May 25, 2022 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

OpEd: Will We Love LUVE and Tighten LUCE?:

Full Disclosure: I read the Land Use Voter Empowerment or LUVE initiative, currently gathering signatures to get on a ballot, and cannot pretend to have understood each and every aspect described in it. Like a day’s fishing outing, more fish got away than made it into my ‘boat’ of understanding. I’m left playing the role of the high school student who asks with trepidation “Will we be tested on this?” I can at least answer the question “What is Santa Monica’s current development platform?” and it is the Land Use Circulation Element or LUCE… which LUVE would like to alter.

Similar to the arguments that are already fomenting online and otherwise about LUVE, it has a singular outstanding dimension which may be working both for and against the LUVE… something like the catchy ‘hook’ in a popular song. (We’ll get to it in a moment.) But once you have a hold of that ‘sticky’ riff, it is probably true that there exists a general complication with LUVE as described by those opposing it: It does feel “complex.”

Many might say that raising a teenager is “complex” but it still needs to be done. Yet you might describe the process of parenting a teen in more easily understood language than that of the text of the LUVE initiative. Of course, raising a teen does not normally involve various levels of local government, interpretation of existing laws and codes, projected social and environmental impacts – or does it? Now that I think about it, maybe anyone contemplating raising kids should be made to read a document about what’s involved that is at least as complex as the text of the LUVE.

I cited a singular aspect of LUVE and it appears to be this, copied from the online text of the LUVE initiative: “The measure would create a new permitting requirement and process.  A “Major Development Review Permit” would be required for projects exceeding the LUCE’s Tier 1 maximum height (32 feet/two stories) and size limits. The processing for such permits would include review by the Architectural Review Board, which would make recommendations to the Planning Commission. It would, in turn, be required to make certain findings before recommending the project to the City Council. If the Council made specified findings and approved or conditionally approved the project, the permit would not become effective unless and until the voters approved it in a general or special election. Similarly, a new requirement of voter approval would apply to all development agreements. Any development agreement approved by the City Council would not become effective unless and until it was approved by the voters.  The measure states that the developer would pay any special election costs incurred in seeking voter approval of a review permit or development agreement.”

Let’s hope the struggles with or over the LUVE initiative don’t become Shakespearean, but it’s the paragraph above that I believe is causing many to say, “Ay, there’s the rub.”  A group opposed to the LUVE, Santa Monica Forward, thinks the compelling of voting demanded by the LUVE is wrong-headed. In a statement published in the Santa Monica Daily Press, the “Forward” group argues that “sometimes you need a hammer and sometimes you need a wrench, but ballot-box planning is like mandating that all future generations must use only a hammer going forward, no matter what the problem they face.”

However, I take issue with Santa Monica Forward’s implication in that same statement that the LUVE is falsely invoking that the initiative “will protect us from shadowy forces whose only desire is to ruin our way of life.” Money is not a shadowy force; it can be a sledge hammer for those who are hammer fans.  Let me ask “Forward” if our city has a downtown retail area that includes not only a mall but a second multi-story shopping center that has been built not just once but twice since I’ve lived in Santa Monica… because all of that is really great for low income housing and clean air and less traffic?  To borrow from classic radio, “The Shadow knows.”

And this of course is why development and planning are slippery slopes requiring, among other things, complex laws and ordinances and reviews.  Should voters always have the last say in these things?  In each decision that is made concerning a structure over 32 feet in height? There’s something that feels very controlling about that, although the costs and bother involved would definitely slow development in our city.  Still, those with something big to gain might just put up with that. I’d rather they took a look at our LUCE and just took their money and blueprints to another city rather than decide to fight to get on one of our ballots. But that’s hoping that a certain sustained level of frustration will keep developers from overbuilding – and with that bring increased traffic and a lesser our view of the sky – just because getting things done in Santa Monica is difficult. Difficult… hm. Maybe I should take another shot at reading the complex text of the LUVE.

in News
Related Posts

Santa Monica City Council Looks to Shorten Meetings

May 24, 2022

May 24, 2022

Council to consider changes at Tuesday meeting By Dolores Quintana Santa Monica lawmakers are considering taking steps to shorten City...

Landmark Theater Official Closes on Pico

May 24, 2022

May 24, 2022

Pico Boulevard location closes Sunday By Sam Catanzaro The Landmark Theater on Pico Boulevard in Westwood has officially closed.  The...

Road Closures Expected During Demolition Of Parking Structure Three: Santa Monica Beat – May 23rd, 2022

May 23, 2022

May 23, 2022

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes.* Free Donuts At Randy’s Donuts For National Doughnut Day* Road Closures Expected...

Los Angeles Metro Sees 15.9 Percent Increase in Median Rent

May 20, 2022

May 20, 2022

Median rent of $2,258, according to recent report By Dolores Quintana The ongoing pandemic has exacerbated the issues of housing...

New Renderings for Frank Gehry Hotel Development in Santa Monica

May 20, 2022

May 20, 2022

Project would include hotel, apartments, retail and a museum By Dolores Quintana Slowly but surely, plans for a  Frank Gehry-designed...

Shared Mobility Plummets in Santa Monica

May 20, 2022

May 20, 2022

Recent report also shows that nearly half of riders make over $100,000 By Sam Catanzaro Shared mobility use in Santa...

Christopher Dishlip Selected as Santa Monica’s New Assistant Director of Public Works

May 20, 2022

May 20, 2022

Public Works Director Rick Valte announced the selection of Christopher Dishlip as Santa Monica’s new Assistant Director of Public Works....

Letter to Editor: Response to Himmelrich’s “We Walk the Talk” Column

May 20, 2022

May 20, 2022

By Beau Marks As a Santa Monica resident, I am dismayed by Sue Himmelrich’s response (“We Walk the Talk,” Santa...

Motional And UberEats Launch Autonomous Deliveries In Santa Monica

May 18, 2022

May 18, 2022

There Are Plans For Expansion Into The Rest Of Los Angeles Motional, a global driverless technology leader, and Uber Technologies...

Winston Pies Opening Third Location In Santa Monica

May 18, 2022

May 18, 2022

The restaurant used to be known as ButterCrust Pies Winston Pies is staying in Santa Monica when opening their third...

Only 10 Vaquita Porpoises Survive, But The Species May Not Be Doomed

May 17, 2022

May 17, 2022

Hope remains for the porpoise species not only survive but thrive with human help. By Stuart Wolpert The vaquita porpoise,...

The American Cinematheque Brings “Bleak Week” To Santa Monica’s Aero Theatre And The Los Feliz Three Theatre

May 17, 2022

May 17, 2022

33 Films From 18 Countries In One Week. By Dolores Quintana Sometimes when things are tough and you’re feeling down,...

Man Who Murdered His Family Members Pleads Guilty To Five Other Killings

May 16, 2022

May 16, 2022

Escobar injured an additional seven other people as well.  By Dolores Quintana A man, Ramon Escobar, has pleaded guilty to...

The price of gasoline in Los Angeles County Has Experienced The Largest Increase Since February

May 16, 2022

May 16, 2022

Gasoline prices in Orange County Have Also Increased By Dolores Quintana Regular self-serve gasoline in the county of Los Angeles...

Santa Monica Travel Summit Of 2022 Returns To Take On Tomorrow

May 16, 2022

May 16, 2022

The Event Was Held At The Jonathan Club On Santa Monica Beach By Staff Writer The 2022 Santa Monica Tourism...