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Council Set to Endorse New Mission Statement for Planning Commission
By Jorge Casuso
April 8, 2019 -- In a sign of the times, the Planning Commission likely will have an updated mission statement the City Council is expected to endorse Tuesday night.
Instead of promoting the "health, safety and general welfare" highlighted in the statement endorsed by the Council in 1947, the new statement envisions Santa Monica as a city of "wellbeing, sustainability, and equity," according to staff.
"The Planning Commission recently prepared an updated Mission Statement to reflect the Commission’s 21st century mission and goals linked to wellbeing, place-making, and sustainability," staff wrote in its report.
The proposed mission statement endorsed by the Planning Commission last year is unlike the Statement of Purpose adopted by the Council 62 years ago, which was specific and grounded on long-established planning principals and goals.
Per the 1947 statement, the Commission was to encourage "the most appropriate use of land; provide adequate open spaces for light and air; prevent undue concentrations of population (and) lessen congestion on streets."
The Commission also was to seek to "facilitate adequate provisions for community utilities and facilities" and "designate, regulate and restrict the location and use of buildings, structures and land for residents, commerce, trade, industry and other purposes."
The Statement of Purpose was adopted after Santa Monica voters approved a City Charter in 1946.
The Charter tasked the seven-member Planning Commission with recommending a Master Plan, exercising control over land subdivisions, recommending proposed pubic works and the clearance and rebuilding of "blighted or substandard areas" and taking up zoning issues prescribed by ordinance.
The proposed mission statement -- developed by a Commission subcommittee and unanimously adopted by the Commission in March 2018 -- "more accurately reflects the Commission’s work, values, and priorities on behalf of the Santa Monica community," staff said.
The new statement"describes the Commission’s objective in improving quality of life and community well-being through its land use decisions informed by community engagement and best practices regarding sustainability and city planning."
The proposed statement -- which staff said will be "memorialized as part of the Commission’s guidance going forward" -- reads in full as follows:
"The Planning Commission envisions Santa Monica as a city of wellbeing, sustainability, and equity, and seeks to balance the many needs and priorities within our community in accordance with the City’s General Plan and Specific Plans.
"The Commission acts through open and civil discourse that is informed by public input, impartial analysis, and best practices in land use and planning."
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