Construction plays a large role in the Nov. 10 City Council meeting with multiple items referencing a variety of projects or issues related to building in the city.

Multiple Consent Calendar items touch on the construction projects small and large.

Council will consider final funding for the much delayed and discussed repairs to the Chain Reaction sculpture.

Installed in 1991, the work is in need of repair. In 2012 Council approved a plan that would have moved the statue, but that plan was put on hold following community protest. Community fundraising contributed $101,290 toward repairs and City Hall then spent $75,000 to complete testing, structural evaluation, and develop a restoration plan. Staff is now asking for $275,000 to complete restoration work including a new landscape barrier.

Money is also on the table for construction of the Expo Buffer Park Project. Staff is recommending a $6,312,856 contract with USS Cal Builders for building the new park adjacent to the new Expo Maintenance Facility. The project has undergone two and a half years of design with nine bidders competing for the final assignment.

Construction of the new California Incline could take a little longer due to work on the Pedestrian Overcrossing.

“The POC crosses over the California Incline Bridge and Roadway between Ocean Avenue and Pacific Coast Highway (PCH). The Trail goes diagonally up the bluff to Palisades Park and exits near Idaho Avenue. To the west, the Trail and POC connect to another pedestrian overcrossing (owned by Caltrans) that goes over PCH providing pedestrian access to the beach from Palisades Park,” reads the staff report.

Testing and evaluation of the trail has consistently shown problems, including the need for seismic work. However, staff did not initially propose joint work on the POC due to fears of jeopardizing the actual Incline rehabilitation. But work on the Incline has gone well and staff wants to complete the POC while the Incline is already closed.

“Staff estimates that construction of the POC will add an additional two to three months to the closure of the California Incline,” said the report. “The California Incline Bridge project began on April 20, 2015 and is scheduled to be completed by April 20, 2016. With the POC construction added, it’s estimated both structures would be completed by July 3, 2016 (not including potential rain delays).”

The final construction item of the night focuses on water meters.

Current city code requires individual water meters in new multifamily residential construction. However, other sections of code require meters be placed in alleys or other public access streets. Space is not always available to accommodate large numbers of meters and the proposed update requires individual meters for projects with six or fewer units while projects with more than six units will be required to install private submeters.

“Submeters are individual meters behind the master meter,” said the staff report. “These meters are installed on each water line servicing the individual units, allowing the monitoring of water consumption for each unit. Whereas the master meter is City-owned and maintained, submeters are owned, operated, and maintained by the landlord, property management firm, condominium association, or homeowners association.”

Current code exempts 100 percent affordable housing projects from the water meter mandate. The proposed update would remove that exemption and require all projects to install individual meters. To offset the increased cost, the proposal before Council on Tuesday reduces water rates for 100 percent affordable projects.

Construction isn’t the only topic on the agenda. Council will discuss extension and updates to the city’s taxicab franchise. The current system was implemented in 2011 and is set to expire at the end of this year. In that time, the industry has seen massive upheaval due to the arrival of Transportations Network Companies (TNCs) like Uber and Lyft.

“Staff is recommending changes to regulations to assist with competing with TNCs, a reallocation of taxicab vehicles to more accurately represent the needs, impacts, and service delivery, and extension of the five existing franchise agreements for two years,” the report said. “Staff is also recommending clarifying the definition of vehicle for hire operations that operate solely in Santa Monica and adding minimum insurance requirements on all non-taxi vehicle for hire operations; and clarification of the definition of pedicabs to include motorized pedicabs.”

One the final items of the night will be possible selection of an advisor to report on government best practices. Council asked for an independent review following resident concerns about the Elizabeth Riel case and enforcement of the Oaks Initiative.

“In the context of good governance practices, the Santa Monica City Council has authorized hiring an outside advisor to conduct a review of local government best practices,” the report said.

Six individuals or firms have bid on the contract. Staff is recommending council consider a balance of experience, expertise and cost when choosing an advisor. The recommendation states council might want to consider hiring two firms to achieve their goals.

“Council’s articulated desire to engage an individual to conduct an independent and balanced review of City practices aligns with the good governance principles of accountability, transparency, responsiveness, and the highest ideals of public service,” the report said. “While Santa Monica has not been embroiled in widespread scandals or reports of malfeasance, this action was taken in the context of specific concerns that the Council believes should be addressed in pursuit of transparency, accountability, and public trust and confidence in City governance.”

City Council will meet at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 10 in City Hall, 1685 Main St.

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...