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Council Picks Winterer to Fill Planning Commission Seat


By Jorge Casuso

May 14 – Ted Winterer – a City Council candidate who helped lead the campaign for a failed anti-growth measure on the November ballot – has been appointed by the council to a seat on Santa Monica ’s powerful Planning Commission.

A member of the Parks and Recreation Commission, Winterer beat out Housing Commissioner Jason Parry by a 4 to 3 vote to join the seven-member commission, which will take a lead role in drafting the blueprint to guide development in Santa Monica for the next quarter century.

Council member Bob Holbrook, who was absent on April 21 when the council deadlocked 3 to 3 over the appointment, cast the deciding vote.

Winterer was backed by Councuil members Ken Genser, Kevin McKeown and Bobby Shriver, while Parry was backed by Pam O'Connor, Richard Bloom and Gleam Davis.

Holbrook, a veteran council member long backed by the City’s business community, surprised many when he supported Winterer during the council’s vote to appoint Katz’s replacement. (“Davis Picked to Fill Katz’s Seat,” February 25, 2009)

But Holbrook says he is comfortable backing Winterer, who was a vocal supporter of an initiative to cap most commercial development at 75,000 square feet a year.

”I asked Ted some important questions, and he answered them to my satisfaction,” said Holbrook. “I felt okay about it. I don’t mind if he has a slightly different point of view.”

Holbrook, who also spoke to Parry, said he plans to appoint the Housing Commissioner to the Planning Commission next year to fill the seat being vacated by Jay Johnson, who is considered a staunch anti-growth advocate.

“I thought they were both well qualified,” he said. “I made up my mind that I would back one now, and one next year.”

Holbrook said some of his supporters worried Winterer would use the commission seat to run against him for City Council next year. But that was not an issue.

“If you run for office, you need to raise a lot of money here in Santa Monica,” Holbrook said.

Winterer is considered a slow-growth advocate, while Parry, who has been a member of the Housing Commission for 11 years, is considered a staunch advocate for affordable housing.

His goal, Winterer wrote in his application for the vacant seat, is “to implement land use policies which will slow the loss of affordable rental housing and preserve our socioeconomic diversity and the character of our neighborhoods.”

The council’s appointee will help shape the City’s Land Use and Circulation Element (LUCE), which should be drafted by the end of the year and which dictates where development will take place and how tall buildings can go. It also outlines strategies to fight traffic congestion.

For the most part the council and the Planning Commission have agreed o the direction of the LUCE, but there have been sharp differences over height bonus that will be given to developers in exchange for “community benefits.” (“Proposed Building Heights Stir Debate,” July 3, 2008)

In his application, Winterer discussed the issue in general terms, saying he wants to assure that the LUCE “increases mobility; reduces future auto congestion; promotes affordable housing, adaptive reuse, walking and biking; creates opportunities for new parks and open space; preserves the existing scale of our city and improves the aesthetics of our built environment; and provides significant public benefits and fees from new development.”

Winterer’s appointment will do little to change the tenure or make up of the commission, which has undergone a radical change over the past five years – from a board that generally opposed development to one the is more lenient and includes two architects with major projects in the City.


"I don’t mind if he has a slightly different point of view.” Bob Holbrook



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