By Parimal M. Rohit : smmirror – excerpt
They have been accused in some corners as being the most vocal but not necessarily the loudest group, but a collection of Santa Monica activists, residents, and stakeholders who oppose the Bergamot Transit Village development proposed by Hines 26th Street LLC (Hines) have used every tool in the book to either prevent or reverse the project from ever seeing light of day.
One group – Residocracy.org – successfully engaged in a massive signature-gathering campaign to get a referendum on the ballot later this year, hoping a majority of Santa Monica voters will reverse the Hines development agreement (DA) the City Council narrowly approved in February.
Another group – the Santa Monica Coalition for a Livable City, or SMCLC – filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court against Hines and the City of Santa Monica, seeking an injunction to prevent the Bergamot Transit Village from being built.
The lawsuit was filed March 10, one day before Armen Melkonians of Residocracy.org submitted more than 13,000 signatures to City Hall in order to have a referendum placed on the ballot.
“Residents were forced to sue because the City didn’t do its job,” SMCLC co-chair Diana Gordon stated after the lawsuit was filed. “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.”
Opponents of the Hines DA and Bergamot Transit Village project, such as SMCLC, contend there are “fundamental flaws” with the development’s Environmental Impact Report (EIR). It is also argued the project will add more than 7,000 additional new daily car trips in the Bergamot Station area, where vehicle congestion already exists, in part, because of The Water Garden and other business parks near Olympic Boulevard and 26th Street… (more)