City Council Meeting: December 11, 2012

Agenda Item: 8-B 

To:                   Mayor and City Council 

From:              David Martin, Director of Planning and Community Development

Subject:          Development Agreement Application Processing Procedures and Consideration of Policy Related to Average and Minimum Unit Sizes in Mixed-Use Residential Developments

 

Recommended Action

 

Staff recommends that the City Council approve the proposed slowdown in the processing of pending Development Agreement applications and confirm that average and minimum residential unit sizes should be sought in Development Agreement negotiations.

 

Executive Summary

 

Since the adoption of the LUCE in July of 2010, the number of Development Agreement applications that have been submitted has outpaced expectations, with 26 Development Agreement applications pending review as of December 6, 2012. Of the 26 pending applications, 14 are located in the Downtown, 10 of which are housing projects of 100 units or less with the remaining four being visitor-serving uses such as hotels and a multiplex movie theater. There are three applications pending for projects in the Bergamot area, which are mixed-use developments consisting of residential, retail and creative arts space.  The remaining nine applications are for an auto dealership and mixed-use residential and neighborhood serving retail projects located along the transit corridors of the city.

 

There is limited capacity to process Development Agreement applications from the perspective of ARB, Planning Commission and City Council workload and agenda management, staff time needed to thoroughly evaluate a complex project and negotiate Development Agreement terms, and the availability of evenings to calendar community meetings in light of the broad range of public meetings involving land use issues. Due to these limitations in staff and community resources, processing of the 26 pending Development Agreement applications requires a slowdown to ensure that projects are carefully considered and informed by the applicable land use policies.

 

Staff is proposing changes to the Development Agreement processing procedures to add additional float up steps which would slow down the pace of Development Agreement application review and allow the Planning Commission and Architectural Review Board to provide early input on proposed projects.

 

Additionally, staff is proposing minimum and average unit sizes that should be sought in Development Agreement negotiations for multi-family residential developments.

 

Background

LUCE Adoption

In July 2010 the City Council adopted the Land Use and Circulation Element (LUCE) following a six year public process which included a series of workshops, public hearings and other forms of community involvement. Policies contained in the LUCE call for the preservation of the existing land use and density of 96% of the City, while focusing new development along transit boulevards and near the three Expo light rail stations. The LUCE set forth the twenty year vision for the entire City, and the maximum development parameters for all areas of the City except downtown. It also called for the completion of a number of implementation plans and documents, including a new zoning ordinance, the creation of bike and pedestrian action plans, the adoption of a traffic impact fee and specific or area plans for downtown, the Bergamot Transit Village/Mixed Use Creative areas, and Memorial Park.

 

The LUCE established a system of Tiers in most areas of the City, with Tier 1 allowing a base height and floor area ratio (FAR) through a non-discretionary process, Tier 2 allowing additional height and FAR with the approval of a discretionary permit and the provision of community benefits, and Tier 3 allowing more height and FAR with the provision of additional community benefits and the approval of a Development Agreement.

 

Interim Zoning Ordinance

 In January 2011 the City Council adopted an interim zoning ordinance which set forth the process by which projects would be reviewed prior to the adoption of the new zoning ordinance, which will establish the process for the approval of Tier 1 and Tier 2 projects. The Interim Zoning Ordinance has been extended by the City Council three times and is currently set to expire on August 14, 2013. The interim zoning ordinance limits by-right projects to a maximum of 7,500 square feet, allows projects over 7,500 square feet that are not considered Tier 2 or Tier 3 projects in the LUCE to proceed with a discretionary permit, and requires a Development Agreement for Tier 2 and Tier 3 projects citywide and projects over 32 feet in the Downtown. The interim zoning ordinance also continues to allow the ministerial processing of 100% affordable housing projects (with affordability levels up to 80% of Area Median Income) of 50 units or less.

 

Specific and Area Plans

Since the adoption of the LUCE, staff has initiated a number of major planning efforts. These include the Bike Action Plan, the Downtown Specific Plan, the Bergamot Transit Village/Mixed Use Creative Area Plan, and the Pedestrian Action Plan.  Additionally, staff will soon begin the preparation of the Memorial Park Neighborhood Plan. Below is a description and timeline for the major planning efforts currently underway.

 

·         Downtown Specific Plan. The Downtown Specific Plan process was initiated in Fall 2011 to direct and coordinate public and private investment in the expanded Downtown area defined in the LUCE, with the goal of integrating land use and transportation strategies and incorporating the future Expo Light Rail Station. A draft Downtown Specific Plan will be presented to the Council in Spring 2013, with final adoption of the plan following the preparation of the required CEQA analysis.

·         Bergamot/Mixed Use Creative Area Plan. The Bergamot Area Plan was initiated in Fall 2010 to guide the transition of the former industrial lands into a more walkable, accessible and diverse living and working neighborhood.  The plan focuses on urban form, including open space, the street network, land use, mobility and culture. Key results of the plan will include the establishment of a shared parking district and a Transportation Demand Management strategy. The Bergamot Area Plan will be considered by the Council for adoption in Spring 2013.

 

Zoning Ordinance

The comprehensive update of the zoning ordinance was initiated following the adoption of the LUCE.  Several stakeholder interviews and workshops have occurred and the Planning Commission is currently holding a series of meetings on specific topics.  A draft of the updated zoning ordinance will be available for public review in early 2013 with final adoption of the new ordinance by the end of 2013.

 

The interim zoning ordinance currently requires a Development Agreement for all Tier 2 and Tier 3 projects.  The new zoning ordinance will establish an alternative application process for Tier 2 projects that will include defined criteria for community benefits. Applications for Tier 2 projects will be reviewed by the Planning Commission and will be appealable to City Council. Applications for Tier 3 projects will most likely always be processed as Development Agreements, but the establishment of a process for Tier 2 projects will provide an alternative to the Development Agreement process and reduce the number of Development Agreement applications.

 

Development Activity Since LUCE Adoption

Following the adoption of the LUCE, Santa Monica experienced an increase in the number of project applications. This increase is the result of several factors including: LUCE policies that encourage the construction of mixed-use residential projects along transit boulevards and near light rail stations, a CEQA exemption for mixed-use housing projects with 100 units or less located within one half mile of a major transit stop, an increase in the number of rental housing units being proposed and constructed in the Los Angeles region, historically low interest rates, the strong demand for housing in Santa Monica, the stability of Santa Monica as a place to invest, and the overall desirability of the city as a place to live.

 

In the two and a half years since the LUCE was adopted, eight Development Agreements for projects that involve new construction have been approved and 26 Development Agreement applications are pending. The eight Development Agreements approved represent a range of project types, including a research and development facility (Agensys), the expansion of an existing religious institution (St. Monica’s), creative arts studio space (Colorado Creative Studios), conversion of a designated landmark building into a hotel (710 Wilshire), the East Village project with 377 residential units and 25,000 square feet of neighborhood serving retail space, and three downtown mixed use projects with a combined total of 539 residential units, 33 of which will be deed restricted on-site affordable rental units. As required by City ordinance and California State law, these projects are all consistent with the policies contained in the 2010 LUCE.

 

The Development Agreement applications submitted since the adoption of the LUCE represent a large amount of development and have resulted in a high level of concern from residents and decision makers. The issue of development was frequently raised during the recent City Council election as well as at the Santa Monica Talks series of community meetings held in November. Additionally, community meetings and hearings on development projects are well attended by residents who often express concerns related to traffic and the overall amount and pace of new development.

 

In addition to development activity in the City of Santa Monica, the City of Los Angeles, which surrounds Santa Monica on three sides, continues to plan and build new residential and commercial projects, including a large final phase of the Playa Vista development. These projects, which are outside of the City’s control, add traffic and congestion to Santa Monica streets and infrastructure. And unlike development in Santa Monica, the City has very limited ability to influence the scale of development, the mix of uses, or the proximity to transit for new development in surrounding communities.

 

Development Agreement Application Review Process

Prior to the submittal of a Development Agreement application, staff meets with potential applicants to determine if a proposed project is consistent with City policy and applicable codes. As a result of these early meetings, projects are sometimes modified, reduced in size, or abandoned. The number of Development Agreement applications that reach the City Council for consideration is far less than the number of ideas and concepts presented to staff by potential applicants.

 

SMMC Chapter 9.48 outlines the basic procedures for processing of Development Agreement applications. The City has augmented those procedures with the establishment of a “float-up” process that allows for early review of proposed Development Agreements. The float-up process was developed to provide an applicant with early feedback to ensure that they did not invest time and pay the costs for environmental review if the City decision makers were not interested in pursuing a Development Agreement on the project.

 

Additionally, the float-up process was created because of the significant amount of staff time, developer resources, and community engagement that is necessary to bring a Development Agreement project to a public hearing. The length and complexity of the review process for Development Agreement applications allows the process to inform the applicant, staff and decision makers regarding the potential negative impacts of a project, as well as the potential benefits. The float-up discussion also:

 

·         Sets community expectations for a proposed project with the opportunity to signal to a developer if project concepts are in line with those expectations and community benefits

·         Allows the community to provide wide-ranging, early input on a project

·         Identifies key points to direct staff in development agreement negotiations

·         Shapes a project while it is still in a conceptual stage in key areas such as land use, building form and massing, access and site design

·         Assesses whether the City is interested in pursuing the proposed Development Agreement at the proposed site or at all

 

The information obtained from the float up process often results in modifications to the project proposal in terms of mix of uses, size of buildings, and other aspects of the Development Agreement negotiations. Ultimately, if it is determined through the review process that the project is not consistent with City policy and the benefits of a project are outweighed by the negative impacts, Council can deny the Development Agreement application.

 

Once approved, Development Agreement projects are typically provided more time to obtain a building permit than projects approved under a Development Review or Conditional Use Permit, sometimes up to ten years. As a result, the completion of construction of an approved project may not occur until several years after approval of the Development Agreement. In some cases, Development Agreements expire, the entitlements are lost, and the projects are not built.

 

Discussion

Pending Development Agreements

The 26 Development Agreement applications for new developments currently pending review feature a range of project types, including three hotels, a new downtown movie theater, a new auto dealership, an addition to an existing private school, and several mixed use residential developments, some of which include creative arts/studio space and neighborhood serving retail. Each of the residential projects would provide a minimum of 10% on-site affordable units, which could result in a combined total of approximately 297 deed restricted on-site affordable rental units. Since these projects are Development Agreements, however, the number of affordable units to be provided is negotiable. The following chart represents the land use type and amount of square footage proposed in the 26 pending Development Agreement applications.

 

 

 

 

Land Use Type

Gross Square Footage

Percentage

Multi-family Residential

(2,972 units) 1,961,800

60.8%

Neighborhood Serving Retail

214,000

6.6%

Theater

(2,167 seats) 83,000

2.6%

Hotel

(544 rooms) 318,500

9.9%

Creative/Arts/Studio Space

550,600

17.0%

General Office

0

0.0%

Education

29,400

0.9%

Auto dealership

70,000

2.2%

Total

3,227,300

100%

 

Because Santa Monica is generally a built-out city, new projects typically result in the demolition of existing building square footage. The pending applications include the proposed removal of approximately 757,400 square feet of floor area. Therefore, the 26 pending applications represent a net increase of built square footage in the city of 2,469,900. The following chart represents the potential net increase in the land use type and the amount of square footage proposed in the 26 pending Development Agreement applications.

 

Land Use Type

Net Square Footage

Percentage

Multi-family Residential

(2,964 units) 1,953,800

74.4%

Neighborhood Serving Retail

142,200

5.4%

Theater

(570 seats) 54,000

2.0%

Hotel

(248 rooms) 191,000

7.3%

Creative/Arts/Studio Space

230,400

8.8%

Education

24,600

0.9%

Auto dealership

31,800

1.2%

Subtotal

2,627,800

100%

General Office

-130,900

 

Total

2,469,900

 

The numbers in the two preceding charts are based on current applications and plans for pending Development Agreement projects. Project square footages and mix of uses tend to change through the entitlement process and the numbers represented in the charts are estimates based on current knowledge.

 

Development Agreement Application Processing

The 26 pending Development Agreement applications fall into two categories in terms of application processing. Twelve of the applications, which are for larger mixed-use projects, visitor-serving uses such as hotels and movie theaters and an auto dealership, require the preparation of an analysis under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), most likely an Environmental Impact Report (EIR). The preparation of an EIR for a project can add significant time and expense to the entitlement process. Staff has determined that the other 14 applications appear to be exempt from CEQA. Thirteen are for mixed-use projects located within a one half mile radius of a major transit stop and one is for a new science building at Crossroads School for Arts and Sciences, which is exempt because it is considered a minor addition to an existing campus.

 

Development Agreement Applications that Require an EIR

The map and chart below show the location and describe the status of the 12 pending Development Agreement projects that under CEQA require the preparation of an EIR. These projects are all subject to an extensive public review process which includes a community meeting, float ups, and final hearings before the Planning Commission and City Council. Other than visitor-serving uses in the Downtown and an auto dealership on Santa Monica Boulevard, most of these projects are generally larger mixed use developments located in the Bergamot area or Pico corridor. A more complete description of pending projects can be found in Attachment 1.

 

NO

NAME

ADDRESS

STATUS

AREA

TIER

1

Miramar Hotel

1133 Ocean Ave /
101 Wilshire Blvd

EIR Underway

Downtown

3

2

AMC Theatre

1318 4th St

EIR Underway

Downtown

3

3

Toyota Dealership

1530 Santa Monica Blvd

Pending

Corridor

2

4

Courtyard Marriott

1554 5th St

EIR Underway

Downtown

3

5

Papermate

1681 26th St

EIR Released

Bergamot

3

6

1802 Santa Monica Boulevard
Mixed Use Residential/Retail

1802 Santa Monica Blvd

EIR Underway

Corridor

2

7

2121 Cloverfied Boulevard
Mixed Use Residential/Retail

2121 Cloverfield Blvd

In Float Up

Corridor

3

8

Roberts Center

2848-2912 Colorado Ave

EIR Released

Bergamot

3

9

2919 Wilshire Blvd
Mixed Use Residential/Retail

2919 Wilshire Blvd

Pending

Corridor

3

10

Paseo Nebraska

3025 Olympic Blvd

In Float-Up

Bergamot

3

11

3402 Pico Boulevard
Mixed Use Residential/Retail

3402 Pico Blvd

In Float-Up

Corridor

3

12

Hampton Inn

501 Colorado Ave

EIR Underway

Downtown

3

 

Development Agreement Applications without an EIR

The map and chart below show the location and describe the status of the 14 pending Development Agreement projects that appear to be exempt from CEQA review.

NO

NAME

ADDRESS

STATUS

AREA

TIER

1

1122 Pico Boulevard
Residential

1122 Pico Blvd

Pending

Corridor

2

2

1318 2nd Street
Mixed Use Residential/Retail

1318 2nd St

Pending

Downtown

3

3

1325 6th Street
Mixed Use Residential/Retail

1325 6th St

Pending

Downtown

3

4

1415 5th Street
Mixed Use Residential/Retail

1415 5th St

Pending

Downtown

3

5

1425 5th Street
Mixed Use Residential/Retail

1425 5th St

Pending

Downtown

3

6

1443 Lincoln Boulevard
Mixed Use Residential/Retail

1443 Lincoln Blvd

Pending

Downtown

3

7

1560 Lincoln Boulevard

 Mixed Use Residential/Retail

1560 Lincoln Blvd

Pending

Downtown

3

8

1601 Lincoln Boulevard
Mixed Use Residential/Retail

1601 Lincoln Blvd

Pending

Downtown

3

9

1650 Lincoln Boulevard
Mixed Use Residential/Retail

1650 Lincoln Blvd

Pending

Downtown

3

10

1660 Lincoln Boulevard
Mixed Use Residential/Retail

1660 Lincoln Blvd

Pending

Downtown

3

11

Crossroads School
Science Learning Center

1731 20th St

Pending

Corridor

2

12

3008 Santa Monica Boulevard
Mixed Use Residential/Retail

3008 Santa Monica Blvd

Pending

Corridor

3

13

3032 Wilshire Blvd
Mixed Use Residential/Retail

3032 Wilshire Blvd

Pending

Corridor

3

14

525 Colorado Avenue
Mixed Use Residential/Retail

525 Colorado Ave

Pending

Downtown

3

 

There are currently 14 pending projects that appear to qualify for a CEQA exemption. These include the construction of a new science building at Crossroads School for Arts and Sciences, and 13 mixed-use projects that appear to qualify under State law for an exemption from CEQA because the projects are located within one half mile of a major transit stop. These projects represent a combined total of over 1000 residential units, located primarily in the Downtown, but in all cases within close proximity to transit.

 

The residential units in these proposed developments would provide additional opportunities for Santa Monica workers to also live in the city, which would help address the existing jobs/housing imbalance that contributes to local and regional traffic congestion. As required by the City’s Affordable Housing Production Program (AHPP), at least 10% of the units in these projects will be deed restricted affordable units. The exact number of units, bedroom mix, and level of affordability will be determined through the project review and Development Agreement negotiation process.

 

Processing Challenge

The processing and review of the large number of pending Development Agreement applications in conjunction with the preparation of the Downtown Specific Plan, Bergamot Area Plan and the Zoning Ordinance present a challenge for staff as well as the various decision making bodies. There is limited capacity to process Development Agreement applications from the perspective of ARB, Planning Commission and City Council workload and agenda management, staff time needed to thoroughly evaluate a complex project and negotiate Development Agreement terms, and the availability of evenings to calendar community meetings in light of the broad range of public meetings involving land use issues.

 

Additionally, the 26 Development Agreement applications are being reviewed and processed as several major planning efforts called for by the LUCE are underway, including the Bergamot Area Plan, the Downtown Specific Plan and the Zoning Ordinance. While the various plans are not required to be adopted by Council prior to action on the pending Development Agreements, it is important that the plans be far enough along to adequately inform decisions made related to pending applications.

 

Staff is proposing modifications to the review process for both categories of applications; those that require an EIR and those that are exempt from CEQA. These changes would slow the pace of development which would help with capacity issues and allow for plans to further advance.

 

Proposed Development Agreement Process for Projects that Require an EIR

For projects that require the preparation of an EIR, staff is proposing maintaining the current review process, with the addition of an Architectural Review Board (ARB) float-up, which would occur after the community meeting and before the Planning Commission float-up. This additional ARB review would provide the applicant with an early indication of any design issues and allow the ARB to make recommendations to inform the Planning Commission discussion on the project. The project would still be required to return to ARB for final design review if the Development Agreement is approved by City Council. With the addition of the ARB float up, the process for review of DA projects not exempt from CEQA would be as follows:

 

1.    Community meeting

2.    ARB float-up (new step)

3.    Planning Commission float-up

4.    City Council float-up

5.    EIR scoping meeting

6.    45-day public review period of the draft EIR

7.    Planning Commission hearing on the final project

8.    City Council hearing on final Development Agreement

9.    ARB review of final building design, colors, materials, landscaping and signage, subject to Development Agreement negotiations

 

The addition of the ARB float-up would not add significant time to the overall process of a Development Agreement application. Under a typical timeline and work load, Development Agreement applications that require an EIR, which are not subject to Permit Streamlining requirements, can take from two to three years to process.

 

However, while staff will continue to bring projects forward to the ARB, Planning Commission and City Council when the project is ready and when agenda space is available, there is a limited capacity on the part of staff, the ARB, the Planning Commission and City Council to hold hearings and review applications. For example, since each project requires at least two hearings before the Planning Commission (one float-up and one final hearing), assuming the Planning Commission can hear one Development Agreement application per month, it would take 52 months (over 4 years) for the Planning Commission to hold hearings on the 26 pending Development Agreement applications. Since some of the pending Development Agreements have already had Planning Commission float-ups, this time line would be reduced, but it is important to acknowledge that because of the large number of pending projects, the current timeline of two to three years would likely extend to at least three to four years.

 

Proposed Development Agreement Process for Projects that do not Require an EIR

To date, projects exempt from CEQA have not been subject to float-up review. The float-up process was developed to provide an applicant with early feedback to ensure that they did not invest time and pay the costs for environmental review if the City decision makers were not interested in pursuing a Development Agreement on the project.  Since an EIR is not required for these projects, there is less financial risk for the applicant to proceed without a float-up. Furthermore, when the interim zoning ordinance was adopted, Council recommended that Development Agreement processing be streamlined for smaller and/or less controversial projects, and these CEQA exempt projects appeared to be good candidates for the streamlined process.

 

However, in processing these CEQA exempt projects, staff has determined that it would be beneficial to obtain early input from the Planning Commission and community at a Planning Commission float-up, especially with respect to the negotiation of appropriate community benefits. Additionally, given the number of pending projects and the fact that these CEQA exempt applications potentially represent over 1,000 residential units, staff recommends the addition of a Planning Commission float up to provide the Commission an opportunity for early input into the overall massing and composition of these projects. Staff is also recommending the addition of an ARB float-up for these projects. As described in relation to the ARB float up for non-CEQA exempt applications, the additional ARB review would provide the applicant with an early indication of any design issues and allow the ARB to make recommendations to inform the Planning Commission discussion on the project.

 

With the recommended modifications, the process for review of DA projects that are exempt from CEQA would be as follows:

 

1.    Community meeting

2.    ARB float-up (new step)

3.    Planning Commission float-up (new step)

4.    Planning Commission hearing on the final project

5.    City Council hearing on the project and negotiated Development Agreement

6.    ARB review of final building design, colors, materials, landscaping and signage subject to Development Agreement negotiations

 

The recommended process is similar to the review process recommended for the projects that require an EIR, except that it does not include a City Council float-up.  The lack of a City Council float up from the process for CEQA exempt projects is in recognition of the fact that these projects are consistent with established City policy for locating higher density housing in close proximity to major transit stops. It is not intended to indicate that the projects will ultimately be approved by Council, but that from a policy perspective, the project is consistent and should therefore move forward into the review, Development Agreement negotiation and hearing stages.

 

While Development Agreement projects that are exempt from CEQA do not require the preparation and circulation of an environmental review document, they are still subject to a series of community meetings and hearings. Under a typical timeline and work load, these types of projects can take over a year to process. While staff will continue to bring projects forward to the various boards and commissions when the project is ready and when agenda space is available, there is a limited capacity on the part of staff, the ARB, the Planning Commission and City Council to hold hearings and review projects. Therefore, existing applications and any new ones submitted in the near future will be subject to extended timelines.

 

Moratorium on Development

In this report staff has outlined a path forward for managing the large number of pending Development Agreement applications.  Another potential approach would be for Council to direct staff to return with an ordinance to place a moratorium on the processing of development applications.  In order to impose a moratorium, state law requires both urgency findings and a four-fifths vote, which for a 7-member council means 6 affirmative votes (Government Code section 65858). Moreover, an urgency ordinance which affects multi-family housing projects cannot be extended without findings demonstrating that these projects would have a specific adverse impact on public health and safety based on objective written standards. (Government Code section 65858(c).) As an alternative to a moratorium, the Council could consider amending its Development Agreement Ordinance at Municipal Code chapter 9.48 to require that in areas of the City in which a specific or area plan has been initiated or in which the LUCE requires that preparation of a specific or area plan, that plan must be in effect before a Development Agreement in that area may be processed.  While this is an option, staff has concerns about this approach because it would prevent all projects from moving forward, even those considered desirable by the community, and could result in a large back log of projects that will require processing when the moratorium ends.

 

Pending Administrative Projects

Administrative projects are development applications that are reviewed for precise conformance with the Zoning Code and are approved at an administrative level. As allowed by the interim zoning ordinance and consistent with LUCE policies, the majority of administrative projects are 100% affordable housing developments (up to 80% of AMI) of not more than 50 units.  There are currently four administrative projects pending approval. Each of these projects include 50 residential units and are located in the downtown area. A detailed description of these projects can be found in attachment 3.

 

Residential Unit Size

Feedback received through the Housing Element update outreach process has identified a desire for a variety of types and sizes of market rate housing in new multi-family projects near transit in order to offer attractive and feasible opportunities for a range of individuals and families.  During outreach to boards and commissions, there was clear concern expressed about the number of small units in recently built and currently proposed in housing projects. Concerns were related to potential unintended consequences, such as the potential impact such units might have on the future population because of an assumption that small units cater to single person households. Many participants at outreach meetings also expressed concerns about the need for family housing and the desire for two and three bedroom units.

 

Staff is proposing the establishment of a policy for market-rate residential units with an average unit size of 900 gross square feet measured in gross floor area (area of all parts of building with residential purpose, including hallways and other interior common area).  This would allow for the continued production of some smaller units, balanced by some larger units resulting in a range of housing options within a single development. Staff is also recommending a minimum individual unit-size based on the established AHPP standard.

 

Proposed Development Agreement Process

Staff seeks Council’s approval to proceed with the processing of pending and future Development Agreement applications as follows:

 

1.    The Development Agreement process for projects that require an EIR will be augmented to include an ARB float-up, and the processing time for such applications will be extended to ensure that projects are carefully considered and properly informed by the applicable land use policies.

2.    The Development Agreement process for projects that do not require an EIR will be augmented to include an ARB float-up and a Planning Commission float up and the processing time for such applications will be extended to ensure that projects are carefully considered and properly informed by the applicable land use polices.

3.    Staff will negotiate Development Agreements for mixed-use housing projects with a goal of achieving a minimum average unit size of 900 square feet measured in gross floor area and minimum individual unit-size based on the established AHPP standards.

 

Financial Impacts & Budget Actions

 

The recommendations presented in this report do not have any budgetary or fiscal impact.

 

Prepared by: David Martin, Director of PCD

 

Approved:

 

Forwarded to Council:

 

 

 

 

 

 

David Martin, Director

Planning and Community Development

 

Rod Gould

City Manager

 

Attachments:

1.    Approved and Pending Development Agreements

2.    CEQA Section 21159.24

3.    Pending Administrative Projects

 


ATTACHMENT 1

 

 

 

 

APPROVED AND PENDING

DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENTS

 

 


APPROVED DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENTS

 

·         Agensys.  This Development Agreement allowed the addition of 31,200 square feet of floor area to a previously entitled 130,000 square foot project to create a research and manufacturing facility for Agensys, a company engaged in the research and development of pharmaceuticals for the treatment and prevention of cancer. The complex, which is currently under construction, will consolidate several existing Agencys facilities into one location, within walking distance of the Bergamot Expo station.  The project includes a pedestrian path that breaks up a large industrial parcel and provides a direct pedestrian connection from the neighborhood east of Stewart Street to the Bergamot Station arts complex and the Expo light rail line.

 

·         St. Monica’s Catholic Church. Currently under construction, this project will include a new community center, make improvements to the elementary and high school facilities, and add a 154 space subterranean parking garage to the existing church campus.

 

·         7th and Arizona Mixed Use Housing. Similar in height and scale to the mixed-use housing developments that have been constructed in the downtown over the past several years, this building on the southeast corner of 7th Street and Arizona Avenue will provide approximately 8,500 square feet of neighborhood serving retail space and 106 residential rental units, including 11 on-site very-low income units.  The building, which is currently under construction, replaces a 13,500 square foot office building and a surface level parking lot.

 

·         Colorado Creative Studios. This development is envisioned as a headquarters opportunity for a studio/entertainment company.  In addition to 170,000 square feet of creative office space and 9,000 square feet of neighborhood serving retail, the project will provide over 600 parking spaces, some of which will be available for shared parking within the Mixed Use Creative District.  The layout of the project is consistent with the vision contained in the LUCE for the Mixed-Use Creative District, in that it allows for the extension of Pennsylvania Avenue east of Stewart, which will break up the large industrial block and facilitate access and circulation in the area. The Colorado Creative Studio, which will replace approximately 38,000 square feet of manufacturing space, has not yet been approved by the Architectural Review Board and it is anticipated that construction will not commence for several months. Under the terms of the Development Agreement, the applicant has up to five years from the approval date to commence construction.

 

·         710 Wilshire Hotel. As part of this development, the Wilshire Professional Building, a designated City Landmark constructed in 1928, will be restored and converted from an office building to a hotel, resulting in the removal of 30,000 square feet of downtown office space. The project, which also includes the construction of a new building on the site of an existing surface level parking lot, will include a 285 room hotel and approximately 19,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space. Design plans for this project have not been submitted and it is anticipated that building permits will not be issued anytime soon. The Development Agreement for the project allows the applicant up to seven years from the approval date to obtain a building permit.

 

·         4th and Broadway Mixed Use Housing.  This project, which will replace an automotive repair facility and a surface level parking lot on the northeast corner of 4th Street and Broadway in the heart of Downtown Santa Monica, will include approximately 9,800 square feet of neighborhood serving retail and 56 residential rental units, including six on-site affordable units.  Since the approval of the Development Agreement, the applicant has elected to request an amendment to the Development Agreement which would allow the addition of an automated parking system with space for up to 50 cars.  The Development Agreement amendment will be presented to the City Council within the next few months.

 

·         Village Trailer Park.  This project, which was approved by City Council last month, would provide 216 condominiums, 161 apartments, and 24,940 square feet of neighborhood commercial space, 4250 of which could be converted to production use.

 

PENDING DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENTS

 

PROJECTS REQUIRING EIRs

 

·         Hines/Papermate. The Council float up for this mixed use development was completed in August 2011.  The project proposes 498 residential units, 30,000 square feet of neighborhood commercial, and 375,000 square feet of creative office space.  The Final EIR is underway.

 

·         Roberts Center. The Council float up for this mixed use development was completed in July 2011.  The project proposes 231 residential units, 23,000 square feet of neighborhood commercial space, and 37,000 square feet of creative office space. The Final EIR is underway.

 

·         AMC Theater. At an August 2010 City Council Float-Up hearing, the Council directed staff to proceed with negotiations on this project, which would result in the construction of a 12-screen state of the art theater complex on the existing site of Parking Structure #3. The draft EIR public review began in October and closed on November 26th.  Response to Comments and the Final EIR are currently in preparation.

 

·         Courtyard by Marriott/Hampton Inn.  An EIR is currently in preparation for two hotel developments proposed at the intersection of the Colorado Avenue and 5th Street.   In April, 2012 the Council directed staff to initiate negotiations for these two projects.  Courtyard by Marriott would be located at the northwest corner of Colorado Avenue and 5th Street and provide 136 guest room and approximately 78,750 square feet of floor area within a six story, 80’ height envelope.  Two subterranean levels would accommodate 100 parking spaces.  The Hampton Inn would be located at the northeast corner of Colorado and 5th.  This six story hotel would include 143 guest rooms and 100 parking spaces in a two level subterranean garage.  The EIR is underway and it is anticipated that the Draft EIR will be released in early 2013.

 

·         Miramar Hotel. Incorporating both preservation of the Landmark Moreton Bay Fig Tree and rehabilitation of the historic Palisades building, this proposal would redevelop the existing hotel property with new food and beverage facilities, spa, banquet facilities, retail space, and condominiums on the upper floors of the new building.  Total project square footage would be approximately 556,000 square feet and would also include an affordable housing component on hotel owned property located on Second Street.  Based on comments received at the Council Float Up hearing in April 2012, redesign is currently underway.  Once plans are resubmitted, the project EIR will be initiated, followed by the EIR review and comment period and Planning Commission and City Council hearings.

 

·         3402 Pico Boulevard. This Development Agreement would replace an existing office complex that formerly housed the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences with a mixed use development.  Located at the eastern edge of the City, the project proposes 300 residential units and approximately 5,000 square feet of ground floor commercial space divided within four separate buildings.  The project height ranges between two and four stories.  A community meeting was held in January, 2012.  Neighborhood concerns included the project’s density and potential traffic impacts.  The Planning Commission held a float-up hearing in July, 2012.  While the Commission recommended that Council authorize Development Agreement negotiations, the Commission also recommended that particular attention be paid to the project density and it relation to trip generation.  Council held a float-up hearing on this project in November, 2012 and direct staff to proceed with the preparation of an EIR to study various alternatives for the site, but did not authorize the negotiation of a Development Agreement.  Another float-up before the City Council will be occur after preparation of the EIR.

 

·         2121 Cloverfield Boulevard. Located at the northeast corner of Pico and Cloverfield Boulevards across from Virginia Avenue Park, this mixed use development would replace an existing two story office complex.  The project would provide 157 residential units and 23,000 square feet of ground floor commercial space. The mix of residential units includes studio, one bedroom, two bedroom, and three bedroom units.  The project had a community meeting on October 22, 2012 and will require a Planning Commission and City Council float up, an EIR scoping meeting, 45 day EIR public review period, and Planning Commission and City Council hearings.

 

·         Paseo Nebraska. Located at 3025 Olympic Boulevard, this project is a new application for the site, which has been subject to other development proposals.  The project would provide a grouping of four, five-story, mixed use buildings on a 3.27 acre parcel.  A total of 545 residential units, 272 of which would be affordable to moderate income households, are proposed in addition to 80,000 square feet of creative office and retail space.  A three level subterranean garage would provide 1000 parking spaces.  The project will be subject to a community meeting, Planning Commission and City Council float up, an EIR scoping meeting, 45 day EIR public review period, and Planning Commission and City Council hearings.

 

·         1802 Santa Monica Boulevard.  This project involves the construction of a three story mixed use building that would include 24 studio and two one bedroom units, a 13,590 auto dealership use, and a 1,390 square foot restaurant.  A four level subterranean garage would provide 130 parking spaces.  The three parcel site is composed of two vacant lots and an eight unit apartment building.  A draft EIR is currently being prepared.

 

·         2919 Wilshire Boulevard. Filed in early November, this five story, 83 unit development would include 9000 square feet of ground floor neighborhood commercial retail space on the site of the Jerry’s Liquor Store.

 

·         1530 Santa Monica Boulevard.  This project, which was filed in early December. 2012, is located on the southwest corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and 16th Street, The proposed urban format auto dealer would provide a new home for Santa Monica Toyota. 

 

PROJECTS EXEMPT FROM CEQA

 

·         1318 2nd Street. This project would replace an existing 11,500 square foot office building and surface level parking lot with a three story mixed use project containing 56 residential units, 6,800 square feet of neighborhood serving retail space and 66 subterranean parking spaces. The project is consistent in height and scale with the surrounding buildings and the standards contained in the Bayside District Specific Plan. A community meeting was held for this project in May of this year.

 

·         1415 5th Street.  Located in the downtown on the east side of Fifth Street between Broadway and Santa Monica Boulevard, this project was filed as an eight story, 84 foot tall building, containing 4,500 square feet of ground floor retail and 100 units over a five level subterranean garage.  However, because the submitted project is non-compliant with the General Plan six story maximum height limit, the project is currently in redesign.  A community meeting will be scheduled and Development Agreement negotiations will commence once project plans are resubmitted.

 

·         1425 5th Street.  This companion project to the 1415 5th Street development features a similar mix of uses, square footage, and height.  The project is also in redesign and will advance through the application process following plan resubmittal.

 

·         1325 6th Street.  Similar in height and scale to the mixed-use housing developments that have been constructed in the downtown over the past several years, this building located on the east side of 6th Street adjacent to the Santa Monica Main Library parking lot, would provide approximately 2,400 square feet of neighborhood serving retail space and 87 residential units, including 66 single room occupancy units, five one-bedroom units, and 16 two-bedroom units.  12 of which would be restricted to very-low income tenants.  The building would replace a surface parking lot currently serving 52.  A community meeting was held for this project on August 30, 2012.

 

·         525 Colorado Avenue.  Proposed as an eight-story, 84 foot tall mixed use building, this project is currently in redesign due to non-compliance with the General Plan number of stories requirement.  The submitted project includes 77 units with approximately 3000 square feet of ground floor commercial space.  The number of units will likely change due to the project redesign.

 

·         1443 Lincoln Boulevard.  This project would replace existing retail buildings with a six-story mixed use project containing 100 residential units and approximately 2,800 square feet of retail space.  Four levels of subterranean parking are also proposed.  The building, which would total 40,000 square feet of floor area, conforms to the height and floor area standards established in the LUCE.  A community meeting will be scheduled to introduce the project to the community and obtain input on potential community benefits to consider during Development Agreement negotiations.

 

·         1601 Lincoln Boulevard.  The existing Norm’s restaurant located at the southeast corner of Lincoln Boulevard and Colorado Avenue would be demolished as part of this proposal and replaced with a five story, C-shaped building, containing 100 units and 13,600 square feet of ground floor commercial space.  The residential unit mix includes 28 studios, 69 one-bedroom units, and three two-bedroom units.  A community meeting was held on November 8th, 2012.

 

·         1650 Lincoln Boulevard.  This proposal would replace existing single story buildings with a six-story mixed use development containing 1500 square feet of ground floor retail, 90 residential units, and two levels of subterranean parking with 86 parking spaces and two motorcycle spaces.  The project provides one and two-bedroom units, some of which would be affordable to low income and senior households.  A community meeting was held for the project and it is currently pending Planning Commission and City Council consideration once Development Agreement negotiations are completed.

 

·         1660 Lincoln Boulevard. A bookend to the project immediately to the north at 1650 Lincoln, this project would also replace an existing one story building with a six story mixed use development composed of 1500 square feet of ground floor retail, 82 residential units, and a two level subterranean garage with 79 parking spaces and two motorcycle spaces.  As with the neighboring project, this development would include one and two-bedroom units, some of which would be affordable to low income and senior households.  A community meeting was held for the project and it is currently pending Planning Commission and City Council consideration once Development Agreement negotiations are completed.

 

·         3008 Santa Monica.  Located at the southeast corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Stanford Street, this project proposes a three story mixed use building with 4,238 square feet of ground floor retail and 30 residential units above a two level subterranean garage with 68 parking spaces and 40 bicycle parking spaces.  The project would provide a mix of studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom units.  A community meeting was held on October 18, 2012.

 

·         1122 Pico Boulevard.  Located along the south side of Pico Boulevard between 11th Street and Euclid Street on a vacant site, this project proposes a four story, 32 unit building with four very-low income units.  Subterranean parking would provide 64 parking spaces accessed from the rear alley.  A community meeting was held for this project on September 13, 2012 and negotiations with the applicant have been initiated.

 

·         1731 20th Street.  A proposed new science building for Crossroads School would be three stories, 45 feet tall, and total 29,356 square feet.  A community meeting was held for this project on November 26, 2012.

 

·         3032 Wilshire Boulevard. This project is on the site of an existing Bank of America building. The five story development would provide 100 units and 12,000 square feet of ground floor neighborhood commercial space.

 

·         1560 Lincoln Boulevard.  The existing Denny’s restaurant located on the northwest corner of Lincoln Boulevard and Colorado Avenue would be demolished as part of this proposal and replaced with a five story mixed-use development.  The project would contain 100 residential units and 13,680 square feet of ground floor retail space.


ATTACHMENT 2

 

 

 

CEQA SECTION 21159.24

(PUBLIC RESOURCES CODE)

 


CEQA SECTION 21159.24

(PUBLIC RESOURCES CODE)

 

(a)  Except as provided in subdivision (b), this division does not apply to a project if all of the following criteria are met:
1)    The project is a residential project on an infill site.
2)    The project is located within an urbanized area.
3)    The project satisfies the criteria of Section 21159.21.
4)    Within five years of the date that the application for the project is deemed complete pursuant to Section 65943 of the Government Code, community-level environmental review was certified or adopted.
5)    The site of the project is not more than four acres in total area.
6)    The project does not contain more than 100 residential units.
7)    Either of the following criteria are met:
(A) (i)   At least 10 percent of the housing is sold to families of moderate income, or not less than 10 percent of the housing is rented to families of low income, or not less than 5 percent of the housing is rented to families of very low income.
      (ii)  The project developer provides sufficient legal commitments to the appropriate local agency to ensure the continued availability and use of the housing units for very low, low-, and moderate-income households at monthly housing costs determined pursuant to paragraph (3) of subdivision (h) of Section 65589.5 of the Government Code.
(B) The project developer has paid or will pay in-lieu fees pursuant to a local ordinance in an amount sufficient to result in the development of an equivalent number of units that would otherwise be required pursuant to subparagraph (A).
8)    The project is within one-half mile of a major transit stop.
9)    The project does not include any single level building that exceeds 100,000 square feet.
10) The project promotes higher density infill housing. A project with a density of at least 20 units per acre shall be conclusively presumed to promote higher density infill housing. A project with a density of at least 10 units per acre and a density greater than the average density of the residential properties within 1,500 feet shall be presumed to promote higher density housing unless the preponderance of the evidence demonstrates otherwise.
(b)  Notwithstanding subdivision (a), this division shall apply to a development project that meets the criteria described in subdivision (a), if any of the following occur:
1)    There is a reasonable possibility that the project will have a project-specific, significant effect on the environment due to unusual circumstances.
2)    Substantial changes with respect to the circumstances under which the project is being undertaken that are related to the project have occurred since community-level environmental review was certified or adopted.
3)    New information becomes available regarding the circumstances under which the project is being undertaken and that is related to the project that was not known, and could not have been known, at the time that community-level environmental review was certified or adopted.
(c)  If a project satisfies the criteria described in subdivision (a), but is not exempt from this division as a result of satisfying the criteria described in subdivision (b), the analysis of the environmental effects of the project in the environmental impact report or the negative declaration shall be limited to an analysis of the project-specific effect of the projects and any effects identified pursuant to paragraph (2) or (3) of subdivision (b).
(d)  For the purposes of this section, "residential" means a use consisting of either of the following:
1)    Residential units only.
2)    Residential units and primarily neighborhood-serving goods, services, or retail uses that do not exceed 15 percent of the total floor area of the project.

 


ATTACHMENT 3

 

 

 

PENDING

ADMINISTRATIVE PROJECTS

 


PENDING ADMINISTRATIVE PROJECTS

 

 

·         1437 5th Street.  Six story mixed use development with 50 unit affordable housing units, ground floor retail, and restaurant on the sixth floor.  Pending Planning review.

 

·         1318 Lincoln Boulevard.  Five story mixed use development with 50 affordable units and ground floor retail.  Pending Planning review.

 

·         1438 Lincoln Boulevard.  Five story mixed use development with 50 affordable units and ground floor retail.  Pending Planning review.

 

·         1430 Lincoln Boulevard.  Five story mixed use development with 50 affordable units and ground floor retail.  Pending Planning review.