Following a special weekend meeting to set priorities, the Santa Monica City Council resumes regular meetings tonight with a diverse set of agenda items.

The Aug. 25 meeting is a mix of new and recurring business that includes a host of contract approvals and discussions on some hot-button items.

Council is being asked to approve an agreement with Film Independent to use the 1550 Beach Parking Lot as the site of the Independent Spirit Awards in February of 2016.

For the past 20 years, the event has been held in the 2030 Ocean Avenue beach lot, however other events held in the Ocean Avenue lot have become disruptive to neighbors and as a result, the City changed its rules for large events at the location.

According to the staff report, the only location able to accommodate the awards is the 1550 lot and staff said the organizer “has been a good neighbor with few complaints and generally high praise from nearby residents.”

If approved, the awards would occupy the space for two weeks.

Housing

Affordable housing will occupy a large part of the evening. To start, council is being asked to update the Affordable Housing Unit Base Fee.

Per the city charter, 30 percent of all new residential construction must be affordable to low-and moderate-income families. To meet those goals, developers can designate a portion of a development’s total residences as affordable housing, construct affordable housing off site, designate land for affordable housing development, or pay the Affordable Housing Unit Base Fee.

The fee is updated annually based on costs and staff is recommending a 4.9 percent increase this year.

Later in the evening, the council will return to the subject for a broader discussion of affordable housing in Santa Monica. Staff is asking for recommendations and directions from the council regarding the state of affordable housing and opportunities to increase financing.

“Since the dissolution of the Santa Monica Redevelopment Agency in 2012, the City’s primary funding source for the production and preservation of low-income housing has been lost. During its final ten years, the Redevelopment Agency accounted for between 80 and 95 percent of Santa Monica’s funding for affordable housing preservation and production,” said the report.

The agenda item includes a discussion of Rent Control vs. Deed Restricted affordable housing and a discussion of the three strategies (buying existing buildings, building new and requiring construction of affordable units in development agreements) the City has used to secure affordable housing.

“By pursuing a three-pronged approach to increasing affordable housing resources, the City has preserved and produced a larger and more diverse supply of low- and moderate-income housing than otherwise would be possible if the City pursued a single strategy,” said the report. “With respect to the production of new affordable housing, the City has exceeded the goals of Proposition R, with 40 percent of all new housing built over the past 20 years being deed-restricted for occupancy by low- and moderate-income households.”

The discussion will include talk of how to measure need and sources of government money at the city, county, state and federal level.

Other items on the Aug. 25 agenda include awarding contracts for infrastructure improvements, updates to Big Blue Bus standards for ensuring fairness in route changes, an upgrade to electric vehicle charging stations, acceptance of additional grant money to fund public safety programs, evaluate the City’s position on state legislation, approve union negotiations, fund employee benefits and comply with state rules regarding tax collection.

editor@www.smdp.com

 

 

 

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