of Elon Musk Receives Approval For Name And Gender Change: Santa Monica Beat – June 27th, 2022

June 27, 2022

June 27, 2022

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes.* Child Of Elon Musk Receives Approval For Name And Gender Change * Smash...