City council approves update of housing element

October 13, 2021 11:09 AM

SANTA MONICA, Calif .– Last night, Santa Monica City Council passed the update for the 6th emphasizing the production of affordable housing and meeting the state requirement that the city demonstrate building capacity for 8,895 new units, 69% of which must be affordable . The final plan is the culmination of 15 months of significant public outreach and includes feedback from the Santa Monica Community, City Council, Planning Commission, Housing Commission, Rent Control Board, and the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD). The approval of the residential building element by the city is before the deadline of October 15 stipulated by the state.

“The latest Housing Element Update will expand Santa Monica’s leadership in the production of affordable housing in the West and live our values ​​of justice and inclusion by using both public and private land for new affordable units,” said Mayor Sue Himmelrich. “It wasn’t easy to get there, but we took a balanced approach that meets the requirements of the country and at the same time preserves the character of our neighborhoods.”

The Santa Monica Housing Element update focuses on the incentives for housing production, particularly affordable housing; the accommodation of existing residents; Focus on housing close to daily services and in areas where there was previously no housing; and to address equal access to housing that transcends historical discriminatory practices and expands housing choices. Program highlights that will help meet these goals include:

  • Change of the city’s zoning and development element (LUCE), the building regulations and the associated individual and area plans in order to add multi-family houses as permitted use in non-residential zones where living is currently prohibited.
  • Streamlining the claims process for residential projects.
  • Revising development and design standards to ensure that residential projects are feasible and provide incentives for commercial development.
  • Modification of Building Regulations to create 100% affordable housing for middle-income housing projects (up to 120% AMI) in target areas of the city such as downtown, Bergamot and the immediate vicinity of 17th Street E-Line station.
  • Updated the city’s affordable housing production program to increase the number of affordable housing units at all income levels.
  • Update of the regulation on the city’s density bonus in order to comply with state law.
  • Commitment of city-owned land to the creation of 100% affordable housing, taking into account other community service purposes, including, but not limited to, green spaces, space creation and / or community service commercial and other income-generating uses.
  • Zoning for a variety of housing types including handicapped accessible housing and access to housing for people with disabilities.
  • Incentives for affordable housing to be built on above-ground parking spaces used by community assemblies, such as
  • Boosting housing production in above-ground parking lots in residential areas next to commercial areas.
  • Limiting the removal of existing rental units for redevelopment of the site and requiring that protected units be replaced.
  • Providing new housing options and affordability in high-potential areas through incentives for additional residential units in single-family homes.
  • Find sources of finance to support rental subsidies for vulnerable people and households at risk of displacement.
  • Maintenance and expansion of the POD (Preserving Our Diversity) program and the anti-discrimination program for tenant protection.

The council broadly agreed with the staff’s recommendations, with the exception that the council set the date for issuing a call for tenders for at least one city-owned site from December 31, 2023 to 30. They also postponed the date to postpone the program for the Rethink the production of affordable housing and adapt it to the measures for the production of affordable housing in the Housing Element Update on June 30, 2022.

The council also voted to include a cover letter describing the many steps Santa Monica has taken to create and protect housing and the challenges the city is facing in producing the required housing needs as part of the regional housing needs assessment Housing, and asks for government support.

After these changes are adopted, the final plan will be presented to HCD for a 90-day review period to ensure that the plan is compliant with state law. The employees then work with HCD on the certification of Housing Elements.

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