M I N U T E S
REGULAR MEETING OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION
OF THE CITY OF
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2007 CITY COUNCIL CHAMBER
7:00 P.M. ROOM 213, CITY HALL
1. CALL TO ORDER: The meeting was called to order at 7:14 p.m.
2. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE: Commissioner Dad led the Pledge of Allegiance.
3. ROLL CALL: Present:
Julie Lopez Dad
Jay P. Johnson
Hank Koning, FAIA
Absent: Barbara Brown
Also Present: Elizabeth Bar-El, AICP, Senior Planner
Stuart Cooley, Energy Efficiency Engineer at EPWM Environmental Programs Energy & Green Buildings, Environmental & Public Works Management Department
Kyle Ferstead, Commission Secretary
Peter James, Associate Planner
Jonathan Lait, AICP, Principal Planner
Kevin McKeown, City Council Liaison
Travis Page, Assistant Planner
Barry Rosenbaum, Senior Land Use Attorney
4. PLANNING DIRECTOR’S REPORT:
Ms. Fogarty gave the Director’s Report. Ms. Fogarty reported that the Land Use and Circulation Element (LUCE) principles would be heard by the City Council on June 26, 2007. She also reported that the principles report was presented to the Architectural Review Board (ARB) on Monday, June 4, 2007 and will be presented to this Commission for discussion later in this agenda. She announced tentative July dates for a workshop in the industrial districts and requested the presence of Commissioners. She commented that she is trying to arrange for the workshops to be televised. Lastly, she reported that the Village Housing Project will be before the City Council on Tuesday, June 19, 2007.
Chair Pugh asked staff for upcoming Commission meeting dates. Ms. Schachter announced the forthcoming meeting dates as follows: June 20 (Development Review), July 18 (Development Review), August 1 (Policy Discussion) and August 15, 2007 (Development Review). There will be no Commission meeting on July 4, 2007 (Independence Day).
Commissioner Dad asked if this will be the last update on LUCE until August. Ms. Fogarty answered in the affirmative, but added that there will be the two work session in July.
5. PLANNING COMMISSIONER ANNOUNCEMENTS
Commissioner Clarke announced that
the Draft Environmental Impact Report for the proposed widening of the 405
Freeway through the
Chair Pugh asked the Commission to let staff know if summer vacation plans will involve missing a Commission meeting. He stated he would be absent from the June 20, 2007 meeting. Commissioner Johnson stated he would be absent on August 1, 2007.
6. APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Consent Calendar
6-A. April 4, 2007
Commissioner Dad made a motion to approve the minutes for April 4, 2007. Commission Koning seconded the motion, which was approved by voice vote.
6-B. May 2, 2007
Commissioner Johnson made a motion to approve the minutes for May 2, 2007. Commission Koning seconded the motion, which was approved by voice vote with Commissioner Dad abstaining.
7. STATEMENT OF OFFICIAL ACTION: None
8. FUTURE COMMISSION AGENDA ITEMS:
Chair Pugh stated that he has been speaking with the Chairperson of the Recreation and Parks Commission regarding making a presentation to the Commission. This is tentatively scheduled for August 1, 2007.
Commissioner Johnson asked staff if anything had been done regarding his suggestion last month to invite a representative from the Metropolitan Water Board to address the Commission. Ms. Schachter stated she would discuss this with Chair Pugh as it has been more successful obtaining speakers when a Commission member has made the contact.
Chair Pugh stated that the neighborhood groups should also be invited to send representatives to address the Commission.
Commissioner Koning suggested a discussion item regarding possible revisions to the Zoning Ordinance regarding sustainability features, such as permitting solar panels on roofs. Chair Pugh agreed and asked staff how this should be approached. Mr. Lait recommended this be part of a later discussion on this evening’s agenda.
9. PUBLIC HEARING: None.
10-A. June Newsletter of the Land Use and Circulation Element (LUCE) Update
Mr. James highlighted the articles in the June newsletter. He asked for comments.
Commissioner Johnson asked if there is a mailing list for the newsletter. Mr. James explained that there is an interest list of over 550 names used to distribute the newsletter via e-mail as well as sending copies out to municipal buildings and making copies available at various public counters in City Hall. Commissioner Johnson suggested adding pertinent names and contact information to public notice cards.
10-B. Update regarding the Exposition Light Rail Project
Mr. Lait distributed a report on the Exposition Light Rail Project.
Commissioner Clarke commented on upcoming meetings related to the proposed Exposition Light Rail Project.
One member of the public, Jerry Rubin, addressed the Commission regarding the importance of Light Rail.
10-C. Zoning Administrator Interpretation
Regarding Term Artist as Used in the City’s Artist Studio Definition (
Mr. Lait stated that this is essentially an information item which codifies the Commission’s action at the May 2, 2007 policy meeting.
11-A. Presentation and discussion regarding the Land Use and Circulation Element project, including but not limited to, discussion related to project history, public input, upcoming planning efforts, project schedule and future action. The Planning Commission will also consider making a recommendation to the City Council to endorse Principles derived from the recent Placemaking and Neighborhood Conservation public workshops.
and Community Development Director
Clarke thanked Ms. Fogarty for her presentation, which he commented he had also
seen at Monday night’s Architectural Review Board (ARB) meeting. He commented
on a recent drive he took through Marina Del Rey where warehouse buildings are
being converted into residential housing and lacks a sense of community. He
noted that those units will be totally dependent on automobiles as are most
high density housing areas in
One member of the public, attorney Chris Harding, addressed the Commission on concerns regarding economic analysis for the LUCE update.
Commissioner Clarke thanked Mr. Harding for coming and speaking to the Commission and commented on his letter regarding the issue of the jobs/housing balance in the City. Mr. Harding stated that the housing gap needs to be closed. He also stated the need for more small scale, garden-type office building, such as the one his firm resides in. He noted that under the current regulations, an office building such as his could not be built. Commissioner Clarke commented that the new downtown housing projects appear to have driven out small office uses. Mr. Harding stated that the City has promoted housing over retail in the downtown area.
Commissioner Dad commented on Mr. Harding’s letter and the need for data as types of uses, where they are located, what type of revenue they provide to the City, and the fiscal and social costs. Mr. Harding offered an example of a new hotel development as part of the General Plan update and consideration being given to what types of hotels and their placement for the next twenty years. He noted that currently smaller hotels are working better, but what are the expectations as regards economic feasibility. Another area to consider is the health care industry and their needs over the next twenty years. Commissioner Dad cited the areas addressed by Mr. Harding and stated that Commission needs to understand where growth happens and how it happens. Mr. Harding agreed and stated that the City is basically built-out, so one needs to define the possibilities for developers. Commissioner Dad commented that Mr. Harding was part of the 1984 General Plan Update process and asked him to comment on how that plan was realized in the City. Mr. Harding stated that the 1984 process was developed with economics in mind, however too much office space was built in the commercial corridor. He also stated that the 1984 General Plan had benchmarks one could measure and it was a healthy process.
Commissioner Clarke asked Ms. Fogarty if she had comments on Mr. Harding’s letter. Ms. Fogarty stated that she does not disagree with most of his comments and that analysis needs to be done.
Dad asked Ms. Fogarty about the budget for completing the LUCE update. Ms.
Fogarty stated that the budget is divided into sections and half the budget is
still available to finish the draft LUCE, Zoning Ordinance, Environmental
Impact Report (EIR) and Transportation analysis. She also stated that she has
asked the City Manager for additional funding ($275,000) to cover the work
session. Commissioner Dad asked what has happened to the City’s consultants for
the update. Ms. Fogarty stated that the consultants, Dyett and Bhatia, will
prepare the General Plan, however it was her decision not to follow the larger
growth alternatives as they are not appropriate for
Chair Pugh commented on the changes the City Council adopted last year for the multi-family residential areas of the City. He stated that developments the Commission is currently seeing have been in the development process for couple of years and that few applications are being submitted since those changes. He commented that the development of the placemaking principles, economics and other areas must be looked at with a holistic approach. He asked Ms. Fogarty how this is being integrated with transportation, work-force and affordable housing, sustainability, the various interest groups and other Elements of the General Plan. Ms. Fogarty explained the approach was to look at neighborhoods and come up with principles. The next step was to look at boulevards and see what people expect for those areas, which is where the process is now. She stated that the next step, looking at the industrial area, will include economic analysis, as funding permits, and looking at such issues as incentives for workforce housing. She also spoke about the coming of Light Rail and how to plan for uses adjacent to that area. Ms. Fogarty stated that procedurally, the Housing Element is moving forward and staff is looking at the aspects that need to be achieved in relation to what staff is hearing from the community. She commented that such areas as Open Space have not be talked about much and there are new areas to consider like the City’s new Creative Capital Plan. She stated that all these concepts need to be woven together.
Johnson expressed agreement on Ms. Fogarty’s analysis of consideration of a moratorium
for the industrial area. He commented that it will be at least another year
before the LUCE is completed and suggested a master plan be developed for the
industrial area. He stated that the principles should be forwarded to the City
Council. He wanted to make sure that for part A-Residential Principles, pocket
parks were included as they were discussed at the workshops he attended and
have been the subject of missed opportunities in the North of Montana Area. Ms.
Fogarty responded that language can be added for pocket parks, perhaps
integrating it into one of the existing principles. Commissioner Johnson
commented on Principle A-7 regarding building facades and corner properties.
Ms. Fogarty stated that, assuming the Council gives direction to proceed, these
principles will be fleshed out and such issues will be articulated.
Commissioner Johnson commented on Principle F-3 on the pie chart, which has the
lowest rating of all the princples, specifically his concern about building
Commissioner Dad expressed agreement with Commissioner Johnson’s comments about character of locations.
Commissioner Koning commented that regulations must reflect which uses are to be encouraged in order to benefit the City. He suggested the use of trade-offs such as adding height to a project in exchange for amenities and how it could be a benefit. He stated that these are basically economic issues.
Chair Pugh announced that two additional request to speak forms have been submitted and asked the Commission if they wanted to hear from these members of the public. There was consensus to hear from the public.
The following members of the public addressed the Commission: Dennis Allard and Katherine Eldridge.
Clarke asked Ms. Fogarty if the slide showing paseos and plazas was a
principle. Ms. Fogarty stated that the slide is illustrative of appropriate
ways to design for pedestrian orientation and activity, but is not
proscriptive. Commissioner Clarke asked for more comment. Ms. Fogarty explained
that designing plazas and paseos into projects on boulevards supports Principle
F-3 and gets to the intent of developing gathering places, expressed in
Principle B-4. She stated that this process begins with general principles and
then specifics will be identified. Chair Pugh commented that adding diagrams to
the City Council report would be helpful for enhancing the concepts.
Commissioner Clarke stated he would like paseos and plazas to be specified
under one of the principles. He then commented on A-5, which cites features
facing the side yard. Ms. Fogarty stated this is an error and should read
“front yard.” Commissioner Clarke commented that one of his first projects on
the Commission was the
Commissioner Koning commented that there is no reference to either pocket parks or open space in the principles. Ms. Fogarty stated that at the placemaking workshops there was great detail given about gathering places, including pocket parks. She stated that pocket parks can be cited specifically as part of another principle. Commissioner Koning commented on connectivity and how the freeway blocks access to the high school for bicycle riders. Commissioner Clarke commented that the Village Housing Project discussion also raised the issue of bicycle connectivity.
Johnson commented on the need for a view preservation ordinance for the hill
Commissioner Dad commented on a Principle C-5 regarding allowing office uses on upper levels of buildings and on side street. She asked if this type of use could be considered for ground floor placement for certain reasons. Ms. Fogarty stated that the intention of the principles is to replace absolute regulations with common sense and discretion. Commissioner Dad asked about Principle F-7, regarding encouraging buildings to abut the sidewalk to make them engaging to pedestrians. She agreed this should be done, but noted that adding landscaping is also good. Ms. Fogarty agreed, noting that the community wants relief by means such as landscaping, public art, fountains and other elements. Commissioner Dad commented on Principle D-2, mixed-use projects and potential conflicts for residents. Ms. Fogarty stated that an example of a conflict would be a mixed-use building with a noisy night club or restaurant with strong odors on the ground floor and residents above. Such potential issues need to be considered as a project is evaluated. Commissioner Dad asked about Principle E-6, which deals with off-street parking location, stating that above grade parking structures should be not be encouraged. Ms. Fogarty suggesting the wording “if in above ground structures” to the language.
Commissioner Clarke made a motion that the Planning Commission recommends adoption by the City Council of this set of principles as amended. The amendment highlights include: adding the term “sociability;” supporting more economic analysis; all F-3 additions, i.e. paseos and plazas, pocket parks, light and air (section diagram that shows sun angles and step-downs), a variety of street walls with landscaping, and sensitivity to views. He also reiterated what the Commission does not want: suburban development with parking in front; and specified build-to-line to sidewalk. Also, the correction on A-5; the noise and odors issue on D-2, and a concern with traffic noise for mixed-use buildings.
Commissioner Koning seconded the motion and stated it is a great step forward.
Chair Pugh asked for a vote. The Commission unanimously favored the motion.
Commissioner Johnson asked about adding a call for a moratorium in the LMSD, as previously brought up. Senior Land Use Attorney Rosenbaum stated that this would be need to be agendized for discussion.
[The Commission took a break from approximately 9:50 p.m. to 10:04 p.m. Chair Pugh left the meeting during this time frame. Commissioner Johnson acted as Chair for the balance of the meeting.]
11-B. Discussion regarding solar panel systems and opportunities for in-home solar evaluation, financial incentives and upcoming workshops to learn more about solar power systems. (Requested by Commissioner Dad on May 31, 2007.)
Commissioner Johnson assumed the Chair and reconvened the meeting. Commissioner Dad introduced this discussion item, the subject of which was brought to her attention by Vice-Chair O’Day who could not be present at this meeting.
Stuart Cooley, Energy Efficiency Engineer for Environmental Programs Energy & Green Buildings Division in the Environmental and Public Works Department, gave a presentation on the City’s Solar Santa Monica program.
Commissioner Dad commented on an earlier discussion about view preservation and that an aspect could be to not block roof tops so solar energy can be utilized. Mr. Cooley stated the term is “solar access” which the Commission may want to adopt for the Code update. He also stated that certain types of installations may block a neighbor’s ability to have solar access and explained that a minimum of four hours of solar collection is needed. Commissioner Dad asked if Solar Santa Monica is putting interested residents together for cost savings. Mr. Cooley stated that the City’s program offers vendors who have competed for giving the City program the best possible price on their services. He also stated that at the end of December, a new Request for Proposal will go out to vendors to re-bid their services.
Commissioner Johnson asked for the current costs. Mr. Cooley stated that the current cost is approximately $9.80 per watt or $6.86 per AC watt.
Commissioner Dad asked how people find out about this program. Mr. Cooley stated that residents learn about this program through City mailings, the City’s website, events such as Alt-Build, and by word of mouth. Commissioner Dad asked how renter could participate and if the Rent Control Administrative has knowledge of this issue. Mr. Cooley stated he would contract Rent Control Administration.
Commissioner Johnson asked about tankless water heaters and how they would work for a multi-tenant building. Mr. Cooley stated that nothing precludes their use and other systems, such as solar-thermal and on-demand water heating are options. Commissioner Johnson commented on negative experiences people have had with the tankless water heaters.
Commissioner Koning commented on the
issue of “net metering” and multi-family buildings. Mr. Cooley stated that he
is working on the long-term vision and hopes to work with the Village Housing
Project. He commented that he believes the Related Group is working with the
Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and the Gas Company on incentives for that
project and it is hoped it will be a model for future developments. He stated
he is looking for a “win-win” situation. Commissioner Koning commented on a
recent article in the New York Times
regarding green buildings and concept called “rent-a-roof,” which basically
involves renting roofs to the power companies in return for electricity. Mr.
Cooley responded that he was unaware of that, however there is a similar
Commissioner Clarke commented that
he had visited the Solar Santa Monica storefront,
Commissioner Dad thanked Mr. Cooley for his presentation.
11-C. Discussion and possible recommendation to the City Council to direct City staff to prepare an amendment to the City’s Zoning Ordinance to reinstate the Design Compatibility Permit application and process for residential condominium developments. (Requested by Commissioner Dad). [Continued from March 7, 2007]
Commissioner Dad asked that this discussion item be dropped for the present. She stated she would like to discuss a moratorium proposal received the neighborhood groups.
11-D Input, discussion and possible action on policies, process, materials, timeline, participation strategies and related issues pertaining to the Shape the Future 2025 and Motion by the Ocean projects.
Commissioner Johnson asked for a
future discussion item on the City of
Commissioner O’Day asked for a
future discussion item on
Chair Pugh asked staff for help with contacting community groups such as Friends of Sunset Park, for the purpose of them presenting their concerns to the Commission regarding the Land Use and Circulation Element update.
Commissioner Dad commented that water will be an important issue for the region and suggested inviting Judy Abdo to speak about water resources. Commissioner Johnson seconded the request and suggested also inviting Tim Brick, Metropolitan Water District’s Board Chair.
12. PUBLIC INPUT: None.
13. ADJOURNMENT: The meeting was adjourned at 11:01 p.m.
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