Letter: A Model for a More Livable Santa Monica

The city should require developers to provide scale models of their proposed projects.


I applaud the Fairmont Miramar Hotel for reaching out to the community in positive fashion. However, I would also strongly suggest that this becomes a “model project.”

That is to say that all developers seeking development agreements provide scale models of their proposal along with massing of adjacent buildings. This should even apply to development agreement proposals of 50 units or less which historically have negligible interior courtyards as open space.

This will also clearly show how high the central 21-story hotel and condo building is with its mechanical and decorative roof top structure relative to the adjacent 101 Wilshire office building and the Huntley Hotel.

I discussed this with the city's planning director David Martin a year ago who also felt this would be beneficial, but for whatever reason is not yet required.

Here’s hoping for a more transparent future in addition to a “model” for more liveable environments.

— Ron Goldman, FAIA, Santa Monica

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Dan Charney February 28, 2013 at 03:20 AM
"Really Scarlett, I don't give a damn" - the city council and planning dept
Susann February 28, 2013 at 06:00 AM
I think the real problem is parking. Many buildings find co-renters and guests, as well as employees of support services, searching for parking. The current regs require only a limited number of parking spaces for each building/room.
Wendy D February 28, 2013 at 10:54 PM
I agree the problem is and will be parking. Let's do some basic math: 280 hotel rooms (1 car per room) 120 luxury condos (2 cars per household is 240 cars) 40 low income units (1.5 car per unit is 60 cars) People who live/and are staying at the Miramar would need 580 spaces. The new Miramar will have 484 underground spaces. So they are starting at a deficit of 100 and going forward from there. This does not include any parking for people, who work at the hotel, the condos, the restaurants, the meeting spaces, the spas or the people, who are going to come to the Miramar to use the hotel or to visit their friends in the luxury condos. Where are all of these people going to park? The SM lots are already impacted. And the streets around the Miramar are filled already with workers and visitors to the 3rd Street Promenade.
Claudia Schafer March 01, 2013 at 03:33 AM
Amen to that - Dan. Anyone who seriously proposes such twaddle at this stage of destruction is either a shill for the CC, or living in a fool's paradise.
Claudia Schafer March 01, 2013 at 03:37 AM
While your points are very well-take, you have to realize that what the CC members and Planning Supes responsible for all this destruction hear only one thing....Ka Ching!! Other than that, all these heartfelt outpourings of reason sound like Charlie Brown's teacher to them (wa wa wa wa wa wa wa)
Gary Kavanagh March 01, 2013 at 05:35 PM
Wendy, where are you getting these numbers from? Many people travel and don't keep a car with them on their stay, and surveys have shown this to be very common in Santa Monica. I know personally I never rent a car for the duration of a hotel stay and then pay extra to keep it parked at the hotel. Not everyone with a condo has or wants 2 cars, and low income households are more likely than households with higher incomes to have no car at all.
Wendy D March 01, 2013 at 07:01 PM
Well, Gary, I am a marketing consultant by trade. The Miramar is high-end fancy hotel and people, who stay at fancy hotels generally rent cars. If you are concerned about spending $30 or $40 per night to park your car, you probably aren't the kind of guest that stays in the Miramar. So even if we decided that 1/2 of the low income units (20 cars instead of 60) would have cars there is still a HUGE shortage of parking. I live in Santa Monica in a condo and it is not a fancy million dollar condo like the luxury condos that the Miramar is going to have. Except for 2 elderly women and two single people, everyone has two cars. And about half of them only have one parking space and park their other car on the streets of Santa Monica. However you do the math Gary, there isn't enough parking for the number of people, who will be living, working at or visiting the Miramar.
Brenda Barnes March 03, 2013 at 11:56 PM
Gary K is a worshiper of anything other than cars and falls consistently for the doctrine that if you don't have parking, people will come without cars. I think the final real equilibrium from this nonsense--if we can't recall the SMCC b/4 they fully implement it and create constant gridlock of the sort that plagues the 10 at least eight hours a day and all of SM south of Montana 10-12 hours a day including weekends--is people will just start moving away and the word will have gotten out, so companies and people will stop moving here. If people could be "encouraged" to use bikes, walking, and public transit just by not having parking, why hasn't it happened already?
Brenda Barnes March 03, 2013 at 11:58 PM
Instead, an article about the seemingly unrelated question of where small tech startups should site their companies stated last week that SM has the "well-deserved reputation of being the traffic jam capital of the US."
Wendy D March 04, 2013 at 03:44 PM
The City Council should speak with Professor Donald Shoup. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVteHncimV0
Dan Charney March 05, 2013 at 12:34 AM
If you aren't being paid to write this - you should be- or run for something- I will vote for you gladly - you are always dead on and crack me up - you made my day- you should join us on the FB page- Recall Santa Monica City Council- it's the only way- as for all this "affordable housing" good luck- that is a complex one- and as for visiting tourists not renting cars? What a joke- they go to Disneyland, Universal- Hollywood- Malibu- there is not effective transit for them and many are used to it where they come from- other cities -especially in Europe have it- as for turning Santa Monica into the Urban Crawl for bikers and walkers- and creating density - who wants this besides the developers- the council and the silicon texting nerd 20-40 somethings? Who ever said they did ? Most of us long term dwellers- not the SB types who got here recently ( last ten years ) don't want it- we were fine without it- we liked our sleepy beach city- take your business parks and Urban Crawl and entitlement attitudes to Redondo Beach- we don't want it- and stop trying to tell us we shouldn't drive because you want everyone walking and on bikes- cars will be here- it won't stop- that argument is theoretical at best
Danielle Charney April 06, 2013 at 11:14 PM
Cars are not leaving- no matter what you do- the rich will always have them and isnt' that who all these new condos and apts are for? Certainly the few "affordable" units wont' make a difference in it- and most likely - they will have to take the bus anyway
Claudia Schafer April 06, 2013 at 11:48 PM
Thanks, Dannie - I just saw your post. Nope - not paid, but thanks for the props:-) And yes - I signed on to the Recall page. Only 16 likes? It'll take more than that to keep the Money Bags from blowing through this town like a damn Panzer Division.
Danielle Charney April 07, 2013 at 06:42 PM
Claudia- there are groups with women such as Ellen Brennen and Zina Josephs - and please join the Mike Feinstein FB page- I saw Dannie over there- also a good one to ask is John C Smith- he knows all the groups and is a good guy


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