It will be a busy night for council on Jan. 26 with a diverse group of agenda items.
Council will consider an official name for “buffer park,” receive a budget update, debate a new movie theater downtown and discuss the compliance of all current development agreements.
Staff is recommending the official name of the new park be Gandara Park.
The 2.35-acre park was created to separate the residential neighborhood along Exposition Boulevard from the new Expo Maintenance Facility. As part of the project, staff solicited potential name ideas from the community and 135 names were submitted. Among the most popular were Toypurina Park (16 submissions); Exposition Park (or similar variation; 9 submissions); George Ishihara Memorial Park (or similar variation; 6 submissions); Santa Monica Park (5 submissions); People’s Park (4 submissions); Hachi Park (3 submissions); Nisei Park (3 submissions); Vida Park (3 submissions).
After the outreach process, community members came forward with the suggestion of Gandara Park and city officials have accepted the idea.
“The name Gandara Park is recommended by the Recreation and Parks Commission to memorialize and honor Private Joe Gandara, a Santa Monica native who was fatally wounded by enemy fire in World War II at the age of 20. Although hailed a war hero, he was passed over for awards and medals at the time of his death due to his Hispanic heritage. In March 2014, Private Joe Gandara was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor by President Obama in recognition of his heroism and valor,” said the staff report.
Official action on the park name was postponed to allow Private Gandara’s family to request the nearby Expo stop be named after him. The Metro Board has voted to dedicate the station in his memory with placement of a plaque and the family also supports naming the park in his honor.
Alternate names submitted for the park include Heroes Park in recognition of all Santa Monica veterans.
The Jan. 26 meeting will include a budget update. The outlook for the general fund is positive in the short term, but projects a shortfall of $2.2 million (0.6 percent) in financial year 2019-20. Non-general fund revenues remain stable.
“Proposed FY 2015-16 midyear budget adjustments result in a $9.5 million, or a 1.7% increase over the adopted citywide revenue budget, and expenditure adjustments result in a net $4.9 million or a 0.9% decrease over the adopted citywide expenditure budget. In this report, staff also proposes adjustments to the City’s master fine resolution and discontinuance of the $25 non-resident library card fee,” said the report.
According to staff, the fine changes are necessary due to the recently updated zoning code. Council action will realign the new zoning violations with the existing master fine resolution. No revisions to fine amounts are required.
One new fine will be created to penalize violations of Transportation Demand Management Plans. Fines will be set at $5 per residential unit per day and $5 per employee in the project. Staff is also recommending increasing the administrative fine for illegal vacation rentals to $500.
The update will potentially eliminate the $25 non-resident fee for receiving a library card. According to staff, 90-percent of libraries offer free cards to all state residents and many local agencies, including the Library Board, want the Santa Monica fee dissolved.
“The City’s current practice of assessing a non-resident fee is broadly perceived as exclusionary, especially by neighboring library systems such as Los Angeles Public Library and the County of Los Angeles Public Library, who both offer Santa Monica residents free cards to access their large library networks,” said the report. “Additionally, the Library is disqualified from membership in the Southern California Library Consortium (SCLC) because it does not provide free library cards to non-residents. SCLC is the local consortium of library systems supported by the California State Library in accordance with the California Library Services Act. It is a valuable source for professional development and resource sharing for its member libraries.”
For those who think the movie version of a story is always better, Council will consider a Development Agreement for a new movie theater located at the current site of Parking Structure No. 3 on Fourth Street. The project requires demolition of the parking structure and “construction of an approximately 100,000 square foot building, which includes 90,000 square feet of theater floor area with up to 16 auditoriums/screens; approximately 2,700 theater seats; interior restaurant/lounge space available to theater patrons as well as to the public; and approximately 10,000 square feet of ground floor retail/restaurant tenant space leased separately from the theater use,” according to the report.
The City has long anticipated redevelopment of the parking structure and added additional parking spaces to the Civic Center garage to make up for the future loss of parking downtown.
Council will consider conceptual business terms with the development team and a potential development agreement. At a recent Planning Commission meeting, the Commission took issue with several elements of the project including parking, building height/mass, and a passageway through the alley to Fourth Street.
Discussion of development agreements will continue with the City’s annual summary of compliance for all 31 agreements currently in effect.
“This year’s summary includes review of all 19 completed projects, five projects that are under construction, and the status of the remaining seven Agreements where construction has not commenced,” said the report.
Of the 19 projects that have been built, 18 are recommended to be in good faith compliance. The last, relating to the Agensys building at 1800 Stewart Street, is still under review and will be the subject of its own report later in the year.
City Council meets Jan. 26 at 5:30 p.m. in City Hall, 1685 Main St. Visit http://www.smgov.net/departments/clerk/agendas.aspx for more information.