Fees developers paid last year are funding a preschool at Santa Monica College, low-flow toilets and new bike lanes.
The City of Santa Monica collected $5,643,129 from developers in the 2017-2018 fiscal year and spent $2,520,596 on child care, transportation, affordable housing loans and water sustainability projects. It’s also planning to use the fees to finance improvements to city parks.
The City collects fees from new developments by the square foot on the grounds that new housing creates new demand for services like child care and parks. It’s been collecting money for water projects since 1991 and child care since 2006. Between 2013 and 2015, it also started levying fees to fund transportation, parks and affordable housing projects.
$1,098,598 went toward the construction of the Early Childhood Lab School, a drop in the bucket compared to its $16 million design and construction budget. Other funding comes from Santa Monica College’s 2004 voter-approved bond Measure S, the 2016 bond Measure V and the RAND Corporation.
Construction on the school started in spring 2018 and is expected to be completed by August 2020. The building replace 230 parking spaces in the parking lot of the Civic Center.
The school is a joint project with Santa Monica College and will be operated by the Growing Place. It will hold up to 110 children, with a minimum of 30 percent Santa Monica residents and 15 percent low-income families. Slots also will be open to the children of those who work in the city, including City, SMC and RAND employees.
The City spent just $205,506 of the $2,136,138 it collected for transportation on new projects because most of those fees are earmarked for nine projects approved in 2016, including a protected bike lane along 17th Street, better bike and pedestrian connections to Bergamot Station and better connections to the beach bike path from the Santa Monica Pier.
$105,917 was spent on the design of a project that will improve crosswalks and reduce speed limits near John Adams Middle School, Lincoln Middle School, Will Rogers Learning Community and Roosevelt Elementary. Construction will start in May.
$99,589 was spent on engineering design services to install new medians, crosswalks, lighting and landscaping on Lincoln Boulevard between the I-10 Freeway and Ozone Avenue.
Although the City only collected $248,219 for water projects in FY 2017-2018, it reached into its balance of almost $3 million to spend $1,166,734 on turf removal and drip irrigation systems, smart irrigation controllers and other landscape improvements at city parks, Woodlawn Cemetery and public right of ways. The money also funded the installation of water-efficient toilets in low-income housing.
The City didn’t use development fees for park improvements last fiscal year, but it’s planning to spend $1,858,701 on constructing new bathrooms at Clover Park and expanding Memorial Park and Airport Park.
The Airport Park will quadruple in size after the Santa Monica Airport closes in 2028, adding two sports fields, community gardens and a sports track. Memorial Park is expanding and getting new baseball and softball fields.
Finally, developers contributed $49,758 to assist in the financing of the acquisition and rehabilitation loan for 12 affordable housing units at 2621, 2622, and 2627 26th Street. The City collected $505,674 for affordable housing in FY 2017-2018.