Santa Monica’s Planning Commission gave the necessary approvals for a new six-unit condominium project at 1703-1715 Ocean Front Walk, which will be built by SHC, Santa Monica Beach Hotel, III, LLC.At the March 18 Commission meeting, Santa Monica planning staff pointed out that the Santa Monica Beach Hotel is a subsidiary of the Loews Hotel. The project’s site is located in between another 5-unit condo project and the Loews Hotel.The project will consist of five market-rate townhouse condominiums and one affordable (low-income) townhouse rental unit. The market-rate units will range in size from 3,676 to 4,210 square feet while the affordable unit will be 1,170 square feet. A 14-space subterranean parking garage accessible from Pacific Terrace will provide parking. A replacement of a bike rental shop is also part of the project. This shop will be approximately 270 square feet and be located in the project site’s southwest corner adjacent to Ocean Front Walk.Many green features are being incorporated into this project. It contains solar panels on top and other green features in order to meet all of the project’s energy demands. There’s a special screen system, a green wall, vents and other features so there is little need for heat or air conditioning. An underground retention system and permeable pavement will permit the collection of gray water which can be used for the irrigation of the project’s California native and drought tolerant plants. There will also be a lot of natural lighting and insulation as well as Energy Star appliances and EcoSpace elevators. EcoSpace elevators utilize the same amount of energy as a hair dryer to operate. The developer hopes all the project’s green features will help the project receive a Platinum LEED Green Building certification. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Commissioner Jay Johnson was very concerned “Corporation x [could] buy the condo and rent it out” so the basic use of some or all the market rate units would become rental [vacation rentals or corporate housing] rather than an owner occupied use. Johnson was worried about this because the development is a hotel and because the City doesn’t permit short-term corporate housing. Therefore, the Conditional Use Permit (CUP) that the Commission approved for the project included a condition Johnson requested: that the project’s covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC & Rs) include strong language from the City Attorney’s office preventing any condo use as a vacation rental or for corporate housing. The CC&Rs are the governing documents that dictate how the project’s homeowners association will operate and what rules the owners — and their tenants and guests — must obey. The consensus of the Commission about the project was reflected by Commissioner Gwynne Pugh when he stated, “It’s a very elegant project and a lot of thought has gone into it.” The Commission also agreed with City staff that the project fit in very nicely with the surrounding neighborhood.
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Much of recent debate in Santa Monica has centered around the idea that changing zoning in single-family zones would result...Read more