City Council Meeting: January 8, 2013

Agenda Item: 5-A  

To:                   Mayor and City Council 

From:              David Martin, Director of Planning and Community Development

Subject:          Supplemental Information on 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:

 

1.    Affirm shifting the responsibility for hosting the initial Development Agreement project community meeting from City staff to the project applicant and direct staff to provide applicant with guidelines to ensure meetings are consistent with City practice.

2.    Affirm revising the float up process as follows:

a.    Projects requiring an Environmental Impact Report (EIR): replace Planning Commission float up with a combined float up meeting of Planning Commission (PC) and four members of the Architectural Review Board (ARB); and

b.    Projects exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA): Add a float up float up with a combined meeting of Planning Commission (PC) and four members of the Architectural Review Board (ARB).

3.    Direct staff to develop possible approaches to prioritizing projects that meet certain criteria and return to Council at a future date.

4.    Direct staff to negotiate applications for mixed-use housing project with the goal of achieving the recommended average unit size of 900 square feet gross floor area and minimum unit sizes consistent with the City’s Affordable Housing Production Program (AHPP), as suggested in this report.

 

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 a current total of 32 Development Agreement applications pending review as of December 21, 2012. 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, it is necessary to review current Development Agreement processing procedures and determine if modifications to the process are appropriate.

 

 

Background

This supplemental staff report contains updated charts and maps which include the seven Development Agreement applications received since the distribution of the December 11th staff report (Attachment A), as well as deleting one project that has been withdrawn (AMC Theatre).  It also includes additional suggestions for modifications to the Development Agreement review process and further discussion related to minimum and average unit sizes.  Additionally, it requests Council feedback on whether or not certain types of projects should be prioritized for processing.

 

Discussion

Pending Development Agreements

There are currently 32 Development Agreement applications pending review.  The charts below have been updated to reflect the amount of square footage proposed in the pending Development Agreement applications.

 

Land Use Type

Gross Square Footage

Percentage

Multi-family Residential

(3,403 units) 2,272,785

64.0%

Neighborhood Serving Retail

276,478

7.8%

Hotel

(544 rooms) 318,500

9.0%

Creative/Arts/Studio Space

550,600

15.5%

General Office

0

0.0%

Education

29,400

0.8%

Auto dealership

102,500

3.0%

Total

3,550,263

100%

Because Santa Monica is generally a built-out city, new projects typically result in the demolition of existing building square footage.  The following chart represents the potential net increase in the land use type for the 32 pending Development Agreement applications.

 

Land Use Type

Net Square Footage

Percentage

Multi-family Residential

(3,395 units) 2,264,785

78.2%

Neighborhood Serving Retail

121,596

4.2%

Hotel

(248 rooms) 191,000

6.6%

Creative/Arts/Studio Space

230,400

8.0%

Education

24,600

0.9%

Auto dealership

61,000

2.1%

Subtotal

2,893,381

100%

General Office

-130,900

 

Total

2,762,481

 

 

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 often change through the Development Agreement negotiation process and the numbers represented in the charts are estimates based on current knowledge. 

 

Development Agreement Application Processing

The number of pending Development Agreements has increased from 26 to 32 since the distribution of the December 11th staff report. The 32 pending Development Agreement applications fall into two categories in terms of application processing. Twelve of the applications, which are for larger mixed-use projects and visitor-serving uses such as hotels and auto dealerships, require the preparation of an analysis under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), most likely an Environmental Impact Report (EIR). The other 20 applications appear to be exempt from CEQA. Nineteen 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.  In the future, after a Tier 2 approval process has been established, it is possible that some projects would be processed through a discretionary permit process rather than through a Development Agreement process.

 

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.

Description: \\Csmfs1\Planning and Community Development\PlanningAndCommunityDevelopmentShare\2012 Council Staff Reports\Development Agreement Work Plan\Development Projects JAN13 (EIRs).jpg

 

NO

NAME

ADDRESS

STATUS

AREA

1

Miramar Hotel

1133 Ocean Ave /
101 Wilshire Blvd

EIR Underway

Downtown

2

AMC Theatre

(application withdrawn)

1318 4th St

EIR Underway

Downtown

3*

Mini Cooper Dealership

1400 Santa Monica Blvd

Pending

Corridor

4

Toyota Dealership

1530 Santa Monica Blvd

Pending

Corridor

5

Courtyard Marriott

1554 5th St

EIR Underway

Downtown

6

Papermate

1681 26th St

EIR Released

Bergamot

7

1802 Santa Monica Boulevard
Mixed Use Residential/Retail

1802 Santa Monica Blvd

EIR Underway

Corridor

8

2121 Cloverfied Boulevard
Mixed Use Residential/Retail

2121 Cloverfield Blvd

In Float Up

Corridor

9

Roberts Center

2848-2912 Colorado Ave

EIR Released

Bergamot

10

2919 Wilshire Blvd
Mixed Use Residential/Retail

2919 Wilshire Blvd

Pending

Corridor

11

Paseo Nebraska

3025 Olympic Blvd

In Float-Up

Bergamot

12

3402 Pico Boulevard
Mixed Use Residential/Retail

3402 Pico Blvd

In Float-Up

Corridor

13

Hampton Inn

501 Colorado Ave

EIR Underway

Downtown

*New since December 11, 2012 staff report

 

Development Agreement Applications without an EIR

The map and chart below show the location and describe the status of the 20 pending Development Agreement projects that appear to be exempt from CEQA review.

Description: \\Csmfs1\Planning and Community Development\PlanningAndCommunityDevelopmentShare\2012 Council Staff Reports\Development Agreement Work Plan\Development Projects JAN13 (Exempt).jpg

 

NO

NAME

ADDRESS

STATUS

AREA

1

1122 Pico Boulevard
Residential

1122 Pico Blvd

Pending

Corridor

2

1318 2nd Street
Mixed Use Residential/Retail

1318 2nd St

Pending

Downtown

3

1325 6th Street
Mixed Use Residential/Retail

1325 6th St

Pending

Downtown

4

1415 5th Street
Mixed Use Residential/Retail

1415 5th St

Pending

Downtown

5

1425 5th Street
Mixed Use Residential/Retail

1425 5th St

Pending

Downtown

6

1443 Lincoln Boulevard
Mixed Use Residential/Retail

1443 Lincoln Blvd

Pending

Downtown

7

1560 Lincoln Boulevard

 Mixed Use Residential/Retail

1560 Lincoln Blvd

Pending

Downtown

8

1601 Lincoln Boulevard
Mixed Use Residential/Retail

1601 Lincoln Blvd

Pending

Downtown

9*

1613 Lincoln Boulevard

Mixed Use Residential/Retail

1613 Lincoln Blvd

Pending

Downtown

10*

1637 Lincoln Boulevard

Mixed Use Residential/Retail

1637 Lincoln Blvd

Pending

Downtown

11*

1641 Lincoln Boulevard

Mixed Use Residential/Retail

1641 Lincoln Blvd

Pending

Downtown

12

1650 Lincoln Boulevard
Mixed Use Residential/Retail

1650 Lincoln Blvd

Pending

Downtown

13

1660 Lincoln Boulevard
Mixed Use Residential/Retail

1660 Lincoln Blvd

Pending

Downtown

14

Crossroads School
Science Learning Center

1731 20th St

Pending

Corridor

15*

234 Pico Boulevard

Mixed Use Residential/Retail

234 Pico Blvd

Pending

Corridor

16

3008 Santa Monica Boulevard
Mixed Use Residential/Retail

3008 Santa Monica Blvd

Pending

Corridor

17

3032 Wilshire Blvd
Mixed Use Residential/Retail

3032 Wilshire Blvd

Pending

Corridor

18*

501 Broadway

Mixed Use Residential/Retail

501 Broadway

Pending

Downtown

19

525 Colorado Avenue
Mixed Use Residential/Retail

525 Colorado Ave

Pending

Downtown

20*

601 Colorado Avenue

Mixed Use Residential/Retail

601 Colorado Ave

Pending

Downtown

 

*New since December 11, 2012 staff report

 

 

Processing Challenge

As described in the December 11th staff report, 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 and the additional seven Development Agreement applications received since the distribution of the staff report have added to the challenge. Staff has continued to consider the Development Agreement review process and through this supplemental report has developed additional suggestions for modifying the process to provide sufficient opportunities for input and review, but in a way that is more efficient and minimizes impact on staff resources.

 

Community Meeting

One way to reduce the number of meetings required to be coordinated by staff is to shift the responsibility for the community meeting from staff to the applicant. The current practice is for staff to schedule and host a community meeting as the initial step in the processing of a Development Agreement application.  This practice not only requires staff time for the coordination of the community meeting, it puts staff in a position of representing a project at a time when staff has not yet had an opportunity to formulate a position on the project. As an alternative to the current practice, staff is recommending that the responsibility for the community meeting be shifted to the applicant.  If directed by Council, staff will prepare guidelines for community meetings that will be provided to the applicant to ensure that the meetings are conducted in a manner that is consistent with City practices.  The guidelines would also require a report to be submitted by the applicant following the community meeting.  This report would include details about the meeting including a sign-in sheet and meeting notes, and indicate if and how the project has been modified to address issues raised at the community meeting prior to the applicant submitting a development application to the City.

 

 

ARB and Planning Commission Float Ups

Staff had previously suggested the addition of Architectural Review Board and Planning Commission float ups to provide opportunities for early input.  While staff maintains that there is value in obtaining preliminary and conceptual comments from the ARB and Planning Commission, staff is recommending combining the ARB and Planning Commission float ups into one joint meeting with the Planning Commission and four ARB members. As proposed, the meetings would occur once a month and would focus exclusively on Development Agreement applications. Given the large and growing number of pending projects, the reduction in the number of steps will not mean that Development Agreements are processed more quickly, but it would reduce the burden on staff in that the number of meetings required for each project will be reduced.  Furthermore, it would provide the Planning Commission and a majority of the ARB an opportunity to have a joint discussion about the projects and provide the applicant with preliminary and conceptual comments about the project design and community benefits.

 

Proposed Development Agreement Process for Projects that Require an EIR

For projects that require the preparation of an EIR, staff had proposed maintaining the current review process, with the addition of an Architectural Review Board (ARB) float-up. Since the December Council meeting staff has considered another option that would combine the ARB float up with the Planning Commission float up at a joint meeting with the Planning Commission and four members of the ARB.  The chart below indicates the current process, the proposal contained in the December staff report, and the current recommendation which would shift the responsibility for the community meeting to the applicant and combine the ARB and Planning Commission float ups.

City Process for Development Agreements Subject to CEQA

 

Current Process

December Staff Report

January Proposal

Community Meeting

×

×

(by applicant)

ARB Float-up

 

×

 

PC Float-up

×

×

 

PC/ARB Float-up

 

 

×

CC Float-up

×

×

×

PC Hearing

×

×

×

CC Hearing

×

×

×

ARB Hearing

×

×

×

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 in part 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 ARB and Planning Commission and had recommended the inclusion of an ARB and Planning Commission float-up. However, as previously described for projects subject to CEQA, staff has considered another option that would combine the ARB float up with the Planning Commission float up at a joint meeting with the Planning Commission and four members of the ARB.

 

The chart below indicates the current process, the proposal contained in the December staff report, and the current recommendation which would shift the responsibility for the community meeting to the applicant and combine the ARB and Planning Commission float ups.

 

City Process for Development Agreements Exempt from CEQA

 

Current Process

December Staff Report

January Proposal

Community Meeting

×

×

(by applicant)

ARB Float-up

 

×

 

PC Float-up

 

×

 

ARB/PC Float-up

 

 

×

CC Float-up

 

 

 

PC Hearing

×

×

×

CC Hearing

×

×

×

ARB Hearing

×

×

×

 

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 deferral of City Council review 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, qualifying transit oriented development should move forward into the ARB/PC float up review, Development Agreement negotiation and hearing stages.

 

Priority Projects

The current practice is for Development Agreement applications to be processed in the order in which they are received, regardless of the type of project.  However, in the past the City has provided priority processing for certain types of projects, such as affordable housing. The Council may wish to establish a process where certain projects receive priority processing.  For example, the City could establish criteria to encourage higher percentages of affordable housing units, to support educational institution projects, to encourage projects below a certain height, or to encourage projects that have demonstrated through a traffic study and committed through specific measures to reducing traffic impacts below that of a Tier 1 project on the same site. Moreover, the City could favor those projects that generate the highest ratio of new revenues per traffic generated, such as hotels and auto dealerships. If directed by Council, staff will return with criteria for priority processing of these ideas or others.

 

Residential Unit Size

The December 11th report addresses community concerns regarding small unit sizes in recently built and currently proposed housing projects by proposing the establishment of an average unit size and minimum size for each type. Establishing minimums for projects containing market-rate residential units would provide a guide to staff in negotiating projects through the Development Agreement process.  The two-part recommendation includes:

 

·         Establish an average unit size for a development of 900 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, and

·         Set minimum unit-size guidelines based on established AHPP standards.  The sizes below reflect net square feet (i.e. livable space):

Studio: 500 sq. feet

1 bedroom: 600 sq. feet

2 bedrooms: 850 sq. feet

3 bedrooms 1,080 sq. feet

 

Council Direction

Staff seeks Council’s direction on modifications to the current Development Agreement processing procedures related to the following items:

 

1.    Shifting of the responsibility for the hosting of the Community meeting from staff to the project applicant.

2.    Combination of the ARB and Planning Commission float ups into a joint meeting comprised of the Planning Commission and four members of the ARB.

3.    Council direction on the prioritization of projects that meet certain criteria, to be determined and returned to Council at a future date.

4.    Negotiation of Development Agreements for mixed-use housing projects with a goal of achieving a minimum average unit size 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

 

 

 

 

Attachment A: December 11, 2012 CC Meeting, Item 8B -

 

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