Saturday, September 3, 2016

Has Sierra Madre Become A Standard For Slow Growth In California?

Mod: It is nice to see Sierra Madre come up in the middle of conversations like the one below. Proof that the effects of Measure V are still being felt in this state. This comes to us from the Santa Monica Mirror.  Link here.

SMa.r.t. OpEd: A Sense of Place - In the mid-19th century, America’s West held the promise of cheap land and riches. In some ways, this myth still holds. Last year, Oregon and California had the fastest growing economies in the United States.

Much of the economic growth is concentrated along California’s coast and in the Los Angeles region. This rapid pace of change has caught our city planners off guard. As a result, we are witnessing the degradation of the built and natural environments. City officials have been slow to recognize the negative impacts from newly approved projects. Often they have been complicit in this “land grab” that has resulted in the profits of outside interests taking precedence over residents’ needs and concerns.

Encinitas, Yorba Linda, and Sierra Madre are among Southern California cities that have adopted tough land use ordinances that require voter approval on projects that are outside of their zoning codes. Over 104,000 Los Angeles voters have signed a petition for the proposed Neighborhood Integrity Initiative; it will be on the March 2017 municipal ballot. Throughout Southern California, residents are using voter initiatives to push back against the trend to overbuild in their communities.

Santa Monica residents have placed their own Land Use Voter Empowerment Initiative (Measure LV) on the November ballot. If passed, the initiative will cap development in the city to Tier 1, the “by right” (32 feet, or 36 feet with housing) height in the current code. Projects that meet the height will be summarily approved by the City’s planning department; projects that exceed the height would require voter approval. The initiative adjusts the approval process for development, it doesn’t do away with development altogether.

Our City Manager recently said: “A sense of place does not consist of buildings, but the spirit and uniqueness of the environment in which it exists.”

Santa Monica has natural barriers that define our unique 8.4 square miles. These same barriers protect our unique character. The question then remains, who should control what occurs within them?

As new planning codes are being rewritten, development agreements for non-conforming projects continue to be approved. These projects often strain our resources, our infrastructure, and increase traffic on our streets. These ongoing problems will be borne on the backs of citizens long after the developers have pocketed their profits and left town. The memories of the Santa Monica from earlier times will not be there for our children to enjoy.

So, how can we both preserve our past as we plan our future? Do we need to tear down what is here to make room for that which is to come?

Currently 15 percent of our city is now available for development. Specifically, 40 percent of our downtown and 85 percent of our boulevards are comprised of 1 and 2-story buildings or parking lots. These buildings could provide the area for more than 8 million square feet of additional ground floor commercial development.

Above street level, it would be possible to create an additional 14,500,000 square feet of residential space, capable of housing up to 29,000 additional residents over the coming decades.

We should be repurposing buildings rather than just tearing them down. It’s a no brainer to save both public funds and our heritage.

Santa Monica must not become stuck in time. However, we should not race ahead with short-term planning. Our residents know that these developments are driven more by profit than common sense. Although increased density is inevitable, it must be well managed. It is a devil’s bargain to allow for unrestrained development in exchange for a few tax dollars or undersized low-cost units. No amount of “community benefits” can compensate for the negative impact that would ensue and then would be irreversible.

For Santa Monica to continue to be a progressive, livable city, we must find a way to balance our priorities of growth and quality of life. Our transition to the future will be successful only if we can plan ahead properly and act with restraint. We must act to preserve our city for future generations.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

26 comments:

  1. Sierra Madre was fortunate to be in the forefront of preservation and slow growth. This town was fortunate to have some conscious and very involved citizens along with some City Planners and some City Council members along with a great many in the Community (2/3rds). Thank you to those who wrote and fought for Measure V. Now Sierra Madre is a template that other towns may follow.
    Thank you for an uplifting article.

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    Replies
    1. Add the author of this blog to that list of people who contributed to our success in preservation. Not sure we would have made it without the Tattler.

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    2. but we still have those against Measure V meddling in city business trying to undo it

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    3. 11:48, yeah. Nobody said developers aren't voracious.

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  2. Joe Mosca has served in the government of both Sierra Madre and Encinitas. Can Yorba Linda be next?

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    1. Yorba Linda is a little too plain for Joe. No doubt the elegance of Encinitas is a big draw for such a superficial guy.

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  3. As a clown; Joe serves in the Parks Department of Encinitas

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    1. but he "loves" Encinitas

      like he "loved" Sierra Madre so much that he had to get involved to change Sierra Madre

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  4. Nice to see something positive and local instead of national in the Tattle. Good one Mod.

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  5. This election is a curse.

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  6. It's a blessing: positive speech given by "The Don" in Detroit.

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    1. I bet going into a church was a novel experience for Mr. Trump.

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    2. The church was empty, 9:46. You didn't know that?

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  7. 1st John:chapter4.

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  8. We have a great Planning Commission! They know what they're doing and I personally admire all but one of them!

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    1. Me too, 10:07. And even the one who makes bad decisions is not a liar or a shill for development.

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  9. Any one know when the Moratorium on building is up? and when Carter One is back in front of the Planning Commission?

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    1. 1 carter is not affected by the moratorium. Because they have their water meters in place.

      They will be in front of the PC very soon

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    2. The building moratorium for new lots..without meters will end when are wells are replenished.
      1Carter has applications for about 23 homes in the Planning Dept. Non of the plans are complete.

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  10. Hillery and her minions only know how to "church it up".

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    1. If Hillery held an event at a church people would have shown up. Trump's advance people are as inept as the clown they work for.

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  11. Trump Addresses Empty Church As African-American Photo-Op Backfires In Detroit
    http://www.politicususa.com/2016/09/03/trump-addresses-empty-church-african-american-photo-op-backfires-detroit.html

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    Replies
    1. It's an honest mistake that no African Americans showed up. Everyone know that church is on Sunday.

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  12. How nice to read something so positive as today's blog. Many people have worked hard to preserve our city. Good news is even more people are working even harder to continue preserving what we have here in Sierra Madre. Thank you Mr. Tattler.

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  13. Will the "younger" preserve generation work harder to save Kersting Court?

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