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City of Santa Monica wins State’s Highest Planning Award

The California Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA) announced this week the selection of Santa Monica’s Land Use and Circulation Element (LUCE) as the winner of this year’s “Outstanding Comprehensive Planning Award, Small Jurisdiction.â€

This highly competitive award represents the profession’s highest statewide honor, recognizing outstanding community plans for their originality, innovation and visionary approach to planning. The LUCE has also won the Santa Monica Conservancy Award, the Compass Blueprint Award for Sustainable Leadership and the APA (Los Angeles Chapter) award for Outstanding Comprehensive Plan, Small Jurisdiction.

Six years in the making, involving thousands of citizens and countless public meetings, Santa Monica’s Land Use and Circulation Element of the General Plan was unanimously approved by the Mayor and City Council on July 6, 2010. The plan incorporates the community’s most fundamental values of conservation, environmental responsibility and social equity into the City’s official policies and provides the technical tools to implement them.

A blueprint for the next 25 years, the plan is designed to enhance the City’s character. It proposes reduction of vehicle trips, locating new mixed use commercial projects near transit hubs along the EXPO Light Rail line and protecting existing neighborhoods from redevelopment by providing incentives for housing near transit. A long-term conservation plan, the LUCE promotes bicycling, walking and the use of alternatives such as car pooling, van pooling and the careful management of parking.

Reshaping traditional planning approaches, the LUCE seeks to enhance the intimate social structure of a community’s life, placing great emphasis on neighborhoods complete with local services and amenities, gathering places and open spaces and facilitating a vibrant economy celebrating the arts and culture.

Santa Monica representatives will accept the award at the 2010 State Planning Conference in November.

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