City Council Meeting 3-12-13                                     Santa Monica, California


(City Council Series)


WHEREAS, the City of Santa Monica is a small, dense, older, coastal city in a prime location, which consists of eight square miles, bordered on one side by the Pacific Ocean and on three sides by the City of Los Angeles; and

WHEREAS, the combination of a scenic oceanside location, excellent climate, and the ready availability of urban facilities, services and entertainment make Santa Monica an extremely desirable place to live, work or visit; and

WHEREAS, approximately 89,000 people live in the City, on weekdays there are about 300,000 present in the City, and on weekends and holidays the number of persons in the City soars to between 500,000 and 1 million; and

WHEREAS, because of the numbers of people who live in, commute to and from, and visit the City, the provision of an adequate transportation infrastructure is essential to the City's success; and

WHEREAS, the City has adopted a Land Use & Circulation Element (LUCE) of its General Plan for the purpose of ensuring adequate circulation thereby preserving and enhancing quality of life within the City; and

WHEREAS, objectives of the LUCE include no net new automobile PM peak hour trips; and

WHEREAS, continued new development which does not contribute toward the cost of new transportation infrastructure will only serve to further exacerbate the negative effects of increased vehicle travel; and

WHEREAS, the LUCE Goal T1 calls for designing and managing Santa Monica’s streets to support comprehensive public health and safety; and

          WHEREAS, LUCE Goal T19 states that the City should create an integrated transportation and land use program that seeks to limit total peak period vehicle trips with a Santa Monica origin or destination to 2009 levels; and

WHEREAS, LUCE Policy T19.7 calls for the City to perform a nexus study and implement transportation impact fee to mitigate negative transportation impacts of new development; and

WHEREAS, LUCE action items explicitly encourage the use of impact fees for pedestrian improvements, bicycle improvements, to support the Big Blue Bus and more broadly to achieve the alternative transportation choices and reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and

WHEREAS, LUCE calls for the creation of a Pedestrian Action Plan that provides a framework for prioritizing investments in pedestrian improvements and this plan is currently in development; and

WHEREAS, the Bicycle Action Plan identifies a comprehensive 5-year and 20-year bicycle network; and

WHEREAS, it is anticipated that new development will continue to occur in the City of Santa Monica; and

WHEREAS, it is appropriate for new land uses to pay for improvements to the transportation network proportionally to the number of PM peak hour trips their development contributes to the total number of trips.


SECTION 1. Chapter 9.73 is hereby added to the Municipal Code to read as follows:

Chapter 9.73

Transportation Impact Fee Program

9.73.010 Findings and Purpose.

(a)      The purpose of this Chapter is to implement the goals, objectives and policies of the City of Santa Monica’s Land Use & Circulation Element ("LUCE") and, particularly, the City’s goal of no net new automobile PM peak hour trips occurring when new development is constructed within the City limits.  Imposing a fee that is reasonably related to the burdens created by new development on the City’s surface transportation system will enable the City to construct the required capital improvements that will contribute to fulfilling this goal. 


(b)      The City has prepared a Transportation Impact Fee Nexus Study.  It shows, and the City Council finds that there is a reasonable relationship between the purpose for which the fees established by this Ordinance are to be used and the type of development projects on which the fees are imposed, and between the amount of the fees and the cost of the transportation facilities or portion of the facilities attributable to the development on which the fees are imposed.


(c)      It is the intent of the City Council that the fee required by this Chapter shall be supplementary to any conditions imposed upon a development project pursuant to other provisions of the Municipal Code, the City Charter, the Subdivision Map Act, the California Environmental Quality Act, other state and local laws, which may authorize the imposition of project specific conditions on development.


9.73.020 Applicability of Chapter.

(a)      The regulations, requirements and provisions of this Chapter and Council resolutions adopted pursuant hereto shall apply to all new Projects for which a development application was deemed complete or an application for changes in existing uses was made on or after the effective date of this Ordinance. 


(b)      Notwithstanding the above, the following projects, square footage and affordable residential units shall not be subject to the requirements of this Chapter: 

(1) places of worship;

(2) City projects;

(3) day care centers;

(4) private K-12 schools;

(5) multi-family rental housing projects developed by a nonprofit housing provider if the developer is receiving financial assistance through a public agency, so long as the multi-family rental housing project is an affordable housing project meeting the requirements of Santa Monica Municipal Code Section and the project’s affordable housing obligations will be secured by a regulatory agreement, memorandum of agreement, or recorded covenant with a public agency for a minimum period of fifty-five years;

(6) re-occupancy of square footage in an existing building or structure if there is no change of use;

(7) square footage used for outdoor dining in the public right of way; and

(8) affordable housing units deed restricted to very-low income and low income households.


9.73.030 Definitions.

For the purpose of this Chapter, the following terms shall be defined as follows:

(a)            “Area 1” shall mean the area bounded in the west by California Avenue from 7th Street to Ocean Avenue, in the north by 7th Street from California Avenue to Highway 10 and 4th Street from Highway 10 to Olympic Drive, in the east by Highway 10 from 7th Street to 4th Street and Olympic Drive from 4th Street to Ocean Avenue, and in the south by Ocean Avenue from California Avenue to Olympic Drive and, the area bounded in the west by Broadway from 20th Street to 26th Street and Colorado Avenue from 26th Street to Stewart Street, in the north by 26th Street from Broadway to Colorado Avenue and by Stewart Street from Colorado Avenue to Exposition Boulevard, in the east by Exposition Boulevard and Michigan Avenue from Stewart Street to Cloverfield Boulevard and Olympic Boulevard from Cloverfield Boulevard to 20th Street, and in the south by 20th Street from Broadway to Olympic Boulevard and Cloverfield Boulevard from Olympic Boulevard to Michigan Avenue.


(b)             “Area 2” shall mean any remaining area within the City boundary that are not included in Area 1.


(c)            "Area 3 Overlay" shall mean a half mile walk-shed from a transit station within the City boundary.  Only Housing Development Projects as defined in Section 9.73.040(a)6 may qualify for a Transportation Impact Fee based on their location within the Area 3 Overlay.


(d)            "City Projects" shall mean City public works projects and City community facilities (e.g. libraries, public parking structures, recycling centers, and community centers), not including public/private partnerships.


(e)            "Housing Development Project" shall mean a development project with common ownership and financing consisting of residential use or mixed use where not less than fifty (50) percent of the floorspace is for residential use as provided in  Government Code Section 66005.1(c) and its successor statutes.


(f)              "Nexus Study" shall mean the Transportation Impact Fee Nexus Study prepared by Nelson/Nygaard Consulting Associates Inc, dated April 2012.


(g)            “Project” shall mean any development having a gross new or additional floor area of one thousand square feet or more or that changes an existing use to a different use that increases the demand for transportation infrastructure, or residential development of improved or unimproved land which adds dwelling units.  Gross floor area for the purposes of this definition shall be the same as Section, or any successor legislation, but shall exclude parking area.  Where the requirements of this Chapter have been adjusted or waived for a project pursuant to Section 9.73.050 hereof, subsequent changes in use, project remodels or tenant improvements that increase trip generation shall constitute a project as defined herein.


(h)            "Transit Station" means a rail or light-rail station, ferry terminal, bus hub, or bus transfer station, and includes planned transit stations otherwise meeting this definition whose construction is programmed to be completed prior to the scheduled completion and occupancy of the housing development.


(i)              “Transportation Impact Fee” shall mean a fee paid to the City by an applicant pursuant to Section 9.73.040 of this Chapter in connection with approval of a project, to contribute to the creation of transportation improvements to offset additional vehicle trips generated by new development to achieve No Net New Trips consistent with the goals, objectives and policies of the City’s Land Use & Circulation Element (“LUCE”).


9.73.040 Transportation Mitigation Requirement.

Except as provided in Section 9.73.050, the developer of a Project shall pay a transportation impact fee in accordance with the following:


(a)            Transportation Impact Fee. Fees shall be computed as follows:

1.               For Single Family residential development projects that result in the addition of a dwelling unit:

(A)      $7,600 per multi-family dwelling unit in Area 1.

(B)      $7,800 per multi-family dwelling unit in Area 2.

2.               For Multi-Family residential development projects that result in the addition of a dwelling unit:

(A)      $2,600 per multi-family dwelling unit in Area 1.

(B)      $3,300 per multi-family dwelling unit in Area 2.

(C)     $2,600 per multi-family dwelling unit in Area 3 Overlay for Housing Development Projects that satisfy the requirements of subsection 6 (A), (B), and (C) of this subsection.

3.               All non-residential projects shall pay the following based on the gross square footage of the proposed project:

(A)        Retail:

i.       $21 per square foot in Area 1.

ii.      $30.10 per square foot in Area 2.

(B)        Office:

i.       $9.70 per square foot in Area 1.

ii.      $10.80 per square foot in Area 2.

(C)        Medical Office:

i.       $28.10 per square foot in Area 1.

ii.      $29.80 per square foot in Area 2.

(D)        Hospital:

i.       Not applicable.

ii.      $14.70 per square foot in Area 2.

(E)        Lodging:

i.       $3.60 per square foot in Area 1.

ii.      $3.60 per square foot in Area 2.


(F)        Industrial:

 i.       $1.20 per square foot in Area 1.

 ii.       $1.30 per square foot in Area 2.

 (G)       Auto Sales & Display Areas:

 i.       $1.20 per square foot in Area 1.

 ii.            $1.30 per square foot in Area 2.


4.       The land use categories identified in subsections (i) – (vi), above, shall have the following meanings:

(A)      Single Family Residential shall include Single Family.

(B)      Multi-Family Residential shall include Congregate Care- Non Senior, Congregate Care – Seniors, and Multi Family.

(C)     Retail shall include: Animal kennels and veterinary hospitals, Auto Repair, Car wash, Community meeting facilities, community centers and non-residential adult care facilities, Retail and wholesale construction-related materials, nurseries and garden centers, Entertainment and recreational facilities, Gas station, Library, Museums, aquariums and art galleries, Nightclubs and bars, Personal services, Post-secondary educational facility, Pre-school/child day care, Private studio, Restaurants – fast food and cafes, Restaurants – sit down, Retail durable goods, Retail food and markets, Retail mixed, and Retail non-food.

(D)     Office shall include: Creative office, Financial institutions and office, and General office.

(E)      Medical office shall include:  Medical office, including medical clinics, and offices for medical professionals.

(F)      Hospital shall include: Full service hospitals.

(G)     Lodging shall include: Hotels, motels and other overnight accommodations.

(H)     Industrial shall include: Surface or structured auto inventory storage, City maintenance facilities and bus yards, Heavy industrial and manufacturing, Light industrial, Utilities, Warehouse and self-storage, and Wholesale distribution and shipping.


5.       For mixed residential/nonresidential development, the sum of the fee required for each component as set forth above in subdivisions (a)(2) and (a)(3) of this subsection.


6.       Housing Development Projects within the Area 3 Overlay that meet the following characteristics shall pay a Transportation Impact Fee of $2,600 per multi-family dwelling unit:

(A)      The housing development is located within one-half mile of a transit station and there is direct access between the housing development and the transit station along a barrier-free walkable pathway not exceeding one-half mile in length, and

(B)      Convenience retail uses, including a store that sells food, are located within one-half mile of the housing development, and

(C)     The housing development provides either the minimum number of parking spaces required by the Municipal Code, or no more than one onsite parking space for zero to two bedroom units, and two onsite parking spaces for three or more bedroom units, whichever is less.


7.       The amount of legally permitted square footage to be demolished in an existing building or structure, or to be removed from an outdoor area used as part of a service station or for auto dealer sales, display and inventory storage, as a part of a Project shall be a credit in the calculation of the Transportation Impact Fee.  Outdoor area used as part of a gas station shall not include setbacks, landscaping, parking and other paved areas used solely for access and circulation.


(b)              Timing of Fee Payment.

1.               The Project applicant shall pay fees according to the schedule of fees in place on the date the fees are paid, except that the applicant for a vesting tentative map for a development project shall pay the fees in effect on the date the application for the vesting tentative map is deemed complete, as automatically adjusted.

2.               No building permit for any Project shall be issued unless the fees have been paid or, if state law requires the City to accept later fee payment, a contract to pay the fees has been executed with the City, in which case no final inspection shall be approved until the fees have been paid.  If a residential development project contains more than one dwelling unit and is approved for development in phases, the developer shall pay the fees in installments based on the phasing of the residential development project.  Each fee installment shall be paid at the time when the first dwelling unit within each phase of development has received its   final inspection.

3.               For all Projects subject to this Chapter, the City may require the payment of fees at an earlier time if the fees will be collected for public improvements or facilities for which an account has been established and funds appropriated and for which the City has a proposed construction schedule or plan prior to final inspection, or the fees are to reimburse the City for expenditures previously made. 


9.73.050 Fee Adjustments and Waivers.  

(a)      A developer of any Project subject to the fee described in Section 9.73.040 (a) may request that the requirements of this Chapter be adjusted or waived for the conversion of non-conforming ground floor uses in commercial zones to conforming pedestrian-oriented uses


(b)      To receive an adjustment or waiver, the developer must submit an application to the Planning and Community Development Director, or his or her designee, at the time the developer files a discretionary project application or, if no discretionary application is required, a building permit application.  The developer shall bear the burden of presenting a preponderance of the evidence to support the request and set forth in detail the factual and legal basis for the claim, including all supporting technical documentation. 


(c)      The Director of Planning and Community Development or his or her designee shall render a written decision within ninety (90) days after a complete application is filed.  The Director’s decision may be appealed to the Planning Commission by the Project applicant if such appeal is filed within fourteen consecutive calendar days from the date that the decision is made in the manner provided in Part, Sections through of this Code.  The decision of the Planning Commission shall be final.


(d)      If an adjustment or waiver is granted, any change in use from the approved project shall invalidate the adjustment or waiver.


9.73.060 Fee Revenue Account.

Pursuant to Government Code Section 66006, the Transportation Impact Fee Reserve Account is hereby established.  The fees paid to the City pursuant to the provisions of this Chapter shall be deposited into the Transportation Impact Fee Reserve Account and used solely for the purpose described in this Chapter.  All monies deposited into the Reserve Account shall be held separate and apart from other City funds.  All interest or other earnings on the unexpended balance in the Reserve Account shall be credited to the Reserve Account.


9.73.070 Distribution of Transportation Impact Fee Funds.

All monies and interest earnings in the Transportation Impact Fee Reserve Account shall be expended on the construction and related design and administration costs of constructing transportation improvements identified in the Nexus Study, or such other report as may be prepared from time to time to document the reasonable fair share of the costs to mitigate the transportation impacts of new development.  Such expenditures may include, but are not necessarily limited to the following:


(a)            Reimbursement for all direct and indirect costs incurred by the City to construct transportation improvements pursuant to this Chapter, including but not limited to, the cost of land and right-of-way acquisition, planning, legal advice, engineering, design, construction, construction management, materials and equipment.


(b)            Costs of issuance or debt service associated with bonds, notes or other security instruments issued to fund transportation improvements identified.


(c)            Reimbursement for administrative costs incurred by the City in establishing or maintaining the Transportation Impact Fee Reserve Account required by this Chapter, including but not limited to the cost of studies to establish the requisite nexus between the fee amount and the use of fee proceeds and yearly accounting and reports.


9.73.080 Periodic Review and Adjustment of Transportation Impact Fees.

To account for inflation in transportation infrastructure construction costs, the fee imposed by this ordinance shall be adjusted automatically on July 1 of each fiscal year, beginning on July 1, 2013, by a percentage equal to the appropriate Construction Cost Index as published by Engineering News Record, or its successor publication, for the preceding twelve (12) months.


9.73.090 Fee Refunds.

(a)            If a transportation impact fee is collected on a Project and the permit for that Project later expires, is vacated or voided before commencement of construction, the developer shall, upon request, be entitled to a refund of the unexpended transportation impact fee paid, less a portion of the fee sufficient to cover costs of collection, accounting for and administration of the fee paid.  Any request for a refund shall be submitted in writing to the Planning and Community Development Director within one year of the date that the permit expires or is vacated or voided.  Failure to timely submit a request for refund shall constitute a waiver of any right to a refund. 

(b)            Fees collected pursuant to this Chapter which remain unexpended or uncommitted for five or more fiscal years after deposit into the Transportation Impact Fee Reserve Account may be refunded as provided by state law.


9.73.100 Fee revision by resolution.

The amount of the transportation impact fees and the formula for the automatic annual adjustment established by this Chapter may be reviewed and revised periodically by resolution of the City Council.  This Chapter shall be considered enabling and directive in this regard.


9.73.110 Regulations.

The Planning and Community Development Director, or her/his designee, is authorized to adopt written administrative regulations or guidelines that are consistent with and that further the terms and requirements set forth within this Chapter.


SECTION 2.  This Ordinance shall apply to all development applications meeting the criteria for applicability as defined herein determined complete after the effective date of this Ordinance.

SECTION 3.  Any provision of the Santa Monica Municipal Code or appendices thereto inconsistent with the provisions of this Ordinance, to the extent of such inconsistencies and no further, is hereby repealed or modified to that extent necessary to effect the provisions of this Ordinance.

SECTION 4.  If any section, subsection, sentence, clause, or phrase of this Ordinance is for any reason held to be invalid or unconstitutional by a decision of any court of competent jurisdiction, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this Ordinance.  The City Council hereby declares that it would have passed this Ordinance and each and every section, subsection, sentence, clause, or phrase not declared invalid or unconstitutional without regard to whether any portion of the ordinance would be subsequently declared invalid or unconstitutional.

SECTION 5.  The Council finds that the adoption of this ordinance is not a project pursuant to CEQA Guideline section 15378(b)(4), which excludes from the definition of Project "the creation of government funding mechanisms or other government fiscal activities, which do not involve any commitment to any specific project which may result in a potentially significant physical impact on the environment."  Alternatively, the proposed ordinance is exempt from the provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) pursuant to Section 15061(b)(3) in that it can been seen with certainty that the proposed ordinance does not have the potential to significantly impact the environment, since the proposed ordinance amendment is a fee that will be levied on projects that will be evaluated in compliance with CEQA on their own merits.

SECTION 6.  The Mayor shall sign and the City Clerk shall attest to the passage of this Ordinance.  The City Clerk shall cause the same to be published once in the official newspaper within 15 days after its adoption.  Pursuant to California Government Code section 66017(a), this Ordinance shall become effective 60 days after its adoption.








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