The July 28 City Council meeting will facilitate transportation options aimed at improving traffic and include discussions of several old items.

Two items discussed previously will be up for second readings. The Council will hear the second reading of an ordinance to allow fire dispatchers to receive the same training as police dispatchers. In addition, there will be a second reading of rules to extend an interim ordinance governing development standards in the Downtown area.

Also returning to Council will be a discussion of an audit committee.

“During Council’s discussion of item 11-A on July 14, a motion was made to establish an audit subcommittee as recommended by staff but with a number of changes to the structure and scope of the proposed subcommittee: changes included the addition of two resident financial experts to the proposed three Council members, and a revised audit subcommittee scope that would incorporate responsibilities recommended by the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) in paragraph two of its Audit Subcommittee best practice documentation,” said the staff report.

Those components have been added to the proposed rules.

New business includes amendments to the city code to facilitate transportation options.

The transportation rules add the code to define a bike share system, regulate the use of bike station equipment, amend car share rules to allow for off-street car share spaces and refine rules regarding parking in front of commercial driveways.

The City has already authorized a bike share program in Santa Monica, but staff said at the time of authorization that additional rules would need to be drafted. According to the July 28 staff report, the proposed code amendments are needed for operations and enforcement when the bike share begins later this year, including a prohibition on private bikes using the bike share racks. According to staff, the cost of the bike share ordinance will be paid for through impound release fees while the remaining rules carry no financial impacts.

The city has previously authorized the implementation of a car share program to allow residents use of shared vehicles. The program stalled in 2014 when the proposed vendor, Hertz, ceased participation. The original program allowed for on street parking to be dedicated to the car share program. The new rules allow for the use of public off-street parking.

The third update clarifies rules related to parking in front of a driveway. Commercial property owners are allowed to obtain permits to park in front of their private driveways. Those allowances did not specify the direction of the parked car, allowing property owners to park in the same direction as traffic on the street, including at an angle where appropriate. An update to the municipal code specified cars blocking driveways must be parked parallel to the street, unintentionally banning the angled parking. The proposed rules re-allows angled parking that blocks a driveway where appropriate.

Council will also be asked to approve rules that ease the permitting process for small residential solar systems. According to the staff report, state rules require local jurisdictions to establish an expedited and streamlined process for solar installation. That process includes a checklist of objective requirements and a process for electronic submittal of applications. The report says Santa Monica’s existing rules likely comply with the state requirements already, and the proposed action is to specifically reference compliance with the California Government Code as opposed to making substantive changes.

“Most of the procedures currently in place, such as electronic submittal of plans, complies with the requirements of the Assembly Bill and staff assures the successful implementation of an expedited, streamlined process will be available to permit applicants by September 30, 2015,” said the report.

Consent calendar items include a proposed legislative agenda outlining the City’s, “historic and emerging legislative priorities and associated advocacy strategies,” approval of a contract to begin design, cost estimates and feasibility analysis for work at the City Yards and acceptance of Homeland Security grants that will be used by the Fire Department to pay for communications equipment upgrades.

Matthew Hall

Matthew Hall has a Masters Degree in International Journalism from City University in London and has been Editor-in-Chief of SMDP since 2014. Prior to working at SMDP he managed a chain of weekly papers...

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