CITY HALL — Four Santa Monica real estate projects have failed to live up to their obligations under so-called “development agreements” entered into with City Hall, according to a review of the agreements by the Planning and Community Development Department.
Under the agreements, developers responsible for the projects were required to provide “community benefits” — things like public art, open space and financial contributions to city programs — in exchange for exemptions to zoning requirements.
Since the early 1980s, 17 projects have been built under development agreements, according to a City Hall report. Four other developers have reached agreements with City Hall for large-scale buildings but have yet to construct their projects.
Of the 17 existing buildings, the four deemed to be out of compliance are: Saint John’s Health Center, Paseo Del Mar, Yahoo! Center and the Dorchester residential building at 1040 Fourth St.
Some of the un-met obligations are relatively minor.
The Yahoo! Center, for instance, is out of compliance only because some parking spaces have been leased to off-site businesses, something not allowed under its agreement with City Hall. The property owners are asking for a deal agreement to allow the leases to continue, arguing the center’s 3,085 parking spaces are more than enough for on-site needs.
And the owners of Paso Del Mar, a mixed-use building located at 1541 Ocean Ave., are in violation of their agreements because they still owe City Hall $23,000 worth of public art to satisfy the $75,000 arts contribution that was agreed to in 1982. The owners are working with the Cultural Affairs Division to come into compliance, according to a City Hall report.
By far the most substantial public benefit that City Hall was promised but has not yet received from a developer involves Saint John’s Health Center.
The hospital, located at 1328 22nd St., agreed in 1998 to construct a 442-space subterranean parking garage and new entry plaza as part of its development agreement. In 2007, the hospital asked for a 10-year extension on that part of its deal, saying it would lease off-site parking spaces and operate a valet service in the meantime.
Four years later, the City Council has yet to consider the amendment. A hearing on the proposal is set to take place sometime this spring, according to City Hall.
The other out-of-compliance development agreement involves alleged violations of affordable housing restrictions put in place at the Dorchester.
The City Attorney’s Office has filed a lawsuit over its allegations, which “is being vigorously contested by two owners of deed-restricted units,” according to City Hall’s report. Other property owners bound by the affordable housing rules at the Dorchester are complying with the deed restrictions.