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Santa Monica City Council Discusses Upzoning On Montana, Wilshire, Pico and Other Areas

Council Will Accelerate housing production by streamlining 100% affordable projects

2.22.23: At last night's meeting, the Santa Monica City Council discussed and provided direction on the implementation of the City's certified and fully compliant 6th Cycle Housing Element, according to a staff summary of the meeting. The council will continue the discussion on the implementation of the City's certified Housing Element on February 28, 2023.

At the meeting last night, the council considered proposed amendments to Santa Monica's Land Use and Circulation Element (LUCE), Downtown Community Plan (DCP), Bergamot Area Plan (BAP), and Zoning Ordinance for consistency with Santa Monica's certified Housing Element and for compliance with State law.

The City Council ended up providing the below direction: Accelerate housing production by streamlining 100% affordable projects, moderate income housing projects, and housing projects with no more than 25% non-residential floor area on sites up to one acre in size.

Eliminate the existing tier system and rezone to increase building heights and floor area ratio standards for housing projects across the City.

Encourage the production of affordable housing by requiring housing projects citywide to provide 15% of units as on-site affordable housing units.

Update the City's Density Bonus ordinance for consistency with State law

Expand the application of Assembly Bill 2097 by eliminating minimum parking requirements for all housing projects not within the R1 zoning district.

Incentivize the production of moderate-income housing by creating a Moderate-Income Housing overlay.

Establish an ordinance to implement Senate Bill 9 (SB9), which requires the administrative approval of lot splits and duplexes on parcels zoned for single units and provides additional development potential for larger parcels. In addition, incentivize SB9 projects by waiving the affordable housing fees but applying other development impact fees.

Establish limits on lot consolidation in the City's Neighborhood Commercial zoning districts located on Main Street, Montana Avenue, Pico Boulevard, and Ocean Park Boulevard, except for sites already identified on the Suitable Sites Inventory, to help preserve small-scale businesses in these commercial districts while also allowing potential redevelopment of existing larger parcels.

According to City Councilmember Phil Brock, "The zoning for Montana, OP Blvd, Pico, and Main Street already occurred. We are required to ratify that change so that the Housing Element does not fall into noncompliance. However, the Planning Commission wants us to then propose a downzoning on the above-mentioned streets and give the state more of the Bergamot Neighborhood to upzone. It is an even trade-off. Not sure if the state will concur, but I am going to vote to try and save our neighborhoods."


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