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Westside Digest

Santa Monica : Construction Ban Extended

June 15, 1989

The City Council has voted to extend a moratorium on multifamily residential construction in the neighborhood north of Wilshire Boulevard for another six months, limiting what residents have called a "demolition derby" and allowing city staff to draw up a plan that would restrict future development in the area.

In early May, complaints from residents about new development in the neighborhood bounded by Ocean Avenue, Montana Avenue, 14th Street and Wilshire Boulevard prompted the council to pass a 45-day emergency ordinance banning residential construction.

"More and more, Los Angeles is looking like Manhattan--dark and dirty, disallowing for warmth and sunshine," said resident Linda Wilson at the City Council meeting on Tuesday night. "We must endeavor to protect the quality of life in our city," she said.

The council voted 6 to 1 to continue the moratorium until December. For the next six months, a task force of staff, tenants, condominium owners and resident landlords will work on a plan that would limit the number of projects per block and develop design standards that would make new buildings more compatible with those already there.

Residents also asked the council to consider downzoning their neighborhood. But Planning Director Paul Berlant said that lowering density would only make land and rental values skyrocket.

Construction of single-family homes, low- and moderate-income housing and city projects are exempt from the moratorium, as are projects that received permits before April 28.

Councilwoman Christine Reed voted against the measure, saying a moratorium was not the solution to the neighborhood's problems.

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