Revenue and spending take center stage at the June 28 Council meeting, development and zoning are still part of the agenda.

Council could approve several contracts in the consent calendar, hear proposals for potential bonds or tax increases, modify purchasing rules, tweak zoning regulations and direct staff to come back for a future discussion on a ballot measure that could compete with the Land Use Voter Empowerment initiative.

The consent calendar contains multiple items that are considered routine, have already been discussed before or are otherwise lacking in controversy. Items of interest this week on the 15 item calendar include a $119,172 contract for restoring the Chain Reaction statue outside the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, a $400,000 five year contract for Business License Tax audit/compliance services and a $175,000 modification to an existing contract with RAND Corporation for the production of the second Local Wellbeing Index.

The first ordinance for discussion Tuesday continues a recent trend of tweaking zoning rules.

Following the large-scale revisions to zoning rules last year, staff have complied a list of errors that need fixing. A majority of the fixes were relatively easy and had no real impact on the rules. Council previously adopted most at their June 14 meeting, but Council asked for more information on about twenty specific changes that had the potential to alter the way the rules are enforced.

Staff are returning this week with four issue that require Council direction including: applicability of Active Commercial Design and Active Commercial Use requirements in mixed-use and commercial districts, requirements for enclosed garages in the R-1 zone, requirements for front setbacks in the OP3 zone, requirements for Maximum First Story Street Wall Height in the OF zone.

Staff are recommending that the Active Design/Use rules be clarified to prevent retail uses from becoming non-active uses (such as office), require off street parking for single family homes be in an enclosed garage, preserve required setbacks at 20 feet with some allowable setbacks at 15 feet and provide clarity on how to apply the upper-story setback requirement.

Planning Commission has already heard and approved the proposals.

The second ordinance revises the city’s purchasing rules. According to staff, Santa Monica’s commitments to sustainable and cutting edge practices put its purchasing needs are ahead of the general market resulting in only one or two companies bidding for city services. A series of revisions are proposed to widen the potential bidder pool including moving to an all digital system, repealing prohibitions on doing business with Arizona based companies, shortening the protest procedures, centralizing purchasing authority and pursuing better coordination among agencies.

Two administrative items will be before the council regarding funding. Council will consider support for a voter-approved bond floated by Santa Monica College. Staff are recommending the city support the bond and work with SMC to define terms and assess future agreements between the two agencies.

Council will also discuss a City sponsored ballot measure that would fund affordable housing. Options for discussion include general obligation bonds, Transient Occupancy Tax, Sales Tax, Real Property Transfer Tax, Parking Tax, Utility User Tax or A Parcel Tax.

“Staff seeks Council direction on which options, if any, merit further research and evaluation,” said the report.

Council will hold a second hearing on modifying it’s anti corruption laws. The City previously discussed revisions to the rules and some of those proposals will require voter approval. The proposed modifying language will be up for discussion and public feedback.

“If approved by the voters, they would: expand the scope of the Oaks Initiative’s prohibition to include those receiving public benefits; clarify the initiative’s application by defining the term “public official”; exempt persons providing uncompensated, volunteer services to some nonprofits; state that the initiative’s prohibition applies outside the City limits; specify enforcement procedures; and clarify that remedies are cumulative. At least for now, staff continues to recommend against modifying the Oaks Initiative to reach back in time for the reasons discussed at the last Council meeting,” said the staff report.

The meeting will conclude with a request by Mayor Vazquez and Councilmember Himmelrich that staff return at a future meeting to discuss a potential ballot measure that would provide “voter-approval as a requirement before large-scale development.” A discussion of the potential measure’s language will not happen Tuesday as the agendized request is to have a formal discussion at a future meeting.

Council recently asked for a study of the Land Use Voter Empowerment initiative that would require voter approval for developments above 32 feet, all development agreements and major revisions to the zoning rules. LUVE will be on the November ballot and the language of the Vazquez/Himmelrich request suggest an interest in a City sponsored alternative.

editor@smdp.com

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