CITY HALL ‚Äî Redevelopment agency cash or not, City Hall wants a new fire station and upgrades for an old one.
City Council will consider approving a plan to pursue a $35 million bond to build a fire station next to the Main Library and to seismic retrofit Fire Station 3.
The dissolution of Santa Monica‚Äôs Redevelopment Agency left the public safety upgrades without a funding source. City officials will present council with an alternative plan at Tuesday‚Äôs meeting.
The new fire station would replace Fire Station 1, which was built 55 years ago and has “surpassed its useful life as an essential services building” city officials said. A 2007 study showed that the building might not withstand an earthquake ‚Äî that the workers could be injured, trapped, or killed.
The new station could fit up to seven apparatus bays and 50 underground parking spots. It would be able to hold up to nine fire trucks and 20 firefighters, an upgrade from the current station, which houses five trucks and 14 firefighters. Construction of the two-story station could begin the spring of 2016 and be completed in 2018. It would cost an estimated $32 million.
Seismic upgrades to the 43-year-old Fire Station 3, which is on 19th Street at Arizona Avenue, would cost roughly $1.5 million.
City Hall also wants to revamp the fire department‚Äôs training facility on Michigan Avenue, past Cloverfield Boulevard. The project would modernize the facility and replace the existing trailers at the cost of $1.5 million.
City Hall commissioned a survey of Santa Monica‚Äôs electorate and found that a little more than half the voters would support a $78 million public safety bond. One bond City Hall was considering would have been placed on the 2014 ballot and need to be supported by at least two-thirds of the electorate, as the cost would fall on property owners.
Seeing from the survey that a bond measure would likely fail, but finding that a significant majority of the electorate is concerned about public safety, City Hall is recommending a different type of bond ‚Äî one that requires only council‚Äôs approval.
If approved, city planners will return with designs early next year.
Five developments were approved in the last year, the most in a single year since the approval of the Land Use and Circulation Element (LUCE) in 2010.
Council will be voting to extend the interim Zoning Ordinance, which has regulated the uses of different areas of the city and various types of businesses since 2011, so planning officials provided data about the developments that are in the works.
If approved, the interim ordinance will remain in place through May, when the new Zoning Ordinance is expected to take effect. The Planning Commission will discuss the draft for the second of six times this Wednesday. Once they are finished with it, it will go to council for approval.
Sixteen applications for developments were filed in the past year. Twelve are for mixed-use residential/retail projects. Two are mixed-use residential/hotel. One is a mini auto dealership. The last is a movie theater.
Thirty-three applications are currently pending, of which 18 are considered to be priority projects. The total is actually down from earlier this year; in February there were 35 pending agreements.
The most recent application was filed in October, for a 1,500-seat movie theater on the third level of the Santa Monica Place mall.
Sixteen total projects have been approved since July of 2010. ¬† Two affordable hotels on the corner of Fifth Street and Colorado Avenue, approved last month, are the most recent.