R1 Update

R1 Zones crop


R1 Development Standards Update

New R1 development standards are in effect as of January 1, 2020!

After an extensive public outreach effort (see below), the Santa Monica City Council approved changes to the development standards for the R1 zone district and associated sections of the Zoning Ordinance on November 12, 2019. Amongst other revisions, key changes include the following:

• Maximum Allowable Parcel Coverage:

         o 45% for new two-story structures

         o 50% for new one-story structures

         o 55% for existing structures proposing additions

         o Guaranteed minimum parcel coverage for parcels less than 5,000 square feet

         o ADUs are exempt from parcel coverage

• Maximum Building Height – 28 feet with no wall height above 23 feet

• Increased minimum front and side upper-story stepback areas

• Size limitations on upper-story outdoor spaces

In February, 2018 the Santa Monica City Council adopted an Interim Zoning Ordinance (IZO) for the Single-Unit Residential (R1) zone district. This action came on the heels of City Council’s prior direction to prioritize a comprehensive review of the R1 Development Standards and was brought upon by concerns raised in the community with regards to the incompatible character and scale of new developments in the City’s R1 neighborhoods. The primary goals of the comprehensive update of the R1 Development Standards and associated sections of the Zoning Ordinance included the following:

• Reevaluate R1 development standards to address the size of new home construction in relation to the existing neighborhood context and scale

• Incentivize the retention of existing homes

• Make the development standards more user-friendly


These new standards became effective for all projects submitted on or after January 1, 2020

Public Hearings:

Planning Commission – June 19, 2019 Click here for Staff Report

Planning Commission – August 7, 2019 Click here for Staff Report

City Council – October 22, 2019 Click here for Staff Report

City Council – January 14, 2020 Click here for Staff Report

Workshops & Milestones


The public was invited to one of three identical open house opportunities in May 2019 to learn and participate in the R1 Development Standard Update process. The open house included the following presentation:

Open House Staff Presentation

To see the results of the public input at the three open house events, please click the links below:

Saturday, May 18th Open House

Tuesday, May 21st Daytime Open House

Tuesday, May 21st Evening Open House

This public input will be presented to the Planning Commission and City Council to inform their discussions regarding revisions to the current development standards.


Technical Working Group

Through January and April of 2019, City Planning staff met with a technical working group of architects, contractors, community representatives, and other design professionals who have knowledge and experience working on single-unit residential projects in Santa Monica to help kick-off the R1 Development Standards update process. Their input will be presented to the public, Planning Commission, and City Council to help formulate potential options regarding revisions to current development standards.


Ross Fehrman, Associate Planner





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