Santa Monica City to Demolish Parking Garage 3, But Will Anyone Invest in Affordable Housing When the Site is Clouded in Litigation?
Santa Monica Bayside Owners Association is appealing the decision to close and demolish the garage
March 21, 2022
March 18, 2022 - The City of Santa Monica prevailed against local business owners in its goal to demolish Parking Structure 3 on 4th Street downtown, but the site remains embroiled in litigation. The Santa Monica Bayside Owners Association still has a lawsuit pending against the transformation of the site from parking into supportive housing.
Originally, Superior Court Judge Michael Beckloff granted an injunction against demolition, on grounds that the California Environmental Quality Act had not been complied with by the City. The granting of the injunction implied that the judge intended to rule against the City altogether and prohibit the demolition of the garage. However, attorneys for the SMBOA were late to file a request for a hearing as required by CEQA. This ended up causing the court to dismiss SMBOA's lawsuit.
Dramatic back-and-forth ensued with injunctions against demolition getting lifted and then reinstated, with a final rejection of an Appeal Supersedeas, and the permission to demolish the garage.
But SMBOA still has an appeal regarding the dismissal. The site could remain in litigation for years. This could affect the inclination of a lender to get involved in helping to build any housing on the site. Should the city end up losing the Appeal and underlying lawsuit, they would be liable for fees and damages to SMBOA.
Two retailers have already vacated their spaces on the Promenade citing the loss of the parking structure as the reason.
5,502 signatures were collected opposing the demolition of the garage, 96% of them Santa Monica residents. This constitutes 7.6% of registered voters in the city and 12.3% of those who voted in the last election.
City Councilmember Phil Brock stated, "The parking spaces won't matter a year from now but traffic circulation, a real dedication to cleaning up downtown by the city, and have the remaining parking garages be clean and safe is absolutely necessary."
It is unknown if Councilmember Brock has attempted to drive downtown or park there since Parking Structure 3 was closed right before the Super Bowl weekend.