The Santa Monica City Council unanimously endorsed the final draft Downtown Community Plan (DCP) at last night’s Council meeting on July 11, 2017. This result came after a six year-long planning process that concluded with more than 100 community members providing public testimony on the DCP at a special meeting on Monday, July 10.
The final draft DCP maintains Downtown Santa Monica’s many roles as a thriving neighborhood, public gathering space, international visitor destination, and a regional business district. Six key elements anchor the Plan:
- Housing is strongly encouraged to accommodate new residents of all incomes, family situations, and stages of life.
- New and enhanced public spaces will add to Downtown’s attractiveness.
- Expanded cultural, entertainment, and artistic offerings will add to Downtown as the city’s cultural heart.
- Preservation of historic and character-defining buildings will help maintain Downtown’s identity as new infill projects take shape.
- Downtown’s economic engine will be supported to maintain services and residents’ high quality of life.
- Improvements to the mobility network will make getting around town efficient and safe.
Here’s a summary of Council’s changes in response to public comment. These refinements will be reflected in the DCP, which will be before Council for ratification on July 25.
Emphasis on housing production with an increase in affordable housing requirements
- Gives bonuses for 100% affordable housing projects including increased height and density districtwide (additional 0.5 FAR and 10 feet in height) and process streamlining.
- Incentivizes most housing projects by streamlining the process through administrative approval up to 75,000 square feet.
- Requires between 20 and 30% of all new Downtown housing units be deed-restricted as affordable housing across a range of affordability levels and unit sizes (among the highest ratios of required affordable housing in California).
- Adjusts density in Neighborhood Village (overall 0.25 FAR increase) where the opportunity for new housing is greatest.
- Encourages housing by discouraging suburban-scale commercial development by reducing the Development Review threshold from 15,000 to 10,000 square feet for non-housing projects.
Rigorous process and clear limits for Established Large Sites
- Maintains the draft DCP’s Established Large Site Overlay Zone for three sites creating a rigorous public process for future consideration of projects that would be limited to up to 130 feet in height and site specific Floor Area Ratios (FAR) including:
- 1133 Ocean Avenue: 3.0 FAR
- 101 Santa Monica Boulevard: 4.0 FAR
- 4th/5th and Arizona Avenue: 3.5 FAR
This does not result in a decision on the ultimate disposition of these sites. Any proposed projects on these sites will still be required to be processed through a negotiated development agreement, perform additional environmental review, be required to conduct extensive community outreach, and demonstrate how the project meets priorities of the DCP during public hearings and review.
Eliminates parking minimums to leverage existing parking resources
- Eliminates minimum parking requirements.
- Keeps the proposed parking maximums, which are lower than existing parking requirements.
- Allows flexibility for owners of existing parking spaces in excess of the DCP’s parking maximums to share with off-site users.
“I’m pleased that after robust, but civil dialogue on some key issues the Council unanimously endorsed the final draft DCP,” said Mayor Ted Winterer. “The DCP will preserve the historic character of our Downtown, while allowing continued enhancements of public green space and plazas, and new buildings that complement the economic prosperity and environmental sustainability of our entire community. The Plan creates opportunities to help meet the needs of low and fixed-income households, Downtown workers, and working families by taking a housing first approach that incentivizes housing production and substantially increases requirements for deed-restricted affordable housing.”
Council will vote on the final draft DCP after public comment on Tuesday, July 25 at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall Council Chambers.