Santa Monica’s City Council unanimously approved the needed development permit so Neighborhood Storage Associates could build a self-storage facility at 1707 Cloverfield Boulevard.
The approval was given by granting an appeal from a Planning Commission decision to deny the permit because they believed “the proposed project was not consistent with the Municipal Code and General Plan. Specifically, the Commission found that the project was not consistent with [the City’s] Land Use Element…which is intended to ensure the compatibility of adjacent land uses.” In the Commission’s view the proposed project is not compatible with emerging land uses in the surrounding area including Olympic Boulevard, Cloverfield Boulevard/26th Street, which is an emerging pedestrian and transit-oriented neighborhood. The Commission was concerned that “the proposed self-storage facility would not generate pedestrian activity because the development would have very few employees and very limited customer activity.”
Neighborhood Storage Associates contended in their appeal that the Commission made an error in denying the permit because the facility would be located in the City’s Light Manufacturing and Studio District, the only City district where such a facility is permitted by right. Therefore, making a denial based on the site’s new proposed use was inappropriate.
The Council’s decision agreed with City staff recommendation. The existing building will now be converted to a self-storage facility, with the addition of 400 square feet to its first floor and an addition of a 34,585 square foot second floor.
In other business, the Council continued its discussion of two weeks ago regarding the Urban Institute’s final report, which focused on evaluating “Santa Monica’s Continuum of Care and Strategic Five-Year Plan” for dealing with the homeless by evaluating the City’s current efforts and recommending additional steps. The Council concluded its discussion by unanimously directing the City’s staff to study further some of the recommendations made in the report. These recommendations included initiating a community roundtable comprised of all stakeholders, methods to increase regional involvement, increasing homeless service capacity in other cities and a better system for tracking homeless clients.
Another recommendation that will be studied is supportive housing solutions such as sober living and Housing First Models. The Institute’s report defines housing first as a “new model of homeless services that involves moving persons directly from the streets and placing them into permanent housing accompanied by intensive services.” City staff will also look at some type of public education campaign so alternatives can be developed to panhandling and the use of public parks by the homeless. Finally, City staff will look at continuing fair share legislation advocacy at the state level.
Councilmember Robert Holbrook voted to support the recommendations but cautioned his colleagues, “Before everybody tries to figure out what we should do to help these people we should try to decide how many people we’re going to help. We have to bite the bullet and make a policy decision of how far we’re willing to go…to set a goal of what we plan to accomplish” in terms of budgeting and regional expectations.