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S.M.a.r.t Column: Gelson’s Looms Large

Our guest column this week is by SMCLC (the Santa Monica Coalition for a Livable City). SMCLC is a well-established group of concerned residents that have successfully been involved for many years in addressing and improving, or stopping, numerous egregious planning issues and developments, such as the Hines project or the massive project that had been proposed for 4th/5th & Arizona, where the annual ICE event takes place. 

We share their concerns expressed here, in their letter to you, the residents, and the developer and their design team, regarding the massive project proposed for the Gelson’s site at Ocean Park Blvd. and Lincoln Blvd.  We ask you to support them by sending an email to info@smclc.net with your name.  Stay informed.

February 19, 2024

Dear Santa Monican,

As many of you know, Cypress Equity is proposing a massive project comprised of 12 buildings, up to 6 stories, and 521 apartments on the Gelson’s site at Ocean Park and Lincoln Boulevards, an intersection the City has already identified as “failing.”

Recent state laws have gutted a local community’s ability to influence new developments, many of which will radically change the density and scale of our neighborhoods and dramatically increase traffic.

We’d like to address our concerns directly to Cypress Equity with a full-page open letter in local newspapers in an effort to engage this so far unresponsive developer. 

Please read the below letter, and if you agree, go to info@smclc.net to tell us we may add your name as a co-signer.

And if you’d like to make a donation to help defray the cost of publishing our open letter, that would also be welcome. 

Thanks!

Diana Gordon for SMCLC

Projects Get Better When Developers Listen to the Community

To: Cypress Equity, Michael Sorochinsky (CEO), Alla Sorochinsky (CFO),

Bruce Fairty (COO), Jason Bohle (Senior VP Development)

From: The Santa Monica Community

Dear Cypress Equity Management Team,

As you know, recent state law has severely limited local input on development decisions. Your proposed project at Lincoln and Ocean Park Boulevards, the Gelson’s site, is an example of what happens when a city and its residents are locked out of the planning process: a poorly conceived, out-of-scale design that has created ill will in the community.

Your plan for this already gridlocked intersection is over one-and-a-quarter times the square footage of the Santa Monica Place Mall on a site less than half its size. Yet no consideration has been given to massing, impacts on traffic, water, or any infrastructure, and, so far, no modifications have been made based on any community concerns.

We’re not against growth. We’re against badly planned, catastrophic growth that overwhelms a neighborhood and harms the people who live there.

You have over a dozen more projects you hope to develop in our city. We urge you to be responsible corporate citizens, listen to residents, and do the following:

Reduce your project’s “density bonus” from 50% to 25% (130 fewer units) OR reduce all building heights to no more than four stories.

This would help the community by lessening traffic impacts and massing, and help you by lowering construction costs and reducing future vacancy rates—a win for everyone.

Let’s talk. Contact us at info@smclc.net.

Please forward this letter to your friends and neighbors to sign up for updates and join in our efforts.

SMa.r.t. thanks SMCLC for their continuing efforts to protect and enhance the livability and environment of Santa Monica for its residents, new and old, and for all those who come to visit and work and enjoy our beachfront community.

SMa.r.t.

Send comments to santamonicasmart@gmail.com

Santa Monica Architects for a Responsible Tomorrow

Robert H. Taylor AIA, Architect; Dan Jansenson, Architect & Building and Fire-Life Safety Commission; Thane Roberts, Architect; Mario Fonda-Bonardi AIA, Architect; Samuel Tolkin Architect & Planning Commissioner; Michael Jolly, AIR-CRE; Marie Standing; Jack Hillbrand AIA, Architect 

For previous articles, see www.santamonicaarch.wordpress.com/writing

in Opinion
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