At their Oct. 13 meeting, the city council approved a transit heavy consent calendar while regular discussion focused on downtown development.

Car share

Council approved a pilot car share program that will provide Zipcar with exclusive use of 20 city owned parking spaces. Customers who sign up with Zipcar will be able to use the cars either by the hour or by the day with varying rates based on the length of rental and the kind of membership program. Memberships are available starting at $7 a month and cars are available for $9.50 an hour.

Santa Monica has sought a car share vendor for several years and while Zipcar has been operating in the city using 12 privately owned spaces, the expansion approved by council will be the first city-supported car share service. According to the company, a variety of cars will be available in the city with more information about the program coming soon. Visit www.zipcar.com/santamonica for more information.

Bike share sponsor

The consent calendar also included approval of an official sponsor for the city’s bike share program. When council adopted a city-owned bike share program last year, the city retained responsibility for finding an ongoing sponsor. Council directed staff to secure a minimum sponsorship level of $250,000 per year and at their Oct. 13, council approved a deal with Hulu for sponsorship of $675,000 per year. The sponsorship, gained through contracting with a third party vendor is the first time a private corporation has sponsored a specific and ongoing program in the city. Hulu logos will be placed on the bike baskets and skirt guards but not on the station racks or signs.

Development agreements

Council tackled several development related items at the Oct. 13 meeting. Council’s final item of the night effectively froze most development downtown pending adoption of the Downtown Specific Plan (DSP). However, prior to that discussion, council did approve two development agreements for new projects.

The first project, located at 1415 5th St. is a 6-story (84 feet) building consisting of approximately 52,545 total square feet: 6,345 square-feet of ground floor commercial space, 64 residential units and 105 parking spaces within a 3-level subterranean parking garage. The project had already received approval from the Planning Commission.

Council approved the building with one change to the proposal. The Planning Commission had suggested allowing the applicant to revise the designs and add an additional level if the DSP allowed for extra height.

Councilman Ted Winterer said that provision was unfair because other applications were not allowed to upgrade their proposals pending a rules change.

“I’m generally in favor of this project, but I’m not in favor of allowing them the option to come back yet again,” he said. “You either come before us before we adopt the DSP and take your shot at what we can give you under those circumstances or you wait until after the adoption of the DSP and come back with an application at that point.”

Councilwoman Gleam Davis acknowledged requests to delay the project pending adoption of the DSP but said some projects should move forward immediately to help address the city’s housing needs.

“The fact of the matter is we are 10 months into 2015 and we haven’t approved a single unit of housing,” she said. “It is important for us to move forward with these kinds of projects that are essentially housing projects with ground floor retail.”

Council also approved a project at 1415 5th St. The project would replace Denny’s restaurant with a 6-story (84 feet) building containing approximately 52,545 total square feet: 6,345 square-feet of ground floor commercial space, 64 residential units and 105 parking spaces within a 3-level subterranean parking garage.

During a brief discussion, the council said the project will help create a pedestrian environment along Lincoln Boulevard.

“Here, I think there’s a real opportunity for a lot of the folks that move into these units to be car-less and I think that’s something we need to start supporting,” Councilman Tony Vazquez said.

editor@www.smdp.com

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