Santa Monica’s City Council gave directions for City staff to craft two ordinances that would increase developer fees to help fund child care and the arts.
According to the current proposal, recommended by City consultant Keyser Marston Associates and City staff, developers of all new commercial developments which are 7,500 square feet or more would have to pay the City for new child care facilities the average fees of $5.27 per square foot of office space; $3.77 per square foot of retail space; $2.61 per square foot of hotel space; and $111 per residential unit.
For arts facilities, the same 7,500-foot threshold would apply, and the fees would be two percent of the building permit valuation if the art were placed on site and one percent if the developer chooses to pay an in-lieu fee instead for off-site art. All residential developments over five units would also be subject to the arts’ fees.
Members of the arts and child care communities support the new fees. Patty Oblah, the chair of the Santa Monica Childcare and Early Education Task Force, stressed this is a wonderful “opportunity to provide additional funds for our youngest residents in the community.
Phyllis Green, Chair of the Arts Commission, told the Council that the City could increase its support of the arts “without impacting the City’s budget.”
The City has a history of supporting culture and arts in relation to new construction via the City’s Public Percent for Art Program. The Art Program was enacted in 1986, and requires that one percent of public projects be set aside for on-site art. Since 1981, the City has also negotiated at least seven development agreements that have included a public art requirement.