CITY HALL ‚Äî Downtown is getting a little big for its borders.
On Tuesday night, City Council will consider heading in the direction of expanding the boundaries that define the Downtown.
The area, as defined by the property and business improvement district, runs roughly from Ocean Avenue to Seventh Court and Wilshire Boulevard to the Interstate 10 Freeway.
Council will consider approving $55,000 in spending to study the expansion of the district to include Lincoln Boulevard. New mixed-use developments along Lincoln have increased pedestrian activity in the area.
The studies will also look at the impacts of a focus along the Colorado Esplanade, a pedestrian friendly strip slated to open in 2017 that will connects the incoming Expo Light Rail station at Colorado Avenue and Fifth Street with, among other things, the Civic Center and the districts on the other side of the freeway.
Downtown stakeholders recognize that all the increased pedestrian activity in the area will result in the need for more services like sidewalk maintenance, trash cans, seating, and ambassadors. Adding businesses to the district will increase funding for these things.
Interim Zoning Ordinance extension
City Hall wants to extend the Interim Zoning Ordinance, which as been in place since January 2011, through the end of the year.
The ordinance, which dictates land-uses throughout the city by the sea, is receiving more scrutiny than expected by the Planning Commission.
City officials initially thought council would get to review the ordinance in May but now they are predicting review in November.
Comment from the public and from commissioners is taking longer than expected.
“Both the commission and community members requested additional time to review Division II, which contains the bulk of the recommended development standards for the base and overlay districts, including maximum unit density and allowable floor area, and required setbacks, stepbacks, and open space,” city officials said.
Finance officials will present a report on City Hall‚Äôs financial condition after last fiscal year, which ended on June 30.
“Overall, (City Hall‚Äôs) operations show signs of stability, a result of the prudent and sound management practices and efforts of the city of Santa Monica,” officials said.
Unfunded pensions and the dissolution of the Redevelopment Agency are the most notable long-term fiscal liabilities for City Hall.
City Hall had a General Fund balance of $384.2 million, with $44.8 million set aside as a rainy day fund and $220.4 set aside for specific purposes based on budget priorities, like continued capital projects, Redevelopment Agency settlements, and pollution remediation funds.