This Thursday night, Sept. 19, the Santa Monica Northeast Homeowner’s Association will host a community meeting about the five-story development proposed for the Bank of America Site at 3032 Wilshire Blvd. (corner of Berkeley). The meeting will be held at Franklin Elementary School Cafetorium, 2400 Montana Ave. at 6:30 p.m.
The Association says Thursday night’s community meeting is residents’ best opportunity to have input into the proposed project.
The developer, Century West Partners, is proposing to build a 60-foot mixed-use building with 100 apartments (predominately studios and one-bedrooms) and “unbundled” parking.
The developer also proposes to change the zoning of an “A” lot (similar to the one behind the Montana Whole Foods) from residential to commercial.
The Northeast Homeowner’s Association says that East Wilshire should enhance the surrounding residential neighborhood, not degrade it. It calls the “blocky bank and office buildings” currently in the area “past mistakes not permitted under current zoning.”
The project currently being proposed is as follows:
- 5 Stories (60 ft), 81,125 total sq. ft. (12,000 commercial)
- 2.75 FAR, with no planned courtyards or ground floor green space.
- 100 residential units: 30 studio, 65 one-bedroom, 5 two-bedroom units
- 199 Parking spaces for both residential and commercial (all unbundled)
- 132 Bike spaces
The Association’s concerns include:
- The project is located on the southwest corner of Wilshire and Berkeley Street (BofA site). The vast majority of the 100 planned apartments will be studios or one-bedrooms, with very few units large enough for families with children.
- The developer is seeking to build to the maximum allowable envelope under the 2010 LUCE. The LUCE set the upper build envelope, however, the zoning sets the day-to-day standards and the zoning need not equal the LUCE maximums. Under the existing zoning code, the maximum height for a mixed-use project on Wilshire is 3 stories, not to exceed 45 feet, and, for a project of this size, the maximum FAR is 1.5. To be allowed to build to this height of 45 feet and 1.5 FAR, at least 25 percent of the units must be 3-bedrooms or larger, and at least 60 percent of the remaining units must be 2-bedrooms or larger.
- The developer - Century West Partners – also owns the Jerry’s Liquor property on the northwest corner of Wilshire & Stanford, and plans to eventually build another large mixed-use project on that site.
- No Environmental Impact Report (EIR) including either traffic or parking studies is required of this project because it falls within half a mile of Wilshire and Bundy, which the city considers to be a Major Transit intersection.
- The developer is seeking an exemption from performing an Environmental Impact report that would addresses potential adverse traffic and parking issues. Residents believe an EIR is needed since they have good reason to expect a project of this size will generate adverse traffic and parking problems. Negative impacts were revealed for a much smaller proposed project just one block away. Several years ago a proposed 30-unit development at 23rd and Wilshire Blvd. identified adverse traffic issues as far away as 1 mile.
- Spillover parking and traffic are key concerns of residents. These apartments will not have assigned parking and renters of these units will have to pay additional fees to rent unbundled spaces.
- No alley is currently planned to buffer existing residential housing to the south from the project.
- The board of Northeast Neighbors questions whether it is permissible for the developer to build the proposed project by combining two separately zoned lots when one is currently zoned residential.
Thursday night’s meeting is open to the public and all are encouraged to attend.