March 10, 2014

SMCLC Files Lawsuit Over Massive Hines Project

Today, the Santa Monica Coalition for a Livable City (SMCLC) filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court challenging, on environmental and other grounds, the City Council's recent approval of the Hines project at 26th St. and Olympic Blvd. (former Papermate site) which would add 7,000 new daily car trips to an already badly gridlocked area.

“Residents were forced to sue because the City didn’t do its job.  The City got steamrolled by Hines from the beginning, and ignored the public outcry from a united coalition of residents and community groups that the project being proposed was too massive and would generate unbearable traffic in an already gridlocked area” says Diana Gordon, SMCLC’s co-chair. 

SMCLC's lawsuit challenges the process by which the City reached its approval of the Hines project, including fundamental flaws in the Environmental Impact Report (EIR). The City's EIR did not properly study reasonable project alternatives so that the Council could consider a superior project with fewer environmental impacts. The project as designed also violates the Bergamot Area Plan, as well as the LUCE, in numerous respects.

“The City was outmaneuvered and out negotiated at every stage, including when it did not study reasonable legally required alternatives in the EIR to this massive project,” Gordon said.  “It accepted Hines’ posturing that it would ‘reoccupy’ a defunct warehouse unless it got its way with a 766,000 square foot project.”

Beverly Palmer of Strumwasser & Woocher represents SMCLC. Ms. Palmer is a California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) expert as well as a 9-year Santa Monica resident.  Ms. Palmer recently won a high-profile CEQA and general plan consistency lawsuit overturning the City of Los Angeles' approval of the Hollywood Community Plan on grounds similar to those raised in SMCLC's legal challenge to the Hines Project.

Click here to read lawsuit:

In the news ... and again.