City Planning Service Enhancements: Online Application Appointment Bookings + 311 Transition
In an effort to improve service, City Planning is implementing two service changes effective July 19:
1) Online Appointment System for Planning Application Submittal: Planning application appointments will move to an automated booking system. You may check availability, schedule, change, and cancel appointments using this tool. Starting July 19, instead of e-mailing your appointment request, please use the new appointment system.
2) General Inquiries for City Planning Moving to 311: All general customer inquiries for City Planning will move to 311. The 311 system will replace the general e-mail and phone line as the best way to reach a planner for zoning questions and consultations. Note that if you submitted an application and paid fees, please continue to contact your assigned planner directly. Starting July 19, please use any of the following methods to contact a planner for your general zoning questions:
NEW VIRTUAL PLAN REVIEW AND PERMITTING SERVICES
The City of Santa Monica appreciates your patience while adjusting to alternative ways of delivering permitting services during the pandemic.
In an effort to provide counter consult services, permit issuance, and return more closely to typical timelines for qualifying Same-Day Review projects (i.e., over-the-counter permits), the City is exploring options available with virtual counter services by appointment. The services below are currently being offered, as we continue to strive to expand our virtual service offerings.
Appointments can be scheduled starting Monday, November 2, 2020. Currently, the following services are available:
- Review and approval of Same-Day Review project types, such as façade remodels, door/window change-outs, fences/walls, re-roofs, and mechanical/electrical/plumbing fixture change-outs;
- Issuance of building permits for projects that have successfully completed plan review and are ready for building permit issuance.
- Consult services with a plans reviewer from the Building and Safety Division
For more information please visit the Virtual Plan Review and Permitting page.
DEPARTMENT CONTACT INFORMATION DURING COVID-19 EMERGENCY
City Hall, including the Permit Services Center, is currently closed to the public in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. City Hall services continue to be provided via e-mail, online submittals, and telephone. We thank you for your patience and understanding.
Please use the following links to obtain contact information for where to best direct your questions and submittals related to the various divisions within the Community Development Department. As a courtesy to our customers and City staff, please keep your correspondence focused to only the group or person that your inquiry applies to. Doing so helps facilitate more efficient response times and allows us to serve a greater number of customers by avoiding redundant efforts by City staff.
New Leasing Requirements for Rental Units
On September 8, 2020 City Council enacted new leasing
requirements that apply to all rental units in Santa Monica. The
ordinance is available here and updated regulations are available here (updated 1-29-21).
The new rules go into effect on October 9, 2020 and require that all rental
units adhere to the following rules:
- Units must be rented
only to natural persons
- Units must be rented only
to tenants intending the unit to be their primary residence
- Units must be rented for
an initial term of not less than 1 year
- Units must be rented
A written notice is required to be provided to all prospective tenants and is available here.
These new regulations are intended to preserve Santa
Monica’s rental housing stock for permanent residents in response to concern
regarding loss of rental housing stock to corporations and persons who do not
wish to make Santa Monica their primary residence.
**UPDATE** On October 13, in response to public input, Council adopted revisions to the new leasing regulations that will go into effect on November 27, 2020. The updated ordinance is available here. In response to community input, the following are limited exemptions to the new leasing regulations:
- Owner who occupies a rental housing unit as their primary residence can lease that unit for more than 30 days and less than a year no more than twice a year for a total period of 6 months. The unit would be allowed to be rented furnished. This would not apply to a unit that had been the subject of an Ellis Act or owner-move-in eviction within the last ten years.
- ADUs and JADUs for which plans are submitted for plan check before December
As part of the comprehensive Housing Element Update, staff
will be making further recommendations for avenues that may allow for limited medium-term
housing (rentals of more than 30 days and less than one year), including
co-living. If you would like more information or to sign up for
notifications on the Housing Element Update, please start at the project
Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Standards
On January 1, 2020, new State law (AB 68, AB 881, and SB 13)
regarding the construction and establishment of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)
came into effect to help spur the production of more housing. These new laws
revised development standards, such as eliminating minimum parcel size,
establishing larger unit sizes based on bedroom count, reducing minimum side
and rear setbacks, and removing on-site
parking requirements. In addition, the State laws expanded ADUs into multi-unit
and mixed-use zoning districts and introduced the new concept of Junior Accessory
Dwelling Units (JADUs) when in conjunction with Single-Unit Dwellings.
On September 8, 2020, City Council approved an ordinance
incorporating these State law requirements into a new ADU/JADU Section, SMMC
Section 9.31.025 Accessory Dwelling Units and Junior Accessory Dwelling Units.
Additionally, to further encourage the production of ADUs and JADUs, Council
expanded upon the new requirements by exempting ALL ADUs and JADUs from
parcel coverage or floor area calculations. To review the new ADU/JADU Section,
please click here.
If you have any questions, please email City Planning at firstname.lastname@example.org
R1 Development Standards Update
On October 22, 2019, the Santa Monica City Council approved changes to the development standards for the R1 zone district and associated sections of the Zoning Ordinance. The intent of the revisions was to address the size of new home construction, incentivize the retention of existing homes, and to make the standards more user-friendly. These new standards will become effective on January 1, 2020, subject to a second reading on November 12, 2019 by the City Council. More information regarding the update process and the adopted revisions can be found at the
R1 Update webpage
2019 Building Code Adoption
As part of the three-year Code update cycle, the Building and Fire Life Safety Commission will convene on August 14, 2019, to consider and recommend to City Council the local adoption of the 2019 California Building Standards Codes to become effective on January 1, 2020. The codes under consideration are the 2019 California Building, Residential, Electrical, Energy, Mechanical, Plumbing, Fire, Green Building, Historical, and Existing Building Standards Codes. Local amendments are also included as part of the Commission's consideration with the applicable findings and justifications, as required by State law.
Local amendments are required to be specific to each edition of State Building Codes. Therefore, as part of the adoption process for new building code editions every three years, the City must restate the existing local amendments to be retained and identify any new local amendments proposed, along with the applicable findings and justifications for each proposed amendment.
The local amendments and justifications proposed as part of this Code adoption cycle are available prior to the Commission meeting at the public counter in the Permit Services Center of City Hall (Room 111), or can be viewed electronically here.
If you have any questions you can reach Building and Safety at 310.458.8355, or by email at email@example.com
New Tool to look up Zoning Now Available!
If you need help looking up where you can locate your
business in Santa Monica, a new user-friendly tool is now available!
and find out your zoning today.
Interim Demolition Review Process for Buildings Over 40 Years
On July 14, 2020, City Council authorized updates to the
demolition permit review process for structures over 40 years old consistent
with restructuring of the City’s historic preservation program included in
Council’s adoption of the FY2020-21 budget. The Landmarks Commission will
not be conducting preliminary review of demolition permits, but any person may
still file an application to designate a building or structure as a City
Landmark or Structure of Merit. Council’s action also restarts the demolition
application waiting period as of July 14, 2020. A full posting of pending
demolition review permits is available online here. Going forward, in order to facilitate
public access to demolition permit information, public notification of pending
demolition permit applications will occur in the following ways:
- Enhancements to the
Landmarks Commission website to include the following:
- Real time data on
demolition applications over 40 years old: https://data.smgov.net/Permits-Licenses/Active-Demolition-Permits-for-Buildings-over-40-Ye/nvzr-qc5r/data
- Monthly posting of
demolition permit applications on Landmarks Commission website (this
posting will occur even if there is not a Landmarks Commission meeting)
- E-mail notification of
posting of demolition permit application list
You may sign up to receive notification of posting of
Landmarks Commission agendas by e-mailing a request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here for key changes for an explanation of the revised process.
Demolition Application Process Goes Digital
Beginning December 3, 2018, the City’s demolition
application review process is moving online to improve services and reduce
delays. As of this date, the City will only accept demolition applications electronically
submitted through the City’s Electronic
Plan Review (EPR) system, where
an applicant can track an application’s progress online, and City reviewers
will receive timely notifications on projects awaiting their approval. The
streamlined process will automate many steps in the process, resulting in
quicker turnarounds for review and permit issuance. The updated Demolition
Application Packetincludes instructions on the new online process. Please send any
questions via email to email@example.com or by phone at 310.458.8355.
Information and video tutorials on
how to use EPR are located on the Electronic
Plan Reviewwebpage. If further assistance is
required, a Permit Specialist is available by appointment only, to provide
one-on-one assistance at the Permit Services Center in City Hall on Tuesdays
and Thursdays from 8 a.m. – 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to check availability and schedule an appointment.
Permitting Temporary Uses and/or Structures
new informational handout
is available for permitting
temporary uses and/or structures on private property. The City has experienced
an increased volume of these types of activities and the new handout is
intended to inform and guide applicants of the City approvals that may be required
prior to establishing a temporary use on private property, or commencing any construction
activity associated with a temporary use. Examples of temporary uses are commonly
referred to as ‘pop-ups’ in the commercial industry; however, the temporary
nature of these uses does not preclude or exempt them from compliance with
state and local codes such as the Building Code and Zoning Ordinance. The City
will continue to assess the permitting process for these types of activities to
identify areas where opportunities for improved efficiency may exist. Visit the
Applications and Forms
page to download the
Temporary Uses and Structures handout