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Downtown Standards Need Update

January 26, 2011

Dear Editor,

I respect Frank Gruber's breadth of knowledge about the history of our city, but I disagree with him regarding the interim ordinance being proposed tonight by city staff planners to City Council ("Not an Insult," Jan. 24, 2011).

I support the proposal for an interim zoning ordinance because there is a pressing need for a measure to govern building throughout Santa Monica -- including downtown -- until a permanent zoning ordinance is implemented for all development in our city.

I recently attended two presentations on the interim ordinance being advanced as a way to begin to implement the Land Use Circulation Element (LUCE), one of which was given for the Planning Commission. The Commission was just as persuaded by the wisdom on the interim ordinance as I was and they voted unanimously to support it.

I am confident the City Council will do the same because I have come to understand why the interim ordinance has been brought forward by City Planner Eileen Fogarty. The standards for downtown Santa Monica are 15 years old, and even Mr. Gruber acknowledges that they are due to be updated.

LUCE was adopted last summer as the new standard for our city with the understanding that a new downtown plan would come later. Later is now.

Downtown developments should not be expected to meet a lower standard than what is set by LUCE. Downtown is the heart of our city and we should support an interim ordinance so that projects now in the pipeline are minimally in compliance with LUCE.

The interim ordinance is just what our city needs to build a bridge to the future. It is an example of what Mr. Gruber himself refers to as "good urbanism."

Tricia Crane

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