Downtown Community Plan



Curious about what amount of change might ocurr Downtown over the next 15-20 years. Experience how planners analyze the future by playing around with our new See Downtown 2030 webtool.


A new website has been created for the Downtown Community Plan. This interactive website includes all of the materials of this City page, but also hosts a variety of commenting and public feedback features. Please visit to view the new website and participate in the process of refining the recently released Downtown Community Plan.


Draft Downtown Specific Plan Environmental Impact Report Released


Downtown Community Plan RELEASED!

Download the “RELEASE NOTES” for a visual description of the many changes that occurred within the Downtown Community Plan during the Winter 2016 revision process.  These changes take on many forms, which are described in the release notes, but are highlighted here for a quick summary.


New Name
The Downtown Specific Plan has been renamed to the Downtown Community Plan in recognition of the overarching desire to nurture a long-term community within its boundaries, and to make sure that every resident feels welcome in the Downtown.


Revised Format and organization
The process of clarifying and strengthening the Plan’s contents resulted in a total overhaul of the order and structure of the document. Some chapters were merged with other chapters (for example, the previously titled “Arts and Culture” chapter was combined with “Housing and Economic Diversity” to create a new chapter - “Community, Culture and Prosperity” that views housing, jobs, and entertainment and culture as interrelated aspects of life). New chapters were created, and content from various parts of the Plan was deployed to support the reorganization.


Revised text
All Plan content was reviewed and revised for clarity and concision.  Extraneous text or background information was removed. “Track Changes” versions  of all chapters will be available for review on the Plan’s website.


Action Oriented
As a 20 year Plan, it is important that the Downtown Community Plan not sit on a shelf, but be used effectively by both private and public entities to guide workplans and design efforts.  A substantial effort was undertaken to strengthen goals, policies and actions. Policies and Actions now relate directly to one another, and clear assignments for undertaking actions have been identified.


What is the Downtown Community Plan?

The Downtown Community Plan (DCP) is guided by the 2010 Land Use and Circulation Element (LUCE) vision of a thriving, mixed-use urban environment that provides multiple opportunities for living, working, entertainment and enrichment. The LUCE envisioned an energetic and contemporary downtown for residents, employees and visitors that integrates the light rail and preserves the unique character of the district and its commercial and residential life. The LUCE also called for enhancing downtown through better linkages to some of City's most visible attractions: the Civic Center and the Beachfront. However, the LUCE deferred implementation of the vision and the specific standards to creation of a Downtown Community Plan.


Over the past two years, the DCP process has included over a dozen workshops and public hearings, as well as stakeholder interviews and discussions with various boards to develop an action plan to achieve a community vision for the future of the downtown.


Themes that have developed through this process and are reflected in the Plan vision and actions include:

  1. Prioritize the pedestrian experience - maintaining and enhancing the attractiveness, comfort and safety of walking.
  2. Provide a connected, efficient, and user-friendly circulation network that works for all people whether they are driving, bicycling, taking the train or a bus, and walking. 
  3. Preserve and enhance Downtown's basic urban form of 3-7 story buildings, with diverse architecture that provides access to light and ocean breezes.
  4. Implement the LUCE tiering system that requires projects above a 2-3 story base height to provide community benefits.
  5. Provide opportunity for exceptional community benefits such as parks, museums, new roads, and preservation of landmark buildings at a few key sites.
  6. Integrate the Expo Light Rail into Downtown with circulation connections, wayfinding, inviting spaces, and programs that encourage people to ride transit.  
  7. Address vehicle congestion in the Downtown with flow improvements, wayfinding, and transportation demand management and a comprehensive mobility strategy for all road users.
  8. Provide the framework for maintaining Downtown's economic success through a diverse and sustainable economy and a creative workforce.
  9. Continue to support new housing in the Downtown including connecting residents to workplaces, open space and complete neighborhoods.
  10. Support continuing preservation of the buildings and façade that define the Downtown's historic character.

Comments on the Draft Downtown Community Plan can be sent to

Downtown Specific Plan

Workshops & Milestones

Wed Mar 02, 2016

Planning Commission Review of DCP

On Wednesday, March 2 and Thursday, Marcy 3 the Planning Commission reviewed the draft Downtown Community Plan and provided staff with comments.

Fri Feb 21, 2014

Draft Downtown Specific Plan Published

After two years of public input, the Draft Downtown Specific Plan was published on February 21, 2014 for public review and discussion. The Draft Downtown Specific Plan implements the 2010 Land Use and Circulation Element (LUCE) vision for Downtown through a set of actions that address urban form, circulation, open space, arts and culture, economic sustainability, housing and historic preservation. Hard copies are available for review at City libraries and at City Hall. Comments on the Draft Downtown Specific Plan can be sent to Kyle Ferstead. A Program Environmental Impact Report (PEIR) is being prepared for the Draft Downtown Specific Plan and will include a public comment period beginning with release of the Draft PEIR.

Thu Sep 19, 2013

Downtown Specific Plan Framework

The Downtown Specific Plan Framework compiles the primary components that will be in the Draft Downtown Specific Plan and serves as the Project Description for the Downtown Specific Plan Program EIR. The DSP Framework was published in September 2013.

Wed Jul 17, 2013

Planning Commission Meeting

Planning Commission consideration, discussion and possible recommendation to the City Council on development concepts and strategies for the Downtown Specific Plan CEQA Analysis, including a review of height and density parameters to be studied as part of the Program Environmental Impact Report (PEIR)

Tue Jul 09, 2013

City Council Presentation

Staff will present to the City Council an update on the Downtown Specific Plan. Tuesday, July 9th 7:00 PM City Council Chambers, City Hall 1685 Main Street, Santa Monica The public is invited to attend and provide comment.

Mon Mar 11, 2013

Landmarks Commission Presentation

Presentation and discussion on the Downtown Specific Plan and its current status.

Wed Mar 06, 2013

Planning Commission Presentation

On March 6, 2013, Planning Commission was presented with a review of information regarding the emerging Downtown Specific Plan including circulation concerns, priorities, and strategies.

Wed Jan 23, 2013

Planning Commission Presentation

On January 23, 2013, Planning Commission was presented with a review of information regarding the emerging Downtown Specific Plan including information presented at the December 5, 2012 workshop; concepts for urban form, height, and floor area ratios; and an update on work underway on supporting land use, circulation, open space, and arts/culture elements.

Wed Dec 05, 2012

Workshop #3

The community workshop was held on Wednesday, December 5th at the Civic Center. Over 160 participants turned out to discuss the unique experiences, places, and buildings that showcase what makes Downtown so special and give input on our ideas for creating a walkable and complete Downtown filled with great buildings, public spaces, and exciting destinations for residents and visitors. Below you may download the workshop presentation.

Wed Jul 11, 2012

Workshop #2

The community workshop was held on Wednesday, July 11th at the Civic Center. Over 100 participants turned out to discuss key concepts for the Downtown Specific Plan vision, and give input on the identification and coordination of community benefits. Below you may download the workshop presentation.

Wed Mar 28, 2012

Planning Commission Presentation

On March 28, 2012, Planning Commission was presented with an overview of urban design strategies guided by the Downtown Specific Plan vision and principles.

Tue Feb 28, 2012

City Council Presentation

On February 28, 2012, City Council was presented with an update on the Downtown Specific Plan.

Thu Jan 26, 2012

Workshop #1

The community workshop was held on Thursday, January 26th at the Civic Center. Over 75 participants turned out to discuss preliminary ideas for the Downtown Specific Plan and results from the visioning process for the City-owned property at Arizona Avenue between 4th & 5th Streets. Below you may download the workshop presentations.

Wed Jan 11, 2012

Planning Commission Presentation

An introduction to the Downtown Specific Plan team including consultants Torti Gallas and Partners Inc., who will discuss the components of the Specific Plan, including height and density, circulation, community benefits and design guidelines, strategies and emerging themes from stakeholder interviews, and anticipated timeline for completion of the plan.


(310) 458-8341


Additional Information



Environmental Reports

Environmental Report Archives
Search Plans, Projects & Reports by Name