It's a WIN: "The Plaza" at 4th and Arizona is DEAD
Last night was a watershed moment in Santa Monica: Our new City Councilmembers, Phil Brock, Oscar de la Torre, and Christine Parra, along with Mayor Sue Himmelrich, voted to end negotiations with the developer over “The Plaza,” the wildly unpopular project at 4th and 5th and Arizona.
Following discussions in closed-session, the City Attorney announced that Council is directing staff to cease negotiations with the developers and set an open session for the Council to provide direction as to how to proceed with the property. The Council then approved such a motion (Brock made the motion; Parra seconded; the vote was 4/3).
We should take a moment to reflect on this remarkable victory for residents and how good it feels to have a majority on City Council, who act as stewards of our public land, instead of favoring a huge private hotel/office development. A Council who actually listened to residents instead of to a well-heeled developer and a Council who wasn’t afraid to recognize a failed process – one that hadn’t genuinely included the community from the outset.
This win is the result of a sustained community effort by residents who opposed this project from its inception. Earlier this year, we penned an open letter to the City and the developer detailing growing resident opposition that had formed to stop the project and urging them to withdraw their plan to avoid a protracted battle. Here’s our LETTER signed by neighborhood groups and associations throughout our City.
Thereafter, when the City elected to move ahead on the project over SMCLC’s legal objections, SMCLC sued the City and the developer over the failure to follow the Surplus Land Act. That Act requires the City to first determine whether to create open space or build affordable housing on public land, before negotiating to privatize it with a commercial development. Then all of us worked hard to elect the new members to the City Council, candidates who were firmly committed to stopping “The Plaza” project from going forward.
So last night we arrived at a long-awaited reckoning - that seven years of staff negotiations had yielded a failed project that would never get built, and that it’s time to have a REAL community process to decide what options we should pursue for our public land; a process that includes residents from the beginning rather than after a project has been designed and proposed.
None of this would have happened without your support.
We will let you know when the Council meets to discuss the future of our land. Thank you for standing with us and the community.