St. Monica Catholic Church in Santa Monica (File photo)

An underutilized parking lot located on Seventh Street could one day be turned into multi-development housing units following a recent amendment to a developer’s agreement by City Council.

In 2010, City Council approved Saint Monica’s Catholic Community Development Agreement that governed the church campus and a parking lot located at 1140 7th Street. The DA allowed Saint Monica’s to guarantee its development rights with an extended time frame as long as the applicant agreed to provide community benefits like a Transportation Demand Management Program and allowed neighborhood use of 15 parking spaces in the off-site lot.

The parking lot previously served as an overflow parking for Saint Monica’s but following the completion of its Community Center and 154 subterranean spaces in 2013, “Saint Monica’s no longer has a need for this overflow parking lot and is requesting an amendment that would allow some flexibility with the future of this parking lot,” city planning division senior planner Grace Paige said. “The requested amendment is basically to allow for augmented community benefits that would allow the potential removal of the shared parking lot — and this may also be to facilitate the sale of the parcel.”

Paige added the future use of this parcel is limited to multi-residential development. “And in the event that parking lot would be sold, it would have to be developed as residential,” she said as she detailed staff’s belief that the enhanced community benefits are an appropriate replacement for the requested flexibility pertaining to the future sale and residential development at 1140 7th Street.

Planning Commission agreed with staff’s recommendation when it heard the matter back in November 2019, but councilmember Ted Winterer motioned to add a stipulation that would mandate a 90-day window during which the property would have to be offered to a 100% affordable-housing developer. Saint Monica’s would then be given an additional 60 days to negotiate and come to an understanding on the terms of the sale.

Saint Monica’s representatives who spoke at the council meeting last week said they were happy to offer first availability to affordable housing developers. But the church asked for a 60-day period, instead of the proposed 90 days, so the nonprofit’s resources aren’t strained in the process.

Saint Monica’s is expected to continue to provide the shared use of 15 parking spaces until multi-unit residential housing planning approvals are obtained or until the DA sunsets in 2030, a staff report states.