A collection of businesses and private property owners are considering the formation of business improvement districts on and near the pier to fund services such as litter removal, spot cleaning, visitor hospitality, business outreach and contacting homeless individuals.

Council will consider a request as part of their consent calendar on Tuesday night that would expand an existing consultant contract to study a business improvement district on the Pier and consider a similar project for neighboring areas of the beach.

Items on the consent calendar are often passed as a group with little or no discussion but Councilmembers can request additional information or discussion on any item.

Pier businesses have already voiced support for formation of a Business Improvement District (BID) but a recent Feasibility study concluded that merchant fees alone wouldn’t generate enough revenue to pay for the requested services.

“Taking into account stakeholder input, the Pier Feasibility Study recommends a hybrid approach leveraging two new revenue sources, namely contributions from merchants through a BID which could generate approximately a quarter of the costs ($250,000 to $375,000), and from the City through an increase in parking rates on the Pier and adjacent 1N lot (1550 Pacific Coast Highway), which could fund the remaining three-fourths of the estimated budget ($750,000 to $1,175,000) from the Pier and Beach funds,” said the staff report.

The contracts up for debate Tuesday would include creation of a management plan that would clarify the work program, budget, and governance under the proposed hybrid approach.

“The management plan would also address whether the merchant BID would be limited to Pier merchants only or include adjacent businesses along 1600 Ocean Front Walk, whether there would be tiered rates based on commercial and nonprofit activities, and how to address City-owned facilities on the Pier, such as the Carousel,” said the report. “The Management Plan would also clarify the governance structure for administering and reporting on how funds are spent. Additionally, the Management Plan would define the term of the assessment district and provide for a mechanism for the dissolution of the improvement district and associated funding obligations.”

Work on a Pier BID has been underway for some time but neighboring property owners recently approached the city regarding possible formation of a second organization that would cover a stretch of beach path both north and south of the pier.

According to staff, several property owners have expressed interest in the concept and have expressed a willingness to pay for the majority of the costs. The item before council Tuesday includes an acknowledgment of the property owners request to be part of the study and recognition of $35,000 from the owners to pay for the feasibility study with an additional $25,000 possible if the group has support to move forward with the formation of a district. City Hall would contribute $5,000 to the project.

“Several oceanfront property owners have expressed interest in the type of services that a PBID could fund and are considering paying for the majority of the consultant scope of work to move the process forward,” said the staff report. “Subject to property owners providing the funding, staff seeks authorization for the full study. However, if the PBID is not deemed feasible, the formation process would not go forward and the consultant would not be engaged for the second phase of PBID formation. If a PBID is formed, the City would be assessed as the property owner of the beach parking lots, since the City manages the beach under an operating agreement with the State of California.”

Formation of a district would require the support of 40 percent of the impacted property owners weighted by the proposed assessment amount.

Santa Monica has similar programs operating along the Promenade, Palisades Park and Tongva Park.

Council will meet on Tuesday, July 23 in City Hall, 1685 Main Street, starting at 5:30 p.m. Open session items will not be heard before 6:30 p.m.

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...

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