The Pico Neighborhood has a history of being buffeted and changed by City planners and developers. Discrimination, market pressures, and city government decisions have all had a profound effect on the stability of the neighborhood. In addition to the tremendous impact the freeway had on the neighborhood, the City continues to propose and approve development projects that set the stage for a deterioration of the quality of life for Pico Neighborhood residents. The Bergamot Transit Village Center development has not taken into account in it’s planning the impact of traffic, affordable housing, green space, adequate environmental review and relevant community benefits.
The PNA Board urges the Commission not to recommend that the City Council approve the development agreement, but rather to direct staff to tell the developer Hines to return to the Commission with the following:
1) Propose a reduced project – 765,000 sq ft is still much too big, and it creates significant traffic impacts that cannot be mitigated at 27 intersections according to the project’s Final EIR.
2) Write an EIR with accurate projections of the number of sq ft needed per employee, the total number of employees working in the buildings, the number of new daily car trips, and the resulting traffic impacts. There are egregious deficiencies in the DEIR that were evaded or ignored in the final EIR.
3) Provide additional affordable housing, per the Planning staff proposal. The developer must provide more affordable housing for low and extremely low-income residents to protect the diverse character of our neighborhood.
5) Achieve energy-efficient buildings with on-site renewable energy, per the Planning staff proposal.
6) Clarify what is “public open space” and what is “private open space” with in the development. The community deserves to have public and green space protected within the DA.
7) A jobs program with local hiring benchmarks should also be included as part of the DA. The Pico Neighborhood is home to the largest concentration of low income residents and we should do all we can to alleviate poverty in our City and create jobs that will provide our residents an opportunity to continue to live in Santa Monica.
Thank you for your time and consideration,
The PNA Board