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City Council Report


City Council Meeting: September 13, 2011

Agenda Item:   8-A  


To:               Mayor and City Council 


From:           Rod Gould, City Manager

Marsha Moutrie, City Attorney


Subject:        Approval of Master Cooperative Agreement with the Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority for construction of a light rail transit system within the City of Santa Monica



Recommended Action

Staff recommends that the City Council approve the attached resolution approving a Master Cooperative Agreement with the Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority and authorize the City Manager to execute the Master Cooperative Agreement and to negotiate and execute any other ancillary agreements that may be necessary and appropriate



Executive Summary

On May 10, 2011, Council approved an ordinance which authorized the City Manager to negotiate a Master Cooperative Agreement (Cooperative Agreement) with the Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority (Construction Authority), subject to Council approval. The Construction Authority currently has a cooperation agreement with the City of Los Angeles for both phase one and phase two of the Expo Line.  It has asked for a similar one with the City of Santa Monica for phase two, a portion of which will be constructed within the City of Santa Monica. The Expo Construction Authority Board of Directors must also approve the agreement prior to it becoming effective.



Since the cooperative agreement will govern the working relationship between the City and the Construction Authority during the construction of the light rail project within the City of Santa Monica, and since some aspects of current City laws have to be modified to allow for the construction of the light rail project, the cooperative agreement will supersede other City laws on a limited basis and only when expressly stated.  Such areas occur in the permit review, permit payment and permit approval process.  Except when the cooperative agreement expressly provides its own requirements, the light rail project will comply with all other provisions of the Santa Monica Municipal Code and applicable resolutions, including City standards, customs, policies and practices. The cooperative agreement also provides for a cost estimation process on City requested improvements, so called “betterments”, to the project at City expense.




The Construction Authority is charged with building the light rail project and will disband at the completion of its mission.  The California Public Utilities Commission has a role in reviewing and approving at-grade rail crossings. The line will be turned over to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (“Metro”) for operation following its anticipated construction completion in 2015. A separate maintenance and operation agreement will be entered into with Metro at a later date and is authorized under the City’s ordinance.


Construction of the light rail project will require extensive permitting from the City of Santa Monica as well as significant City technical support.  Construction will impact numerous existing City facilities from sewer and water lines, to streets and sidewalks, traffic and street lights.  Road closures and traffic detours will occur as construction progresses.  The project will affect parking, street trees, sidewalks, alleys and street intersections. Work will encompass various types of construction, excavation, exploration and testing.  It will also include the setup of barricades or other types of pedestrian and traffic control devices.


Given the scope of the project, the Construction Authority’s and the City’s staffs will need to work in very close cooperation to ensure that during construction the impacts of the Project are effectively handled with as minimum disruption as is possible to the community.  Close cooperation will also be needed in order to adhere to the current project time line.


The cooperative agreement will establish a procedure and process for dealing with all light rail project work that is to be done within the City, especially as it impacts the public right of way or existing City facilities.  The cooperative agreement will apply to all public streets and public easements, including any portion(s) of private properties dedicated for public rights-of-way purposes.  Nothing in the cooperative--agreement will relieve the Construction Authority or its contractors from the requirement to submit all plans, documents and reports for review and comment before obtaining City approval prior to the start of any construction activity within the public right-of-way.  These will include plan checks, permits, or inspections required for fire and life safety matters by the Santa Monica Fire and Police Departments, hazardous materials soil removal, abatement of hazardous material storage tanks, special extinguishing systems, State Fire Marshall Code requirements, etc. 


It is anticipated that costs incurred by the City staff and its consultants for design review, design issues resolution, permit coordination, construction support and inspection are to be reimbursed by the Construction Authority through a work plan authorization process specified in the cooperative agreement, instead of through the individual permit application process.


The following is a list of the various permits that are normally issued by the City for work in the public right-of-way:


·            Use of Public Property Permit  (including temporary traffic control plans)

·            Street Construction Permit 

·            Utility Excavation Permit

·            Encroachment Permit  (for encroachments into the public right-of-way)

·            Sewer Permit

·            Storm Drain (Connection) Permit

·            Oversized Load Permit

·            After Hours Construction Permit


The cooperative agreement’s special permitting process will serve in lieu of the current permitting process for these permits.  The special permitting process and other divergences from standard municipal code requirements are authorized by Ordinance No. 2357.  The special permitting process is intended to facilitate an expedited review and approval of improvements and plans and authorize the construction of facilities in the public right of way. All work on private property within the City will still require the issuance of a building permit from the Building and Safety Division, which will not be a part of the cooperative agreement’s permit process.  All work on MTA property within the City is exempt from City approvals and is subject to a separate approval process.

The following capital entitlement fees related to City water and wastewater enterprise funds will be required to be paid by the Authority pursuant to the Santa Monica Municipal Code:

·            Water Demand Mitigation Fee

·            Water Capital Facility Fee

·            Wastewater Capital Facility Fee

·            Industrial Waste Discharge Permit



The following permit fees will be paid as currently required under the Santa Monica Municipal Code, by the design-build contractor.  They will not have a separate permitting process under the cooperation agreement:


·            Temporary Water Meter Fee

·            Temporary “No Parking” Permits Fee


As approved, the project removes parking on the south side of Colorado permanently. A replacement parking plan is being developed by the Construction Authority. The temporary “no parking” permit fee will only be charged if parking is removed for convenience of the Authority or its contractor which includes employee vehicle parking, or the unnecessary staging of construction related vehicles.


The Authority shall not perform any work outside of the hours permitted by City law without obtaining the prior approval of the Director of Public Works.  The Director of Public Works may approve night, weekend or holiday work hours if the Director determines such work hours to be in the best interest of the City and furthers the public welfare.  In approving any such work hours, the Director of Public Works may impose conditions that, in the Director’s sole discretion, mitigate the impacts of any such work so that it causes the least disruption and inconvenience to the overall public. In very limited circumstances, the Director of Public Works may also authorize construction no earlier than a 7 a.m. start in certain areas, where continuity of work will expedite the project schedule and, after consultation with the neighborhood, is preferable to a longer build time.


As required by the cooperative agreement, the Authority shall require its contractors to provide advance notification to the City before implementing any street, traffic lane, or sidewalk closures for which the construction plans have been reviewed and approved by the City. Street, lane, and sidewalk closures and detours shall be consistent and compatible with the approved plans unless emergency circumstances occur. Public notification of street closures will be posted in advance of closure, as well as any street parking restrictions.  The cooperative agreement also contains provisions for modifying any planned closures within the public right-of-way, should conditions change or in response to the needs of the community.


During the course of the project staff may determine it is in the City’s best interest that a public facility receive an upgrade or enhancement to the condition proposed by the Authority. Such upgrades or enhancements are defined as betterments within the cooperative agreement. City staff may request such betterment from the Authority. Upon City’s request for betterments, the Authority will obtain a cost proposal for preliminary engineering design and range of construction costs through the Authority’s design build contractor. The Authority will perform an independent assessment of the cost of the Betterment and consult with City on its independent assessment upon delivery of the cost proposal for the Betterment. City will review such cost proposals and request Council approval for the design of the betterment and development of a not to exceed construction cost. The City may also request assistance from the Authority to conduct an independent cost analysis, at the City’s expense, of the contractor’s cost estimate for the betterment.  Upon City’s acceptance of the cost proposal and Council approval, the City will issue a work authorization to the Authority to proceed with construction of the betterment.


Financial Impacts & Budget Actions

City staff costs for design review, design issues resolution, permit coordination, construction support and inspection will be reimbursed by Expo through a City work plan authorization, as specified in the cooperative agreement. 


The Construction Authority includes expenditures for city costs in an annual work authorization plan that is part of their adopted annual budget for tasks to be performed by City staff in support of the light rail project.  Adoption of the cooperative agreement does not impact the General Fund.


Funding for the costs of any betterment will be brought back for Council approval at such time as staff will request authorization to proceed with preliminary engineering and/or a construction.


Prepared by:          Kathryn Vernez, Assistant to the City Manager

                              Joseph Lawrence, Assistant City Attorney

                              Martin Pastucha, Public Works Director

                              David Martin, Acting Director, Planning & Community Development




Forwarded to Council:





Kathryn Vernez

Assistant to the City Manager


Rod Gould

City Manager





Joseph Lawrence

Assistant City Attorney





          A)       Resolution

          B)       Agreement