On Saturday, the City Council will meet in a private, special session to go through resumes of potential candidates for the open City Attorney position. The Councilmembers will evaluate the resumes and determine how many candidates they want to interview. The recruiter will then schedule the interviews.
Councilmembers have the option to designate the former Home Savings Building at 2600 Wilshire Boulevard as a City Landmark. The two story building is a blend of Modern and classically formal architecture, featuring a large mosaic beach scene above the front entrance entitled “Pleasures Along the Beach.” The back of the building has a large wall of stained glass, which also depicts coastal activities.
The property owner strongly opposes the designation of the building, and his attorney submitted volumes of paperwork to the planning division detailing the history of the building and remarks from a historical consultant who does not believe the property is historical.
In February, the building failed to receive the four necessary votes from the Landmarks Commission to receive the designation. The Santa Monica Conservancy filed an appeal within days, allowing the City Council to potentially override the Commission Tuesday night.
Seismic Retrofit Ordinance
The public will have one last chance to comment on the City’s vast seismic retrofit ordinance Tuesday night when it comes up for second reading. Once the ordinance passes, the City will begin sending out notices to building owners May 1st that they must hire an engineer to evaluate the structural integrity of their building. Most owners of buildings that need retrofitting to meet current seismic standards will have two years to complete any construction.
The City Manager is urging the Council to move forward with the ordinance, which is coupled with several new tenant protection laws aimed at helping renters whose buildings will need structural renovations. The City will gain oversight of hazardous material abatement (such as asbestos dust or lead) and may hire environmental consultants to evaluate compliance.
Parklet Smoking Ban
A half dozen parking paces on Main Street will be transformed into “parklets” this summer – featuring plants and seating as a way to encourage walking along the busy street. Three parklets will be built using a pair of street parking spaces in front of Finn McCool’s, Ashland Hill and Holy Guacamole. The restaurant operators will provide furniture and maintain the parklets.
On Tuesday, the City Council is poised to ban smoking in the parklets, which should be completed by the end of July. Staff has recommended amending the City’s existing smoking ordinance to add parklets to the list of places smoking is already banned.
Providence Saint John’s Health Center expansion
A procedural amendment before the Council would give them more power over the upcoming expansion of Providence Saint John’s Health Center. The City would have the power to set up a performance schedule for infrastructure, traffic improvements and community benefits.
The Planning Commission and City Council will likely hold public hearings about community benefits and traffic next year or 2019.
Pier Use and Twilight Concert Series
The ever-popular Twilight Concert Series will be cut back this year from ten to eight concerts because of escalating security costs. The City Council will hear other measures aimed at reducing the amount of money going to the event, such using private security officers instead of police officers to monitor the crowd.
In addition to the Pier concerts, Santa Monica’s famous landmark requires a lot of maintenance. It faces stress from heavy use, climate change and potential sea-level rise. The Council will look at potential improvements to the Pier, including replacing the bridge with either a switchback ramp system or a single sloping bridge with an additional elevator, escalator and staircase.
City Council will meet at 5:30 p.m. in City Hall, 1685 Main St. on March 28.