R1 Development Standards Update

On October 22, 2019, the Santa Monica City Council approved changes to the development standards for the R1 zone district and associated sections of the Zoning Ordinance. The intent of the revisions was to address the size of new home construction, incentivize the retention of existing homes, and to make the standards more user-friendly. These new standards will become effective on January 1, 2020, subject to a second reading on November 12, 2019 by the City Council. More information regarding the update process and the adopted revisions can be found at the R1 Update webpage .

2019 Building Code Adoption

As part of the three-year Code update cycle, the Building and Fire Life Safety Commission will convene on August 14, 2019, to consider and recommend to City Council the local adoption of the 2019 California Building Standards Codes to become effective on January 1, 2020. The codes under consideration are the 2019 California Building, Residential, Electrical, Energy, Mechanical, Plumbing, Fire, Green Building, Historical, and Existing Building Standards Codes. Local amendments are also included as part of the Commission's consideration with the applicable findings and justifications, as required by State law.

Local amendments are required to be specific to each edition of State Building Codes. Therefore, as part of the adoption process for new building code editions every three years, the City must restate the existing local amendments to be retained and identify any new local amendments proposed, along with the applicable findings and justifications for each proposed amendment.

The local amendments and justifications proposed as part of this Code adoption cycle are available prior to the Commission meeting at the public counter in the Permit Services Center of City Hall (Room 111), or can be viewed electronically here

If you have any questions you can reach Building and Safety at 310.458.8355, or by email at buildingandsafety@smgov.net

New Tool to look up Zoning Now Available!

If you need help looking up where you can locate your business in Santa Monica, a new user-friendly tool is now available! Visit www.smgov.net/opencounter and find out your zoning today.

Interim Demolition Review Process for Buildings Over 40 Years

On November 13, 2018, City Council adopted an interim urgency ordinance revising the demolition review process for buildings over 40 years of age.  This revised process will apply to demolition permit applications submitted after November 13, 2018.  Click here for key changes and an explanation of the revised process.

Demolition Application Process Goes Digital

Beginning December 3, 2018, the City’s demolition application review process is moving online to improve services and reduce delays. As of this date, the City will only accept demolition applications electronically submitted through the City’s Electronic Plan Review (EPR) system, where an applicant can track an application’s progress online, and City reviewers will receive timely notifications on projects awaiting their approval. The streamlined process will automate many steps in the process, resulting in quicker turnarounds for review and permit issuance. The updated Demolition Application Packetincludes instructions on the new online process. Please send any questions via email to eplans@smgov.net or by phone at 310.458.8355.

Information and video tutorials on how to use EPR are located on the Electronic Plan Reviewwebpage. If further assistance is required, a Permit Specialist is available by appointment only, to provide one-on-one assistance at the Permit Services Center in City Hall on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. – 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Email eplans@smgov.net to check availability and schedule an appointment.

Permitting Temporary Uses and/or Structures

A new informational handout is available for permitting temporary uses and/or structures on private property. The City has experienced an increased volume of these types of activities and the new handout is intended to inform and guide applicants of the City approvals that may be required prior to establishing a temporary use on private property, or commencing any construction activity associated with a temporary use. Examples of temporary uses are commonly referred to as ‘pop-ups’ in the commercial industry; however, the temporary nature of these uses does not preclude or exempt them from compliance with state and local codes such as the Building Code and Zoning Ordinance. The City will continue to assess the permitting process for these types of activities to identify areas where opportunities for improved efficiency may exist. Visit the Applications and Forms page to download the Temporary Uses and Structures handout .

Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Standards

On June 12, 2018 the Santa Monica City Council adopted modifications to the Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) standards. These revised standards become effective on July 12, 2018. The following are the key changes:

  • Maximum Size:
    • 650 SF for parcels 6,000 SF and smaller
    • 800 SF for parcels greater than 6,000 SF
  • Second Story Size:
    • No limit; however, the second story cannot exceed the area of the first story
  • ADUs must still be clearly subordinate to the main dwelling unit on the parcel in terms of size (i.e. floor area), location, and appearance.

ADUs continue to be excluded from R1 parcel coverage calculations per the R1 Interim Zoning Ordinance currently in effect. The ADU development standards will be revisited as part of the forthcoming effort to review and update the R1 Single-Unit Residential development standards over the next 12-18 months.

Click here for more information regarding ADUs.

If you have any questions, please contact the City Planning Division at (310) 458-8341 or at planning@smgov.net

Commercial Cannabis Licensing Update

The City of Santa Monica is currently accepting applications to select two (2) Medicinal Cannabis Retailers.  For more information on how to apply or for information on the permitting process for Medicinal Cannabis Light Manufacturing please visit the Commercial Cannabis Business Licensing page.  Please note the City has a prohibition on adult use non-medicinal commercial cannabis activities.  

Upcoming Events & Meetings

Mar 04

Planning Commission

Mar 10

Zoning Administrator

Mar 18

Planning Commission