SANTA MONICA ( — The controversial Hines project, one of the largest developments proposed for the city in 20 years, is drawing intense opposition from residents.

The issue over the development has escalated following five years of debate, leading to a meeting between residents and city council members before the council’s vote on the proposal.

Some 100 Santa Monica residents attended the meeting, making their voices heard to the council members.

“I understand there will be growth, things will change,” Santa Monica resident Suzanne Verge said. “But this is irresponsible.”

Residents worry over the proposed Bergamont Transit Village, a 765,000 square-foot, mixed-use development near the future Expo line at 26th Street and Olympic Boulevard.

The area is already known for heavy traffic, and residents are hoping to make it known that more traffic will equate to more problems.

“It is very difficult to get around in Santa Monica these days,” Verge said. “But we can do better.”

While Hines estimates that the development would produce an increase in traffic of 7,000 new car trips per day, residents say the number would be much higher.

“We’ve been trying to work with (the developers) to get the scale down, to make it a residential project,” Trisha Crane said. “It’s not, so we are very fearful about the impact on our community.”

City leaders, meanwhile, are aiming to develop near areas where people are able to use transit in order to cut down on traffic.

The meeting, which lasted four hours, resulted in the council’s decision for a recess prior to voting.

As of Tuesday night, the issue had not yet been voted on.

“We understand the concern about development and traffic,” Planning and Community Development’s David Martin said. “But we’ve worked hard with this developer to come up with a project that meets the objectives of the land-use element.”

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