A homeless man sleeps on a bench in Palisades Park.

CITY HALL — In what will likely be a short pre-Thanksgiving meeting on Tuesday, City Council will consider reversing changes made to the city’s landmarks law in 2003.

The proposed ordinance would, in theory, make it easier to create historic districts within the city.

Historic districts are made up of numerous buildings that may not be historically significant on their own but considered together are deemed worthy of preservation.

In 1990, council adopted an ordinance approving the Third Street Neighborhood Historic District. In 2000, they approved designation of the Bay Street Cluster.

Since then, council hasn’t approves a single historic district.

And recently, there have been rumblings about changes coming to courtyard apartments on San Vicente Boulevard.

“There has been substantial discussion of designating additional districts, including a courtyard district on and near the western end of San Vicente Boulevard,” city officials said in a report to council. “Most recently, with increased development pressures, community members have expressed concerns that if the City does not act to protect its historic resources, including clusters of courtyard apartments, they will be lost.”

In 2003, the changes to the Landmark Ordinance allowed a majority of property owners within a proposed historic district to reject its formation and this, council members have said previously, could be the reason that there haven’t been any new historic districts established in 14 years.

The proposed amendment would eliminate “section h” from the 2003 landmark law changes — a section that “provides that a petition for designation of a historic district may be automatically nullified by submission of a petition in opposition to the designation signed by owners of a majority of the property,” city officials said.

This change would not, city officials said, eliminate property owners’ rights to object to designation of historic landmarks. Community meetings, public Landmarks Commission meetings, and public City Council meetings will still be held prior to a district’s designation.

“Thus, owners and members of the public would have multiple opportunities to express their views and concerns, including any opposition to a district’s formation,” city officials said. “And, the City’s ability to undertake and complete the designation process would be reinstated.”

Homeless Initiatives status update

City officials will make a presentation on the status of regional and local homeless initiatives at Tuesday’s meeting.

A new, federally mandated “coordinated assessment” system will require all individuals within the Los Angeles Continuum of Care be evaluated using a uniform survey tool and then ranked, so that those with the most acute conditions are prioritized for housing, city officials said in a report.

“There is concern that the expectation of surveying every homeless person in the (Westside service planning area) will overwhelm existing service centers in Venice and Santa Monica which are already at capacity, and will divert housing and services from individuals already identified as priority by the City,” city officials said.

In response, the Westside will continue with its current prioritization and then add individuals identified by the new federally mandated system as capacity allows.

Locally, Santa Monica is addressing homelessness through interdepartmental coordination and community collaboration.

“Preliminary numbers indicate that these efforts moved 124 Santa Monica priority individuals from the streets into permanent housing (last fiscal year), including 32 of the most acute and vulnerable individuals from the City’s Service Registry,” city officials said. “In addition, 147 individuals were housed with family and friends through Project Homecoming.”


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