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First Hearing on Santa Monica Downtown Community Plan Set for Wednesday  
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By Jonathan Friedman
Associate Editor

April 24, 2017 -- Expect a big crowd in Santa Monica City Council Chambers on Wednesday.

That is when the Planning Commission will hold the first hearing on the Downtown Community Plan, a proposed document that sets the rules and vision for development in the area over the next 20 years.

The hearing, scheduled to begin at 6 p.m., could take so long that City staff has proposed the possibility of adding a second session Thursday night.

Five more hearings are scheduled for May that are expected to conclude with the commission making a recommendation to the City Council.

The council is expected to finalize the document by the end of the summer.

Delays are of course possible, especially for this process, which has included many during its more than six years in the planning (“Vote on Santa Monica Downtown Plan Delayed Yet Again,” March 31, 2016).

Numerous hearings and reviews have been held on the draft version of the document, which is an update to the Bayside District Specific Plan that was approved more than 20 years ago.

And the schedule has frequently been altered since the issues are so contentious and more work is needed to address them.

The latest version of the document, which was released with fanfare in a special event earlier this month, has also been met with controversy (“Santa Monica Downtown Plan Seeks to Strike a Compromise, Officials Say, But Some Remain Skeptical,” April 13, 2017).

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