City Council Meeting: May 13, 2008

Agenda Item: 7-A

To:                   Mayor and City Council

From:              Eileen Fogarty, Director of Planning and Community Development


Subject:          Land Use Entitlements for the for the Civic Center Residential Village including: amendments to the Land Use and Circulation Element, Civic Center Specific Plan, and Zoning Ordinance; and Development Agreement 07-008




Recommended Action


This report recommends that the City Council:

1.   Amend the Land Use and Circulation Element to allow neighborhood serving uses in the Civic Center Area; (Exhibit D)

2.   Amend the Civic Center Specific Plan CCSP related to the proposed housing development (Exhibit D);

3.   Introduce for first reading an Ordinance amending the Zoning Ordinance to allow neighborhood serving uses in the Civic Center Area (Exhibit F) and approving Development Agreement 07DA-008-The Civic Center Village Residential Project, with conditions, requirements and mitigations proposed in the Development Agreement (found at Exhibit G).



Executive Summary


The Project


Site A- Market rate condominiums and ground floor retail


Site B-Affordable housing, sharing a common parking garage with A.


Site C-Market rate condominiums on a stand alone site south of the 1733 Ocean Avenue




The proposed Development Agreement for the Civic Center Village (Village) component of the Civic Center Specific Plan (CCSP) reflects significant community and commission input and previous City Council direction.  The Village will provide the Civic Center area with 324 residences, 160 affordable and 164 market-rate condominium units, 20,000 square feet of commercial retail space, public open space and the continuation of Olympic Drive from Main Street to Ocean Avenue.  Public benefits of the proposed project include:


       160 Units of affordable housing - 50% of project residences

       LEED Silver Certified Building  and Alternative Energy programs

       Affordable Artist Live Work Units and Public Art

       Child Care Contribution of $500,000 towards operating a future Civic Center Child Care facility in addition to the required Child Care Linkage fee of $92,000

       Open Space, including a publicly-accessible pedestrian street and plaza (Living Street and Olympic Plaza) and a protected children’s play area

       Aggressive Sustainable Transportation Program including Transportation Demand Management measures, shared parking, and $700,000.00 for transit enhancement

       Infrastructure improvements including Olympic Drive extension and streetscape


In addition to these public benefits the project provides a unique public/private financing partnership that leverages the Redevelopment Agency-owned land in the Civic Center to provide for important public benefits. A significant portion, if not all, of the affordable housing component will be subsidized by the sales proceeds from the market-rate units in the form of the land value payment from The Related Company to the Redevelopment Agency.  This mechanism reduces the Redevelopment Agency’s financial obligation for affordable housing costs, allowing for a broader range of future public benefits.


Four community workshops and a number of public hearings were held before Boards, Commissions and the City Council during 2006 and 2007 to consider the design for the Village.  The community encouraged design adjustments to the CCSP when design could enhance public benefits.  Based on this input, in August, 2007, the City Council authorized the developer-design team to explore the location of public open space, alternative heights, setbacks, and building stepbacks rather than strictly adhering to the development standards established in the approved 2005 CCSP. In December 2007, the Council reviewed a revised concept, and authorized staff to begin negotiation a Development Agreement. The current proposal is a refinement of the concept which the Council supported in December 2007.


The final design responds to input during the comprehensive pre-submittal review from staff, the community workshops, the Housing and Recreation and Parks Commissions, Planning Commission, Architectural Review Board, and City Council.  Related made the following design revisions to address comments received during the design review process:


       Modifications to the site plan to increase open space and improve versatility of the “Living Street” and Olympic Plaza.

       Site A reduction in mass adjacent to the park, and improved articulation.












Site A, early scheme  massing                                              Site A, current proposal improved massing and articulation ,


       Redistribution in mass from Site A to Site C, providing increased height on the southwest corner within the context of the adjacent 96 foot high Viceroy Hotel.

       Increased landscape area.

       Greater pedestrian orientation and articulation at the Ocean Avenue sidewalk on Site C.


Subsequently, Site C was significantly redesigned with:

       Greater height adjacent to the Viceroy hotel to absorb the redistributed mass from Site A with improved light and air circulation,

       Articulation at street level with pedestrian amenities including plaza and fountain

       Articulation to reduce massing from Ocean Avenue 

       Improved views, providing greater opportunity for the market rate condominiums to fully subsidize the affordable housing.


August 2007 Scheme for Site C                                November 2007 Scheme for Site C

In November of 2007 staff brought forward the revised design proposal for Site C to a community Design Update Workshop, where the new design, noted in the diagram above, met with support from the community members present, many who had participated in earlier workshops.  In December 2007, the Council approved this concept, and authorized staff to negotiate a Development Agreement and draft CCSP amendments that would permit the concept.


The Planning Commission reviewed the proposed project at their April 16 meeting and made the following recommendations to City Council with unanimous support:

1.      Market the project to Santa Monica area employees to support the Sustainable Transportation Program.

2.      Review parking to ensure sufficient parking for restaurants.

3.      Maximize alternative energy opportunities without creating a financial burden.

4.      Revise Conditions to maximize permeability and mitigate urban run-off.

5.      Consider ARB criteria to allow extra height up to 8 feet for solar panels.

6.      Continue to try and negotiate a program that includes unbundled parking without requiring it.

7.      Allow closure of Living Street from 11pm to 6 am without physical or visual barriers.

8.      Write deed restriction term to be commensurate with land lease, (99 years).

All of these recommendations have been incorporated into the revised Development Agreement and Conditions.


Continuing Negotiation

Staff and the Developer (Related California) have been negotiating a development agreement that includes a number of public benefits which support the City’s longstanding commitment to improvements to the Civic Center area. The proposed project meets the intent and goals of the Civic Center Specific Plan by providing for a vibrant residential community which includes 160 units of affordable housing in the City’s civic core. The project provides an example of a complete neighborhood, with a residential community, neighborhood serving retail, open space and public transportation all within walking distance, as well as providing additional public benefits that not only support the project and its future residents but which also reflect the City’s values and policies toward supporting affordable child care, artist housing, alternative energy production and sustainable design and transportation.


As of the writing of the staff report, staff and the Related Company continue to refine the details of the Sustainable Transportation measures, and the means and amount of alternative energy provided via solar energy. Staff will report on any further developments in negotiations on these points at the May 13th City Council hearing.




This project is located within the Civic Center Specific Plan area. The CCSP sets forth a vision for the Village Special Use District as a mixed-use, urban neighborhood.  Providing housing in the Village District is an important objective of the CCSP in addressing citywide housing needs and in transforming the Civic Center from a single-purpose district into a vibrant district with daytime and evening activity. The CCSP identifies the Village District as an urban neighborhood to achieve desired housing in the Civic Center, while maximizing the total area available for open space, including the future site of Palisades Garden Walk across Olympic Drive.


Illustrations of the proposed design are provided In the Development Agreement (Attachment G). The following is a summary of key dates in the history of the Civic Center Specific Plan area:


CCSP History:

1993:           CCSP originally adopted;

2000:           City’s Redevelopment Agency purchased 11.3 acres of property within the Civic Center from the RAND Corporation;

2002:           Conceptual update to CCSP approved; Village District reflected general height limit of 56 feet, but included one vertical element on southern portion next to Viceroy Hotel, with height limit of 120 feet;

2005:           Update to the CCSP adopted; Village district vertical element on southern portion of the site was reduced to a height limit of 56 feet, while maintaining the original housing program of 325 residences.


Village project 2007

June-July:  Joint meetings of the City Council and Redevelopment Agency held; City Council authorized staff to begin Development Agreement negotiations and approved design concept for the Village that includes a portion of the building height on Site C not to exceed 96-feet, for the purpose of reducing some of the massing on Site A per recommendations from Planning Commission and the Architectural review Board, with remainder of building not to exceed 65-feet.

November   Design Update workshop to discuss project progress subsequent to the Council authorization to begin DA negotiations, Community supported revised Site C design and noted over all improvements while asking for demonstration of how project meets proposed LUCE principles.

December: City Council reviewed updated design concept for the Village which included revised massing on Site C building with heights varying from 65-96 feet, and approved this design concept.


A full summary of the public participation of the Village design process is included in Attachment B:






Planning Commission Discussion


The Planning Commission considered the project at their April 16, 2008 Public Hearing. The staff report and attachments may be viewed at: .

At the Planning Commission hearing, staff requested specific attention to four areas of unresolved negotiations:


1.   Transit Enhancement Fee- Staff proposed a $700,000 Transit  Enhancement fee to be used to support alternate modes of transportation resulting in additional reduction of vehicle trips city-wide. Related proposed providing $350,000 in light of the overall project budget. Trip reduction strategies supported by these funds would include but not be limited to:

       Subsidy to the Big Blue Bus (BBB) operations for the approximately 248 estimated daily bus rides generated by this project. (Projected estimates show the City will provide a total of over $1.76 million in transit subsidy to serve the project residents over the 20 year term of the DA- assuming 5 days a week of bus travel and an average yearly increase in BBB operating costs of 3%, and current subsidy of one dollar per ride.)

       Fund potential future Civic Center transit enhancements such as a shuttle to the downtown parking structures from the Civic Center Area,

       “Eco-passes” or free transit passes

       Added bus routes

       An organized “children to school” program..


Prior to the meeting Related agreed to provide the full transit enhancement fee.


2. Unbundling of Parking Spaces;- Staff proposed additional trip reduction via marketing parking spaces separately from condominiums (unbundling of parking spaces). Related did not support this concept due to concerns about perceptions of reduced market value for units without parking.


The Planning Commission was divided on the issues of “unbundled parking” and recommended that staff and Related continue to pursue opportunities to allow this progressive measure, while recognizing Related’s concerns.  The revised DA language provides for the option of unbundled parking rather than a requirement, and provides supportive measures to allow the future possibility such as leasing options and opportunities for future re-consideration of parking operations.


3.   Alternative Energy: Staff proposed provision of 200kW of alternative energy provided with photovoltaics. Related has proposed to provide 100 KWh of photovoltaics, noting that the project budget has not included the cost of alternative energy generation because the original fuel cell concept was to be paid for by Sempra Energy. Related has concerns that the project budget will not support the full 200 kW of photovoltaics.


      The Planning  Commission recognized the financial implications of additional photovoltaic panels, but supported the concept of maximizing alternative energy where financially feasible, suggesting the pursuit of a tax district or some other mechanism to provide funding for alternative energy.  The DA language has been revised to reflect this, providing for a minimum of 200kW if financially feasible, with the opportunity for a Minor Modification to no less than 100 kW with the provision that infrastructure be provided to allow for a additional panels in the future.


  1. Pedestrian Access to the Living Street:- Staff proposed night-time pedestrian access to the Living Street to support the concept of the Living Street as public open space. The Developer requested the right to close the Living Street to public access between 11 pm and 6 am.


The Planning Commission supported Related’s request to close the Living Street between the hours of 11pm and 6 am with provision that no physical or visual barrier be used to do so. The DA language has been revised to reflect this.



Building Design


Building Massing Envelope and Program:  The project proposes six residential buildings with approximately 324 residences, and approximately 20,000 square feet of commercial retail located on Site A and Site C.  The following describes units, height and square footage per site: 


Site A:   Two condominium buildings, with ground floor retail on Ocean Avenue, Olympic Drive and Main Street frontages with approximately 66 residences 

               Up to 65 feet high; measured form Ocean Avenue sidewalk 
109, 346 gross square feet, (GSF) of  residential, 9,930 GSF retail

               180 subterranean parking spaces


Site B:              Four affordable apartment buildings, with ground-floor live/work space;

               Approximately 28 one-bedroom, 56 two-bedroom, and 66 three-bedroom residences, plus 10 affordable units of live/work space intended for artists

               Height – Up to 60 feet high measured form the Ocean Avenue sidewalk. 

               191, 549 GSF square feet

               197 parking spaces


Site C:   One condominium building, with ground floor retail; and approximately 98 one-bedroom and two-bedroom residences;

               Up to 96 feet high;

               159,288 GSF – residential, 7,400 GSF retail

               237 total spaces; 13 of those spaces at grade.


The following diagram shows the range of building heights and set backs




Design Review Process and Negotiation


Designing within the parameters set by City Council direction, the Related Company development team participated in a thorough pre-submittal design review with City staff involving the site plan, pedestrian orientation, vehicle access, building massing, and design equity for rental housing. 


Site Plan:  In response to early staff comments regarding maintaining the broad axes which reflect the intent of the CCSP, the early concept plan was revised to provide:

       A clearer north-south axis while accommodating the more predominant design element of the east-west Living Street axis.

       The public plaza was enlarged to reflect the community comments and enhance the relationship with the future Palisades Garden Walk across the street.

       The location of entrances and community uses on Site B were re-arranged to provide for a greater sense of community space. 


North South Axis




Olympic Plaza




Site B Community Uses



Building Articulation: The design teams spent considerable effort on refining the massing for both Site A and C both before and after the pre-submittal process


Site A-To accommodate the desired housing program within the height limit, while maintaining a sense of pedestrian scale and open space, the development-design team and City staff have focused attention on articulation and design detail to vary the overall massing of Site A along Olympic Drive. The designers provided the buildings with stepbacks, balconies and off-set top floors to create volumetric variation and maintain a pedestrian scale at street level. The final design reduces the massing on Site A and transfers some of the condominium square footage to Site C which was entirely re-envisioned during the process.


Site C- This site was redesigned several times, initially to provide a small public plaza to improve pedestrian orientation on Ocean Avenue, and in its current design with three building elements separated by open space, to provide greater light and air both from the pedestrian perspective and from upper floor units.

Site C


Pedestrian orientation: The design teams paid particular attention to pedestrian access  throughout the site.


       The 20 foot wide required fire access was reconfigured to use Olympic Plaza so that the western portion of the Living Street could develop a lusher landscape identity per the direction of City Council with additional trees and more generous planting areas.

       The interior elevation for Site A was refined to improve pedestrian orientation at the ground floor and provide for a simpler layer of privacy screens.

       The architect redesigned the ground floor building height at Site A and Ocean Avenue to allow for a greater floor to floor height to improve the base proportion and create more flexible retail space.

       The ground floor of site C was redesigned at staff’s request, resulting in an articulated store front system and a small public plaza with a fountain, and a central lobby area that allows pass through to the surface commercial parking, and anchor retail, on the north and south corners of the site.



Skybridge: The skybridge was reduced in scale at staff’s request and narrowed by 10 feet to improve the overall massing perception from the park and to increase the access of light and air to the Site B affordable residences.


Landscaping: The landscaping throughout the site has been increased and made lusher in response to the direction from staff, the City Council, and the Recreation and Parks and Planning Commissions and the Architectural Review Board. Staff believes that the landscape design could be further increased and enhanced to meet the stated intent to provide an environment reminiscent of the bluffs and Santa Monica and Venice walk streets. Condition #1 has been included to address this concern at ARB review.


Design equity among buildings: The design team responded to staff comments about maintaining visual equity among affordable and market rate buildings by varying materials and redesigning facades.  A significant method for achieving visual equity is the use of materials and finish quality which will be specified at the Architectural Review Board review.


Access and Parking:

Pedestrian Access: The design of the Living Street pedestrian walk street allows for both a lively neighborhood street enhanced with artists studios which can open to the street, and the more formal pedestrian promenade along the tree-lined Olympic Drive extension. The key pedestrian experience of Site C is the Ocean Avenue sidewalk which will provide a double row of trees in the center of the sidewalk as well as a small public plaza with a water feature at the entrance to the building, 


Parking and vehicle access for Sites A and B: The Village is proposed to include two subterranean parking garages. One garage is shared by Site A and Site B, with a total of 377 parking spaces including residential parking for market rate units and  affordable units, and shared parking for commercial and required guest spaces. The CCSP allows for a parking analysis to be conducted to determine the appropriate parking. The parking demand study provided by the applicant and completed in March 2008 shows that existing similarly structured affordable projects in the downtown areas do not utilize all the spaces built, thus the total number of spaces required by the Development Agreement for the affordable housing component is 56 spaces less than the Zoning Ordinance standard.  If the Coastal Commission should require that the project be parked to the current Zoning Ordinance standard, the Planning and Community Development Director may make a minor modification to the Development Agreement to allow for the additional 56 spaces to be built. Staff recommends that the City Council support the number of parking spaces demonstrated by the demand study in keeping with the centrally located site with immediate access to non-single occupancy vehicle alternate modes of transportation, and the expressed community values to support sustainable development with multi-modal transportation.


Parking and vehicle access for Site C: Site C provides 13 at grade parking spaces entered from Vincente Terrace and 237 spaces in a subterranean parking structure entered from First Court Alley. This garage also provides shared parking between commercial and guest spaces.


Public Benefits


In addition to addressing the goals of the CCSP and City policies which provide affordable housing, the proposed design also addresses community values expressed in the concurrent Land Use and Circulation Element (LUCE) update effort to provide complete neighborhoods and reduce traffic by designing for pedestrian orientation and alternate modes of transportation. The following public benefits reflect how the project addresses the goals of the CCSP, City Policies, and the community goals which have been raised in the LUCE Update process.

       Affordable Housing:  The proposed program achieves the CCSP goal of 160 affordable housing units.  The proposed development promotes the City’s long standing policy of maintaining a diverse resident population by ensuring a significant amount of affordable housing is incorporated into this development, including family housing and live-work housing suitable for artists.  The diversity of housing within this development provides the opportunity to use the value of the market-rate component to subsidize the cost of constructing the affordable component, thereby minimizing or eliminating the need for additional housing trust fund investment into the Village.


       Sustainable Design and Alternative Energy programs: The proposed development will be a minimum of LEED Silver certified and will include sustainable elements involving building design and materials, onsite energy generation from photovoltaic systems and energy savings due to green energy design, energy and water use reduction strategies, and recycling of construction and consumer waste. The DA requires that the project exceed Title 24 energy efficiency requirements by a 30% target and that it aim to provide 200 kilowatts of power via alternative energy systems.


       Public open space: In the early community workshops the community requested that the open space allocation be reconsidered to allow for a more publicly accessible plaza and protected play area for children who are residents of the project. The proposed project addresses this with the Living Street design, which includes a central plaza with a strong connection to Olympic Drive and Palisades Garden Walk and a pedestrian-only walk street through the site from Main Street to Ocean Avenue, integrating the public and private with pedestrian access and landscaping to provide a wide range of interactive opportunities on the site. The proposed plan programs a public plaza connecting the future Palisades Garden Walk and an east-west walk-street, named the Living Street, as the public open space and primary pedestrian access through the site. 


The community and commissions input also indicated a preference that interior portions of the site be designed as protected open space, for use by the families occupying the adjacent housing.  The proposed plan locates protected open space in the interior of the Village site plan, and conceives this space as a series of outdoor areas that take advantage of the sloping grade, oriented toward the family housing as terraced gardens and protected play areas for families and children.


       Public Art and Affordable Artist Live Work Units: The design team includes two public artists who participated in the community design meetings, and have developed designs which contribute to the community experience.  There are two public art pieces onsite, located at major pedestrian entrances. Pulse, to be located at the western entrance to the Living Street, allows participants to see their pulse rate transferred to ripples on the surface of a pool as a metaphor for a community “heart spring’, and ECHO, located at the entrance to the Olympic Plaza transfers sounds from waves at Santa Monica Pier to a light projection on the underside of the skybridge over the Plaza entry.  The Arts Commission provided positive feedback at their  February 25, 2008 meeting and unanimous support for the concepts.  The concepts will be refined and return to the Arts Commission for final approval prior to building permit issuance.  In addition to the onsite art pieces, the developer is making the required contribution of approximately $540,000 to be in compliance with the Developer Cultural Arts ordinance.


The affordable housing component includes 10 units of live/work space for which artists will receive priority for occupancy.  The live/work spaces are located on the ground floor with large studio doors opening onto the Living Street to activate the pedestrian space and allow for open studio tours and visual arts business opportunities.


       Child Care Fee: To comply with the Child Care Linkage Program ordinance, the project will provide the required Child Care Linkage Fee of approximately $92,000 for capital expenditures related to childcare.  In anticipation of the families with young children who will become residents of the project and will utilize the future Civic Center Early Childhood Care Facility, the developer will also contribute an additional $500,000 to be used for design, construction, operation and /or maintenance related to the new facility.


       Sustainable Transportation Measures: In keeping with the community concerns expressed in the LUCE update process, the project is designed to minimize vehicle trips to and from the site.  A minimum of 50% of the retail uses on site will be neighborhood- serving, and the project utilizes shared parking between commercial and residential guest uses. The project will participate in a Transportation Demand Management (TDM) program that has a performance target to reduce trips auto trips anticipated by the EIR by 35%. The TDM Program will be monitored on a bi-annual basis to determine if the identified measures are achieving this goal and, if not, the TDM Program will be revised as feasible in an effort to attain compliance. In addition to the TDM program, the project has extensive provisions for bicycle use, including onsite storage for more than 100 bicycles for residents and employees.


       Transit Enhancement Fee: The developer will contribute a $700,000 Transit Enhancement fee for programs such as subsidies to the Big Blue Bus service enhancements to the Civic Center area, school-based transportation programs, and/or a potential Civic Center Shuttle to connect the Civic Center area with downtown and Main Street and a free transit pass program.


       Infrastructure Improvements: The proposed project includes the extension of Olympic Drive from Main Street to Ocean Avenue to match the alignment of the existing section of Olympic Drive from Fourth Street to Main Street. Olympic Drive is an important element in dividing the current Civic Center “superblock” and will reduce congestion at Ocean Avenue intersections, both providing significantly improved local access to Interstate 10 and direct access to and from the project site. These infrastructure improvements will include signalization at the intersections of Olympic Drive with Main Street and Ocean Avenue, new sidewalks, landscaping and irrigation as reflected in the project plans.  Project infrastructure improvements will also include the creation of a new east-west alley north of 1733 Ocean Avenue, improvements to First Court Alley and the east-west alley south of 1733 Ocean Avenue, streetscape on Ocean Avenue and Main Street, and monetary contribution towards the future Ocean Avenue median depicted in the CCSP.



Provisions of the Development Agreement


In addition the public benefits and urban design of the project, the Development Agreement includes a number of other provisions. The following is a summary of the key negotiated provisions:


       Article 2.8 Alcoholic beverage permits: The DA authorizes up to 17,500 square feet of interior alcohol serving uses (with up to 3,000 square feet of adjacent outdoor dining area)  which shall be subject to Conditional Use Permit approval.


       Article 2.12 (b) Building height measurement: The building height shall be measured for existing grade on Ocean Avenue (54.9’ above sea level for Sites A and B and 50’ for Site C) for the purposes of both the Fire and Planning and Community Development Departments.


       Article 3.1 (b) Vesting Period: The right to develop shall be vested for five years after the date of the  approval with permitted extensions of one year for Sites A and B (total 6 years)and 2.5 years for Site C (7.5 years) to be granted by the Director of Planning and Community Development


       Article 10 Term: The term of the Development Agreement shall be 20 years.


       Article 2.13 Infrastructure financing: The Development Agreement sets forth the option, at the Developer’s request, to consider establishing a tax district to finance the infrastructure improvements in accordance with the Mello-Roos Community Financing Act of 1982 or equivalent financing provisions as permitted.


       Article 3.2 (a) Minor Modifications: The developer may make minor modifications to this agreement with the approval of the Director of Planning and Community Development without requiring a formal amendment process for the following:

o       Revision of TDM measures

o       Modifications to the number of parking spaces to comply with Coastal Commission approval requirements

o       Reduction of solar voltaic kilowatt hours to meet the design requirements of the ARB, and or financial feasibility if necessary.  

o       Modifications required by new technical building requirements.

o       Waiver or reduction of building inspection fees for Site B buildings.

o       Reduction of up to 1% of overall public open space.



Amendments to the LUCE, CCSP and ZO


LUCE: The Land Use and Circulation Element will be amended to include the proposed uses of affordable housing and neighborhood serving uses in the Civic Center Area.


CCSP: While the intent and goals of the CCSP are met by the project, certain specifics of the CCSP standards need to be modified to allow for the design parameters of the proposed project as informed by the community process. The key aspects of the CCSP which must be amended are as follows:

Background -Amended to include the community and design processes for the Village project.


The Vision and Open Space-Amended to include the Living Street and Olympic Plaza as a replacement for the Village Green and mews.


Development Standards for the Village Special Use District-Amended to include:

A revised site plan which incorporates the Living Street and Olympic Plaza and a relocation of the specific building

Number of market rate units per site

Location of neighborhood serving uses to be distributed throughout the site

Setbacks slightly modified to reduce the street frontage setback to allow greater open space between buildings on the site interior.

Stepbacks and height modified to allow for providing the required number of units within an acceptable building profile

Height modified to allow for 65 feet in height on Sites  A and B on Site C 68 feet in height  stepping up to 96 feet high adjacent to the equally high Viceroy hotel.


Zoning Ordinance: The Zoning Ordinance requires a technical  amendment to include the proposed uses of affordable housing and neighborhood serving uses in the Civic Center Area and to allow as conditionally permitted uses to include public recreational and visitor-serving uses such as hotels and commercial recreational uses, restaurants, and private offices.




Public Correspondence

Public correspondence is included in Exhibit A.


Previous Council Actions

The City Council has reviewed this specific project in broad concept form on two occasions in 2007, as summarized in the “Background” section above and in Attachment B


Previous Actions

Previous Board and Commission Actions are summarized in the Background section of this report. Specific comments from these meetings are contained in Attachment C.


Environmental Analysis


An Addendum to the October 2004 CCSP EIR (certified in June 2005) was prepared for consideration with the previous document.  The proposed project was analyzed pursuant to CEQA to determine if the changes to the project would result in any additional significant impacts other that those analyzed the EIR. The key areas of evaluation were Aesthetics, with particular attention to shade and shadow in relation the changes in building envelope, and Traffic Circulation due to the shift from two vehicular access points for sites A and B, one on Olympic Drive and one on Ocean Avenue, to one access only from First Court Alley off of Ocean Avenue. The analysis showed that there would be no additional significant impacts. The EIR Addendum is included in Attachment F. The City Council is required to consider this addendum with the 2005 CCSP EIR prior to acting on the project.


Public Outreach

Notice of the proposed City Council hearing and ordinance language was published a minimum of 10 days prior to the hearing in The Santa Monica Daily Press.




Financial Impacts & Budget Actions

The project provides a unique public/private financing partnership that leverages the Redevelopment Agency-owned land in the Civic Center to provide for public benefits. This model allows the sale of the market-rate units to contribute to the land value payment from The Related Company to the Redevelopment Agency to fund a significant portion, if not all, of the cost of constructing the affordable housing component.


The project must have all entitlements including Coastal Commission approval in place prior to the October 2008 Multifamily Housing Program funding deadline in order to qualify for approximately $10 million dollars of assistance for the affordable housing component. Extending the project’s entitlement timeline beyond the funding application deadline of October would likely result in failure to secure the MHP funding for the affordable housing component, thereby requiring an additional City subsidy to make the project financially feasible.


The proposed Development Agreement, with staff recommended amendments, will have a positive fiscal impact on the City, in that the project will provide contributions of $592,000 to child care and $700,000 to enhanced public transit and transit programs, and an approximate $540,000 Developer Arts contribution towards capital funding for arts and culture, and will provide 160 units of affordable housing subsidized by the market rate development, therefore reducing the City’s overall affordable housing obligation.


In addition, there will be long term energy cost savings for the future residents for the buildings with alternative energy systems.


Alternative Actions


The City Council could take one of following alternative actions:


1.      Disapprove the project, LUCE, CCSP and ZO amendments,  or EIR addendum based o revised findings:

2.      Continue the item for additional information and discussion.



Based on broad community outreach, Board, Commission and City Council input to date, the comprehensive design review and project analysis, Staff recommends that the City Council consider Addendum to the 2005 CCSP EIR, approve the LUCE, CCSP and ZO amendments, and the Civic Center Village Residential project with the following findings and the requirements and conditions provided in the recommended Development Agreement language.

Development Agreement Findings


1.   The proposed Development Agreement is consistent with the objectives, policies, general land uses and programs specified in the general plan and the Civic Center Specific plan, in that the proposed project is consistent with the Civic Center Specific Open Space Policies OS-12 to provide a network of pathways and promenades, OS-13 to create continuity in the network of and bicycle pathways through the Civic Center in that the proposed project will provide pedestrian access through the Civic Center site, create a large public plaza at Olympic Drive and small public plaza on Ocean Avenue, and will provide restaurants to serve residents, and will address Land Use Element Objective 1.5.4 which aims to "encourage day and night with pedestrian activity along the street frontages on Main Street and Ocean Avenue" by incorporating restaurants in the project.


2.   The proposed Development Agreement is compatible with the uses authorized in the district in which the real property is located, in that the subject property is located in the CCSP district which allows for the development of a residential village to include a minimum of 324 units with a minimum of 160 affordable units within a setting which will enhance and enliven the Civic Center Area and addresses the CCSP policies related to housing circulation and open space. The CCSP Development Standards addressing  the Village Special Use District, VD-1, location of residential units, VD-2 density of residential units, VD-3 and VD-5 development of 160 affordable units, and VD-6, development of up to 20,000 square feet of commercial uses are all specifically addressed in the proposed development.  


3.   The proposed Development Agreement, with staff recommended amendments, is in conformity with the public necessity, public convenience, general welfare, and good land use practices, in that it implements  the vision established by the Civic Center Specific Plan for the construction of a residential use in the CCSP district which will include 160 units of affordable housing and provide additional public benefits including: public art, 10 units of artist live/work space, alternative energy production and sustainable building design and transportation measures as outlined in CCSP Sustainability policies S-1, S-2 and S-4 to ”Establish a compact and mixed-use pattern of development that reduces dependence on the automobile and that enhances viability of other transportation modes...that are less consumptive of non-renewable resources” and S-10 “Employ green building practices…”, as well as contributions of $500,000 to child care and $700,000 to enhanced public transit.


4.   The proposed Development Agreement, will not be detrimental to the health, safety and general welfare, in that it allows the development of uses that are consistent with the CCSP land use designation, which allows for the development of a residential Village and neighborhood serving uses as well as providing both pedestrian and vehicular circulation through the former ”superblock”, and for which the proposed sustainability measures of green building, public transit incentives and improved circulation have the potential to enhance quality of life in Santa Monica. 


5.   The proposed Development Agreement will enhance the orderly development of the property, in that the Development Agreement facilitates planning and development by granting vested rights to the developer as permitted under the Development Agreement Statutes.


6.      The proposed Development Agreement, with staff recommended amendments, will have a positive fiscal impact on the City, in that the project will provide contributions of $500,000 to child care and $700,000 to enhanced public transit and transit programs and will provide 160 units of affordable housing cross subsidized by the market rate development which therefore reduces the City’s affordable housing obligation.


Prepared by: Sarah Lejeune, Senior Planner, AICP



Forwarded to Council:







Eileen Fogarty

Director, Planning and Community Development


P. Lamont Ewell

City Manager




Exhibit A               Public Correspondence

Exhibit B:              Public Participation in Village Project

Exhibit C              Boards and Commission’s 2007 Actions

Exhibit D              Draft LUCE, CCSP and ZO Amendments

Exhibit E               EIR Addendum

Exhibit F               Ordinance Approving Development Agreement

Exhibit G              Draft Development Agreement (including renderings, project plans)