Issue Papers

Aerial View

Development Standards and Design Guidelines

The 2010 LUCE includes “Quality Urban Character and Form” among its eight framework elements that define its direction, and discusses both development standards and design guidelines as tools that are appropriate for achieving community goals related to managing future development.
The Zoning Ordinance Update team is working to revise development standards, and to integrate a set of complementary design guidelines that provide flexible means of achieving goals related to quality and character. A community open house was held on May 14, 2012 to begin the discussion of how these could work together.

Materials from the open house:

On March 22, 2012, a joint meeting of the Planning Commission and Architectural Review Board was held to review consultant research and provide input on how design review in Santa Monica might improve.
Design Review Practices Issues Paper

Uses, Terms, and Definitions

The Zoning Ordinance defines “uses” (such as offices, retail stores, and residences) to regulate private property in a manner that meets community goals and desires. Uses, and broader lists of use classifications, are building blocks that establish the basis for regulation. The Zoning Ordinance will include specific classifications defining what uses are permitted, conditionally permitted, or prohibited in each zoning district.
Uses, Terms, and Definitions Issues Paper

Districting Framework

The Zoning Ordinance maps different zones, or zoning districts, across the city. Different types of zoning districts—residential, commercial, or industrial—allow different types and mixes of uses and regulate different intensities of development.

Districting Framework Issues Paper

Community Benefits

A core principle underlying Santa Monica’s 2010 LUCE is the importance of ensuring that medium- and larger-sized development will provide benefits to the community through a "Tier" structure of project review.

In this structure:

  • Tier 1 - allows smaller buildings through ministerial (staff-level) review,
  • Tier 2 - requires community benefits and allows medium-sized buildings with Planning Commission review, and
  • Tier 3 - requires additional community benefits and allows the largest size of development through a City Council-reviewed Development Agreement.

A Staff Report to Planning Commission on implementation of community benefits for Tier 2 projects, was prepared for April 3, 2013. In the report, staff recommends a simple and predictable community benefits system that focuses on the LUCE priorities of Affordable Housing, Transportation, Open Space, and Childcare. Fees or on-site improvements for all of these categories would be required proportionate to the additional building requested.

The Community Benefits Issues Paper includes background information about the policy and regulatory framework of community benefits, along with key issues, initial consultant recommendations, and examples of how other communities administer similar programs.

Parking and Circulation

The Zoning Ordinance will implement sustainability and climate change goals from the 2010 LUCE in several ways, including bicycle parking, automobile parking, and Transportation Demand Management.

New standards that implement the Santa Monica Bike Action Plan will include long-term and short-term parking for bicycles, an increase to the overall amount of bike parking made available in the city, and making bike parking more visible to encourage bicycle use.

A variety of recommendations related to automobile parking are being examined: requirements based on local conditions and the desire to transform into a more pedestrian, bicycle, and transit-oriented community; options for sharing spaces in private parking lots and garages to decrease the resources dedicated to parking and the number of times people have to move their car; and other recommendations that help make parking more efficient.

Transportation Demand Management, a tool used to reduce vehicle trips, is also being revised with the Zoning Ordinance. Revised requirements for buildings (developers) and businesses (employers), as well as incorporate new requirements for residential and mixed-use development, will be considered.

These topics were discussed at Planning Commission hearing on January 30, 2013.