PNA Board “Bergamot Transit Village Center” Letter of Opposition to City Council, January 27, 2014

PNA Board letter banner

To:       Santa Monica City Council

From:   Pico Neighborhood Association (PNA)

Date:   January 27, 2014

Re:       Bergamot Transit Village Center, DA 10-002, item 7A

The PNA OPPOSES the overall proposed development & the development agreement as proposed by the developer (Hines) and we feel that the developer can make significant improvements to the project & the community benefits being offered to offset the burden that the development will create for our residents, especially residents in close proximity to the development.

The development proposed will have a major impact on Pico Neighborhood residents. The Pico Neighborhood Association (PNA) board is the elected body representing more than 12,000 residents in the Pico Neighborhood encompassed by Pico Blvd, Colorado Ave. east of 20th St., Santa Monica Blvd. west of 20th St., Centinela Ave., and Lincoln Blvd.   The Pico Neighborhood is home to the City’s most ethnically, generational and economically diverse area in Santa Monica.
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 environmental and social impact the freeway had on the Pico 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 the impact of traffic, affordable housing, green space, adequate environmental review and relevant & adequate community benefits.

The PNA Board urges the Santa Monica City Council, not to approve the development project and development agreement, but rather send the proposed Hines project back to ensure that the project is reduced in size and that the community benefits offered in the DA actually benefit the community that will be most affected. We would appreciate being invited to discuss the community benefits with the staff and the developer to ensure genuine community benefits within the DA.

The LUCE promised to maintain our City’s character, protect our neighborhoods, manage our transportation system and encourage additional housing in a sustainable manner that ensures high quality of life for all Santa Monicans now and in the future. The LUCE also established minimum community standards for Developers and City officials to adhere to as development projects are presented and considered.  As it stands, the burdens created by the Bergamot Transit Village development project outweighs the “community benefits” that it’s proposing.  In fact, considering the size of the project the proposed benefits under the Bergamot Transit Village DA are woefully inadequate. As stated in the LUCE: “Benefits that merely meet or go slightly beyond standard requirements for all projects, such as TDM or Green Building requirements, would not qualify as community benefits.  Benefits that are for the immediate neighborhood should also be considered in addition to those that apply citywide”.  Yet, the developer Hines and City staff attempt to circumvent this section of the LUCE by including TDM and other EIR mitigations as community benefits. Below you will find a Community Benefits Chart that outlines the inadequate community benefits under the Bergamot Transit Village DA in relation to the LUCE.

Bergamot TV chart
* HR&A, “Estimates of Economic Impacts from Construction and Annual Operation of the Bergamot Transit Village Center”, 8/29/2013, pg. 2 ($282 million (2013 $) associated with business operations on site.

**Page 56 tries to value affordable housing in the most confusing way by assigning a value of $2.3Million to affordable housing and then also valuing the affordable housing commercial nexus fee at $2.1Million while on page 35 affordable housing is valued at $9.2Million.

***Page 35 of the staff report says $2Million to parks, yet page 56 says Parks Fee is $3Million.  It’s not clear if $2Million is in addition or instead of new Parks Fee.

Click here to view original PNA Board “Bergamot Transit Village Center” Letter of Opposition to City Council, January 27, 2014

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