The city of Santa Monica is currently looking at reducing build outs from 61% to 50% in R1 neighborhoods. They also are looking to alter parking standards to discourage “McMansionization.” They are proposing accessory units or ADU’s by allowing homeowners to build in their backyard and rent them out. I have major issues with these proposals: the rights of owners to build on their private property, zoning changes away from R1, and allowing massive developments with zoning variances in size and scope in other parts of the city to allow for some low income units. These types of proposals would covert single family neighborhoods into rental zones and change the dynamic of those neighborhoods. Placing more regulation on these areas will negatively impact housing values, increase density, and increase building costs to owners. The city has an incentive to increase rental units, and they state ADU’s would provide “inexpensive housing” as a solution to the state housing crisis. In other words, eliminate R1 neighborhoods. What exactly does this imply, does the rent control board plan on regulating how much the owners can charge. Will they be rent controlled and subject owners to the nightmare Santa Monica rent control guidelines. Be careful what you wish for, these regulations will change the charter of R1 neighborhoods. The assertion that these will be low cost rentals is simply not realistic, property owners will charge the going rates for these units, unless the rent control board gets to put their paws on rental caps for the ADU’s.
Robert Gomez, Santa Monica