One week after the Santa Monica Planning Commission
discussed and analyzed the draft Bergamot Area Plan, the discussion continues.
Commissioners resumed the Bergamot Area Plan discussion
at their Feb. 20 meeting in Council Chambers, with both city officials and
residents alike trying to shape and mold the document before its ultimate
Public input was originally scheduled to be part of the
commission’s Feb. 13 meeting, and a few speakers did approach the dais.
However, commissioners discussed the Plan for nearly six hours and the agenda
item was continued to this week’s meeting, where more public input was
The City staff presentation was actually split up into
two parts: a general overview of land use districts, development and street
standards, and design guidelines, followed by a more specific discussion on
circulation and parking, art and culture, and utility infrastructure.
The plan, which is 230-pages in length, aims to guide
future land use in Santa Monica and promote sustainable development. According
to City staff, the Bergamot Area Plan hopes to conserve 96 percent of Santa
Monica’s land area and focus land use changes to commercial and industrial land
in the municipality’s other four percent.
“In order for Santa Monica to achieve the goals for
sustainability and prosperity contained in the LUCE, areas such as the Bergamot
Plan area cannot merely change. They must be transformed so they function in a
completely different and much more sustainable way,” City staff stated.
Once complete, the plan will be a guiding document on how
Bergamot Station and the surrounding area would be redeveloped. A major
component of the new Bergamot Area: the first station for Expo Line riders
traveling into Santa Monica.
Beyond the Expo Line, the Bergamot Area Plan also
“provides policies and strategies to both conserve and shape the cultural,
economic, and urban design characteristics of this emerging area.”
City staff added the Bergamot Area would be a mixed-used
arts district where locals can live, play, and work.
“The Bergamot Plan area has been envisioned as a
‘complete neighborhood’ that will guide an eventual transition from a former
industrial zone to a well-designed, walkable urban place where people live,
work in primarily creative industries and have access to an array of retail
services and amenities by foot, bike, bus and train,” City staff stated.
Though the Bergamot Area Plan’s master design is to
create a “complete neighborhood,” commissioners honed in on what would indeed
make a neighborhood complete.
The diversity of housing units would be in the Bergamot
area was a key concern of commissioners.
To that point, Commissioner Jim Ries said the plan should
give priority to housing over jobs.
Other concerns included parking, traffic impacts, and
Council members are expected to finally vote on the
Bergamot Area Plan in the summer.
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