City Council Meeting:  July 9, 2002                                                    Santa Monica, CA




To:                   Mayor and City Council


From:              City Staff


Subject:          Policy for the Naming of Public Facilities





This report recommends adoption of a resolution establishing a policy regarding naming of City owned-land, buildings and facilities.



Council and the public have expressed interest periodically in the naming of City-owned land, buildings and facilities.  With the culmination of a significant period of capital investment several new public facilities are underway and it is timely to consider policy, process and guiding criteria to ensure that where naming is appropriate, the culture and heritage of Santa Monica and compatibility with function and site are given weight.


Other cities, state agencies and the Federal Government have adopted criteria and procedures for naming public facilities.  Some emphasize the culture and history of a place, others city identification, and still others recognize individuals for exceptional or distinguished contributions.  Some cities have set higher priorities on naming based on location and/or function of a public space rather than naming after an individual and others prefer to commemorate public figures.  Most policies recommend a waiting period after the death of an individual before consideration of naming opportunities.  Honoring individuals can take place in a number of ways including naming a park or a building, a portion of a park or building or related space.  Public entities typically tailor the process of selecting a name or affiliation by using the existing commission or committee structure as a means of developing a final recommendation to an elected body.


Proposed Policy Guidelines for Naming Public Facilities



The proposed policy would establish formal guidelines and a procedure for considering appropriate names for City-owned land, buildings and facilities, or portions thereof.


Policy and Priorities

In determining the names to be given to City-owned land, buildings and facilities, the City Council will receive recommendations from the public, staff and related advisory bodies such as the Recreation and Parks Commission, the Library Board and the Landmarks Commission. 



In naming public land and buildings, the City Council and its advisory bodies shall consider the following:

·        Incorporating “Santa Monica” in the name where it is important for civic or other reasons for a building or facility to be identified with the City;



Requests for naming of City-owned land, buildings and facilities may be submitted to the City Clerk in writing, accompanied by a justification for the recommended name(s).  All requests will be referred to the Department having jurisdiction and the appropriate Board(s) or Commission(s) for deliberation.  Staff and related advisory bodies will evaluate the recommended name within six months following receipt of a request.


Upon completion of deliberations at a public hearing, the staff and advisory body will forward a recommendation to the City Council.


The City Council will make its determination as to the naming or renaming of City-owned land, buildings and facilities at a regularly scheduled meeting of the Council at which staff, representatives of advisory bodies and civic organizations and the general public may offer testimony.



Recognition may be given by installation of a plaque or appropriate signage, installation of a marker or artwork, or other means appropriate to the setting.  Any signage must conform to City sign ordinances or policies.  Artworks must be approved by the Arts Commission.  Manner of recognition will be determined by staff or the appropriate commission working with professional designers as appropriate and conveyed in its recommendation to City Council.


Budget/Financial Impact

There is no financial impact associated with establishing a policy regarding naming of City-owned land, buildings and facilities.



City staff recommends that Council consider adoption of a resolution establishing a policy regarding naming of City-owned land, buildings and facilities.


Prepared by:  Kathryn Vernez, Asst. to the City Manager for Government Relations

                        Susan E. McCarthy, City Manager