M I N U T E S
REGULAR MEETING OF THE
OF THE CITY OF SANTA MONICA
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 15, 1999
CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS
ROOM 213, CITY HALL
1. CALL TO ORDER: The meeting was called to order at 7:12 p.m.
2. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE: Commissioner Clarke led the Pledge of Allegiance.
3. ROLL CALL:
Kenneth Breisch, Chairperson
Eric Charles Parlee
John S. Zinner
Laura Beck, AICP, Associate Planner
Kyle Ferstead, Commission Secretary
Paul Foley, Associate Planner
Suzanne Frick, Director of Planning/PCD
Karen Ginsberg, Assistant to Director of Community & Cultural ServiceDepartment
Susan Healy Keene, Acting Senior Planner
Kevin McKeown, City Council Liaison
Jean M. Moore, AICP, Associate Planner
Barry Rosenbaum, Senior Land Use Attorney
Amanda Schachter, Principal Planner
Jay M. Trevino, AICP, Planning Manager
4. PLANNING DIRECTOR'S REPORT:
Ms. Frick gave the Director's Report. Ms. Frick announced that the City Council has given the Game Arcades an approval to remain open until 2:00 a.m., however all new like uses will only be allowed to be open until midnight. She also announced that the City Council will rehear the Auto Repair Text Amendment on January 18, 2000. The Commission's forth coming meetings will be on January 5, January 19 and February 2, 2000.
Commissioner Parlee asked about the progress on the Master Environmental Assessment (MEA) document. Ms. Schachter stated it is scheduled to come to the Commission in March 2000. Commissioner Parlee asked why this document has been delayed. Ms. Schachter stated that there had been a delay in receiving traffic counts due to changes to the downtown area traffic circulation.
5. STATEMENTS OF OFFICIAL ACTION: Consent Calendar
5-A. Conditional Use Permit 99-012, Vesting Tentative Tract Map 52875,
1513 Ninth Street
One member of the public, Chuck Allord, 1543 Tenth Street, addressed the Commission regarding the Statement of Official Action. Commissioner Kanny made a motion to approve the Statement of Official Action as submitted. Commissioner Parlee seconded the motion, which was approved by voice vote.
5-B. Conditional Use Permit 99-015, TM 99-008, 639 Pacific Street
5-C. Appeal of ARB 99-218, 1733 Ocean Avenue
Commissioner Kanny made a motion to approve the Statements of Official Action for 639 Pacific Street and 1733 Ocean Avenue as submitted. Commissioner Olsen seconded the motion, which was approved by voice vote. Chair Breisch abstained on Pacific Street and Commissioner Zinner abstained on Ocean Avenue.
6. PUBLIC HEARINGS: Continued from November 3, 1999
Commissioner Zinner made a motion to move items 7-A and 7-B forward on the agenda. Commission Parlee seconded the motion, which was approved by voice vote.
6-A. Development Review Permit 99-002, Conditional Use Permit 99-016, and Tentative Tract Map 52681, 401 Montana Avenue; Application for a Development Review Permit, Conditional Use Permit and Tentative Tract Map 52681 (TM99-009) to allow the construction of a three-story, 26,279 square foot, nine-unit condominium development with twenty-one subterranean parking spaces accessed from Montana Place North Alley. (Planner: Paul Foley) Applicant: Wilshire Pacific Equities; Owner: Frederick Dellagatta.
Following the staff report, the Commission asked questions of staff and the City's consultant, Leslie Heumann.
The applicant's representative, David Shuman, addressed the Commission.
The following members of the public addressed the Commission:
Edward Muzika, 1312 Harvard Street, Santa Monica 90404
Greg Lee, 415 Montana Avenue #107, Santa Monica 90403
Daniel Cotton, 2707 Eleventh Street, Santa Monica 90405
Kyle McKinnon, 415 Montana Avenue, Santa Monica 90403
Kathleen Masser, 125 Pacific Street, Santa Monica 90405
Chuck Allord, 1543 Tenth Street, Santa Monica 90401
Barbara Winebright, 415 Montana Avenue #308, Santa Monica 90403
Anita Phillips, 1530 Fifth Street, Santa Monica 90401
Jay Johnson, 601 Ninth Street, Santa Monica 90403
The applicant waived his rebuttal time.
Commissioner Clarke asked Mr. Shuman how many units were currently on the site. Mr. Shuman stated that there are 18 units, 15 of which are occupied.
Commissioner Clarke asked Mr. Shuman for the average monthly rent on a unit. Mr. Shuman stated that the rents averages between $900 - $1800 per month.
Commissioner Clarke asked Mr. Shuman if the proposed condominiums will be market rate. Mr. Shuman stated that he has not set prices yet for the new development.
Chair Breisch closed the public hearing.
Commissioner Clarke asked staff about the landmarks process. The City's consultant explained that there are two types of designation that could pertain to this property, one is a landmark designation and the other is a structure of merit. Ms. Frick read into the record the six criteria for a landmarks designation (Santa Monica Municipal Code Section 9.36.100).
Commissioner Clarke asked for an explanation of criteria #6, which reads:
(6) It has a unique location, a singular physical characteristic, or is an established and familiar visual feature of a neighborhood, community or the City.
The City's consultant explained criteria #6. Ms. Frick stated that both the Sovereign Hotel and Charmont Apartment were designated using criteria #6.
Commissioner Clarke asked which body, Planning Commission or the Landmarks Commission, would take the lead on designation. Ms. Frick stated that the Planning Commission would be the lead agency for the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) determination. The process would include making a determination and finding under CEQA guidelines and preparing an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on the impact of removal of a resource.
Commissioner Kanny asked if the Landmarks Commission will review the application. Ms. Schachter stated that the Landmarks Commission reviews all demolition permits for buildings over 50 years old, however such a permit has not been filed as of this date.
Chair Breisch asked if the Wilson Brothers were a significant area builder. The City's consultant stated that they did a lot of work in the area.
Chair Breisch commented that at the previous public hearing on this property, many members of the public spoke passionately about the building and its impact on the neighborhood. The City's consultant stated that this would fall under criteria #6 as an established and familiar visual feature.
Chair Breisch asked the consultant about criteria #2 ["It has aesthetic or artistic interest or value, or other noteworthy interest or value."]. The City's consultant stated that this criteria is often used for the National Register.
Commissioner Kanny asked for information regarding the triggering of the CEQA process. He also commented that the property is not listed on the current historic inventory for the City. Ms. Frick explained that the Commission could determine that the building is eligible for the inventory per the cited criteria.
Commissioner Kanny asked Ms. Frick what kind of criteria is needed. Ms. Frick stated that there needs to be a link to at least one of the six criteria cited in the Code, and explain why it is an historic resource per CEQA. Senior Land Use Attorney Rosenbaum stated that the finding must be supported with evidence.
Chair Breisch asked what would happen if enough evidence is not found. Ms. Frick stated that the determination must be made for permit streamlining requirement, as an extension was granted for further research already. Chair Breisch commented that the Commission's direction could still be overturned by CEQA. Ms. Frick agreed that analysis can conclude that 401 Montana Avenue does not have a significant impact and therefore no mitigation is necessary. Senior Land Use Attorney Rosenbaum stated that first there would be the determination as to whether the property is an historic resource, and whether, as determined by analysis, the historic resource has an impact, which it may not have, and finally whether it would be categorically exempt under CEQA.
Chair Breisch commented that 401 Montana Avenue is a post-war era building. Ms. Heumann cited page five of her report which discusses the problems with identifying criteria for post-war era buildings. Senior Land Use Attorney Rosenbaum commented on "historic resource" criteria, which could be applicable under the fourth guideline in the CEQA guidelines. To paraphrase, the fourth guideline states that any building or structure that the lead agency determines to be historically significant is a historic resource and that determination has to be based on substantial evidence in light of the whole record.
Commissioner Olsen commented on the analysis already presented in the staff report. He stated that two criteria struck him as valid: criteria #2, "noteworthy interest or value." He stated that the property clearly has noteworthy value and aesthetic value. The second criteria that leaped out to him was criteria #6 "a unique location, a singular physical characteristic or is an established and familiar visual feature of a neighborhood. Commissioner Olsen stated that for all of Montana Avenue, this particular building immediately comes to mind as a familiar visual feature of the neighborhood. He stated that the current site clearly qualifies under these two criteria for him. He then cited Landmark or Historic District designation criteria (Section 9.36.100) subsections (a), (2) and (6). He stated that the findings can be, and should be, made.
Based on his previous comments, Commissioner Olsen made a motion to begin the CEQA process for 401 Montana Avenue.
Commissioner Clarke seconded the motion. Under criteria #6, Commissioner Clarke also cited the "unique location, a singular physical characteristic," because of the way the building is sited on the property and the large landscaped area. He stated that he views this as a "gateway to Montana Avenue." He also cited the aesthetics criteria. Lastly, he cited criteria #1, which reads:
(1) It exemplifies, symbolizes, or manifests elements of a cultural, social, economic, political or architectural history of the City.
Commissioner Clarke stated that 401 Montana Avenue is a post-war apartment building and that many buildings of that era have been torn down.
Commissioner Zinner expressed agreement with Commissioner Olsen's sentiments and motion. He commented that the staff report left little room to make findings, however "Professor Breisch" has made good points about the merit of the structure. He also commented on the possible historic interest about the building, but also that it is "joy to see" the building as one drives along Montana Avenue and that it is important to the Commission. He expressed support for the motion.
Commissioner Kanny commented that this has been "an incredibly difficult journey for me." He noted that the staff report seemed to make the Commission's decision iron-clad, however the current discussion has shown he could make criteria findings #2 and #6. He stated that he would have preferred that the Landmarks Commission were dealing with this, however he stated he is comfortable with the motion and findings and that he would support the motion.
Commissioner Parlee agreed with Commissioner Kanny that this is a difficult issue. He expressed support for going through the process. He commented that the City also needs to develop a better program for dealing with the small elderly population that is being affected by this proposed project. As to the designation criteria, Commissioner Parlee felt he could definately make two of the findings. He expressed sympathy for the developer and his project, however the building on the site is well known and should be preserved. He then stated he would support the motion.
Chair Breisch expressed his support for the motion. He commented that he initially had concerns for the current, elderly residents of the building, as well as the historic aspects of the site. He stated his opinion that the building is very significant as a post-war era building. He commented on the post-war era as a time of optimism. He also commented on the Colonial Revival style of the building, which he felt was the best example in the area. Chair Breisch stated that, in his opinion, the site meets criteria #1, #2 and #6; and may meet another criteria if the Wilson Brothers are connected with other significant projects.
Ms. Frick asked if the motion includes that 401 Montana Avenue is a historic resource for CEQA per findings and that more CEQA review is required prior to project approval. Commissioners Olsen and Clarke agreed this would be part of the motion. Commissioner Olsen also asked for clarity regarding the residents (tenants) issue and reiterated that the disposition of the current tenants is not part of the actual motion. Senior Land Use Attorney Rosenbaum stated for the record that staff had determined that the project is categorically exempt under CEQA, however such an exemption is not allowed if the project would cause substantial adverse change in the significance of an historic resource. He stated that the focus should be on whether the current structure is an historic resource and whether the demolition of the structure would have an adverse impact.
Commissioner Olsen stated that the structure should remain on historic resource merit and should not be exempt.
Commissioner Zinner asked staff when this item is likely to return to the Commission. Ms. Frick stated that it will be approximately six months.
Commissioner Zinner asked staff if the property owner can still "ellis" the building during the CEQA review process. Ms. Frick answered in the affirmative.
The motion was approved by the following vote:
AYES: Breisch, Clarke, Kanny, Olsen, Parlee, Zinner.
ACTION: Determination that the existing building and site at 401 Montana Avenue is a Historic Resource under CEQA and therefore requires further analysis in an Environmental Impact Report.
[The Commission took a break from 9:02 p.m. to 9:16 p.m.]
6-B. Appeal 99-015 of Architectural Review Board Approval 99-235, 1230 Montana Avenue. Appeal of Architectural Review Board approval of building design, colors and materials for a two-story mixed-use building.
Appellant: Kevin McKeown for the Wilshire/Montana Neighborhood Assoc. Applicant: Prats Coffee Architects Inc. Property Owner: Hollywood Arts Center, Ltd. [CONTINUED FROM NOVEMBER 17, 1999.]
CONTINUED TO JANUARY 19, 2000.
7. PUBLIC HEARING: Consent Calendar
7-A. Resolution of Intention to amend the Official Districting Map of the City of Santa Monica to apply a DP (Designated Parks) zoning designation to portions of the beach including "Muscle Beach" and "Chess Park." (Planner: Laura Beck)
Commissioner Kanny made a motion to approve the Resolution of Intention on the Consent Calendar. Commissioner Parlee seconded the motion, which was approved by voice vote.
7-B. Conditional Use Permit 99-036, 1657 & 1669 Twelfth Street, M1 (Industrial Conservation District), Application for Conditional Use Permit 99-036 to permit the expansion of an existing 11,310 square foot gymnastic school into an adjacent 3,518 square foot vacant suite located within an existing 14,828 square foot building. The expansion requires seven parking spaces, which are all provided on-site. The hours of operation are Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. - 8:30 p.m. and Saturday 8:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. (Planner: Art Bashmakian) Applicant: Broadway Gymnastic School.
Commissioner Parlee made a motion to approve CUP 99-036 on the Consent Calendar. Commissioner Zinner seconded the motion, which was approved by voice vote.
8. PUBLIC HEARINGS:
8-A. Development Review Permit 99-004, Conditional Use Permit 99-017 and Vesting Tentative Tract Map 52849, 934-938 Lincoln Boulevard, NW-R2 (Low Density Multifamily Residential) North of Wilshire Overlay District. Application for Development Review 99-004, Conditional Use Permit 99-017 and Vesting Tentative Tract Map 52849 to permit the construction of a 2 story, plus mezzanine level, 9-unit 16,110 square foot condominium. The proposed condominium project will have 20 parking spaces in a semi-subterranean parking garage with access from 7th Court Alley. (Planner: Bruce Leach)
Applicant: William Dale Brantley, Project Architect.
Following the staff report, the applicant, William Dale Brantley, was present to discuss the project.
The following members of the public addressed the Commission:
Rochelle Fanali, 930 Lincoln Boulevard, Santa Monica 90403
Jay Johnson, 910 Alta Avenue, Santa Monica 90402
Mr. Brantley spoke in rebuttal to the public comment.
Commissioner Clarke asked about the proposed setbacks and whether the hedge could be retained during construction. M. Brantley explained the setbacks and stated that they will try to protect the hedge during construction.
Commissioner Olsen asked if the current house at 938 Lincoln Boulevard has the potential for being part of a historic district. Ms. Schachter stated that this property was cited on the City's Historic Inventory, however the Landmarks Commission determined that there are a sufficient number of buildings left to establish an historic district. The Landmarks Commission, therefore, decided to allow demolition of this house.
Commissioner Clarke asked about the proposed materials for the project. Ms. Schachter stated that this is an Architectural Review Board (ARB) issue. Commissioner Clarke expressed the opinion that building materials are an urban design issue.
Chair Breisch closed the public hearing.
Commissioner Zinner complimented Mr. Brantley on the proposed massing of the building, which is sensitive to the neighbors and addresses their concerns. He stated that the design is very creative and different.
Commissioner Parlee expressed agreement with Commissioner Zinner's comments. He praised the articulation of the proposed project, especially as it will appear to be a series of structures. He stated that he likes the courtyard and the preservation of light and air.
Commissioner Parlee made a motion to approve Development Review Permit 99-004, Conditional Use Permit 99-017 and Vesting Tentative Tract Map 52849, with staff conditions and with the following additional conditions: that the CC and R's state that there be no umbrella tables allowed on the roof decks, that ARB ensure the roof decks placement and design be sensitive to adjacent neighbors, and that the ARB ensure that sufficient green planting be provided along the north elevation to provide privacy and buffering between the project and adjacent building.
Commissioner Zinner seconded the motion.
Commissioner Kanny asked that a condition be added that the hedge on the north side be maintained if at all possible. Commissioners Parlee and Zinner agreed and added that it should be replaced if it can not be retained.
Ms. Frick asked the Commission if they have any direction on the south side of the property. Commissioner Parlee stated that the landscaping on the south side should be of the same type and size, thereby ensuring privacy for the neighbors.
The Commission also requested a condition that, prior to demolition, the applicant shall create a photo documentation of the existing structure, interior and exterior, and that this photo documentation shall be of sufficient quality to identify architectural features, materials and colors. The photo documentation (2 sets total) shall be submitted to the City Planning Division and the Santa Monica Public Library. Additionally, the Commission added conditions regarding ARB review of the height, massing, materials for the perimeter walls and landscaping to ensure project compatibility with surrounding buildings.
Commissioner Clarke commented favorably on the overall project. He again raised concern about the proposed materials, which he felt might appear too industrial. He asked about providing a construction mitigation condition. Ms. Frick stated that there is a standard construction mitigation condition. Chair Breisch stated that this would be sufficient.
The motion was approved by the following vote:
AYES: Breisch, Clarke, Kanny, Parlee, Zinner; NOES: Olsen.
8-B. Conditional Use Permit 99-032, 3020 Santa Monica Boulevard, C4 (Highway Commercial) District; Application for a Conditional Use Permit to permit the expansion of an existing automobile dealership by more than 5,000 square feet. Proposed is the construction of a two-story, 9,445 square foot addition for offices and a showroom and a one-story, 551 square foot parts building. The project will include 24 at grade parking spaces and a 41 space subterranean parking garage accessed from Santa Monica Place South. (Planner: Jean M. Moore). Applicant: Herb Katz, RTK Architects.
Commissioner Parlee made a motion to continue this item to January 19, 2000. Commissioner Kanny seconded the motion, which was approved by voice vote.
CONTINUED TO JANUARY 19, 2000.
9-A. Discussion and Comments on the Recommended Concept Design for the Virginia Avenue Park Expansion Project. (Staff: Karen Ginsberg, Assistant Director of Community & Cultural Services Department)
[Note: This item was heard out of order.]
Ms. Ginsberg made opening remarks about the expansion project, then turned the presentation over to Bob Takata of the design team.
Two members of the public addressed the Commission:
Emilia Ramirez, 1919 Cloverfield #2, Santa Monica 90404
Peter Tigler, 2019 Twenty-First Street, Santa Monica 90404
The Commission commented favorably on the overall project. Concerns raised included the size and use of the proposed swimming pool, and the materials to be used for the dual use parking area for the continuing Farmer's Market. Ms. Frick stated that concerns regarding the Farmer's Market can be raised when their CUP returns for amendment.
Commissioner Kanny made a motion to recommend approval of the conceptual design.
Chair Breisch commented that it was a pleasure being a part of the Virginia Avenue Advisory Committee and Working Group.
9-B. Set Date for ARB Appeal Hearing for 1746 Ocean Avenue [Le Merigot Hotel Awnings]
Commissioner Zinner made a motion to set the hearing date for January 19, 2000. Commissioner Parlee seconded the motion, which was approved by voice vote.
ACTION: DATE SET FOR JANUARY 19, 2000.
10. FUTURE COMMISSION AGENDA ITEMS: None.
11. PUBLIC INPUT: None.
12. ADJOURNMENT: The meeting was adjourned at 10:58 p.m.
APPROVED: FEBRUARY 16, 2000