City Council Approves Land Use Amendments to Implement City’s State-Certified Housing Element

Date:

The following is a press release from the City of Santa Monica.

At Tuesday night’s meeting, the Santa Monica City Council took action to implement the City’s certified 6th Cycle Housing Element. City Council adopted amendments to the City’s Land Use Documents (Land Use and Circulation Element [LUCE], Bergamot Area Plan [BAP], Downtown Community Plan [DCP], Zoning Ordinance, and General Plan Land Use Map and Zoning Districting Map) to align with the Certified Housing Element and State-assigned housing allocation. Zoning code changes will go into effect 30 days after the second reading scheduled on April 11, 2023.

The Council’s action supports new housing development in the City’s mixed-use and non-residential zones, with substantial emphasis on affordable housing production through the requirement for 15% of units to be provided as deed-restricted affordable units. With the adoption of updates to the Zoning Ordinance, the Council also incorporated lot consolidation limits for housing projects on portions of Main Street, Pico Boulevard, Montana Avenue, and Ocean Park Boulevard in order to balance existing commercial activity while ensuring that housing opportunities are available in each of these commercial districts.  

“Ensuring the implementation of a compliant Housing Element paves the way for Santa Monica to address housing production,” says Mayor Gleam Davis. “We know that housing is critical to advancing community priorities including addressing homelessness. Santa Monica will continue to fulfill our State-mandated obligations while being thoughtful about housing affordability.”

Santa Monica’s State-certified 6th Cycle Housing Element:  

  • Streamlines the approval of housing projects through an administrative approval process and more efficient timelines.
  • Commits City-owned property for the development of affordable housing.
  • Updates zoning development standards and removes barriers to support housing production across the City.
  • Allows new housing to be developed in non-residential zones where housing is currently not permitted.
  • Provides opportunities for housing production on residentially zoned surface parking lots and community assembly sites to minimize displacement.
  • Provides opportunities to encourage the development of moderate-income housing citywide.
  • Aligns local regulations with State laws.

The 6th Cycle Housing Element was approved by City Council at its October 11, 2022, meeting and certified by the California Department of Housing and Community Development on October 14, 2022. Two study sessions were held on February 22 and February 28, 2023, to discuss and direct amendments for implementation of the Housing Element.

Implementation of Santa Monica’s Housing Element adds to recent progress to expand affordable housing including:

  • At its March 14, 2023, meeting, the City Council approved the designation of surplus land at three City-owned surface parking lots located at 1217 Euclid Street, 1211-1217 14th Street, and 1146 16th Street. With this designation, and consistent with the goals established in the Emergency Order on Homelessness and the Housing Element, the City will issue a Request for Proposals for affordable housing on the three parcels. The Housing Element projects capacity for 130 low- and very low-income affordable residences across the three sites.
  • Earlier this month, the City-funded Community Corporation of Santa Monica property Las Flores opened its doors with 72 affordable apartment homes, adding to the 75 City-funded affordable residences that have opened in the past year.
  • Over 230 more City-funded affordable homes are at various stages of development at 1819 Pico Boulevard, 1413 Michigan Avenue, and 1320 4th Street. Specific locations will include housing for people experiencing homelessness.
  • Using City Housing Trust Funds and State funds, the City made a loan commitment for the Little Berkeley property at 1342 Berkeley Street, which will serve low-income households, including young adults facing housing insecurity.

With the passage of the voter-approved Measure GS, more funding sources will become available to support affordable housing production.For more information, see the Staff Report or visit santamonica.gov/housing-element-update.

Damien Newton
Damien Newton
Damien is the executive director of the Southern California Streets Initiative which publishes Santa Monica Next, Streetsblog Los Angeles, Streetsblog San Francisco, Streetsblog California and Longbeachize.

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