Before joining their families for the big feast on Thursday, City Council will gather on Tuesday night for a relatively light night of civic work.

DTSM Budget

The consent calendar features the annual budget and work plan for Downtown Santa Monica(DTSM).

DTSM’s funding comes from revenues generated from two business-based assessment districts and three property-based assessment districts that are collected by the City on DTSM’s behalf. The City and DTSM also have a Maintenance Services Agreement that can be extended annually if DTSM provides an annual budget and work plan to the City.

For FY 2021-22 DTSM anticipates revenues of $10,523,884 and anticipated expenditures of $10,599,597. The $75,713 gap will be funded with a one-time allocation from DTSM’s operating reserves.

Revenues from assessments collected by the City on behalf of DTSM are projected to be $7,038,396 and additional revenues come from special events, filming, and/or holiday events (in lieu of the ice rink this year), activation of Ocean Avenue and Colorado Avenue along with new activations of Arizona Avenue and Lot 27. Budgeted expenditures for FY 2021-22 include: personnel costs of $1,758,295; organization costs of $481,831; economic development costs of $70,000; marketing costs of $1,951,377; planning, design and infrastructure costs of $924,410; policy and advocacy costs of $89,641; and operational costs of $5,324,044, which includes Ambassador Services in the PBADs and parks of $2,365,434 and maintenance and quality of life expenditures totaling $2,947,609.

Redistricting Discussion

Mayor Sue Himmelrich has submitted a councilmember discussion item to consider sending a letter to the California Redistricting Commission asking that Santa Monica remains districted with beach and Westside cities with similar values and characteristics.

Newly proposed U.S. Congressional District maps group Santa Monica with the San Fernando Valley, moving Santa Monica under the purview of Congressman Brad Sherman. Santa Monica would no longer be in the same congressional district as large portions of West Los Angeles and the South Bay.

Himmelrich seeks to discuss this and alongside the draft changes in the Senate and Assembly District maps.

Planning Appeal

The Oceana Hotel is a 70-room hotel located at 849 Ocean Ave. The hotel was built in 1958 and has an existing restaurant with food and beverage services that can only be offered and available to the hotel’s guests and their visitors. The hotel wants to offer food and beverage services in its existing restaurant to members of the general public without increasing in size or capacity. Due to its location, current rules prohibit the hotel from serving non-guests and the company is proposing amendments to those rules that would expand its services to increase the economic viability of the existing restaurant and support one of the hotel’s goals of being a local and favorite dining option for the surrounding neighborhood.

The Planning Commission deadlocked 3-3 on part of the proposal and the tie vote caused the Commission to reject the entire idea. The hotel has appealed that decision to Council and staff recommend approving the proposal.

Tattoo rules

Council will consider easing rules for tattoo shops on the Promenade. Current rules require tattoo shops to receive a Minor Use Permit which is a discretionary permit reviewed by the City’s Zoning Administrator. Council directed staff to explore ways to encourage economic growth Downtown and staff have proposed removing the permit requirement and treating tattoo shops in a similar fashion to other beauty businesses such as nail or hair salons. Tattoo shops would still have to adhere to licensing, registration and age requirements.

Housing Vouchers

Since 2018, the City has seen a 40 percent increase in housing vouchers, new federal resources to respond to the housing crisis, and an expansion of other affordable housing programs Most recently, Santa Monica received an additional allocation of 104 emergency housing vouchers (EHV) from the federal government under the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

Staff are asking for revisions to the plans governing EHVs to account for the increased demand and authorizing four new positions needed to administer the new programs. The new positions would be funded solely by federal administrative funds associated with housing vouchers as well as affordable housing loan repayments, affordable housing trust funds and affordable housing compliance monitoring fees. No additional General Fund resources are needed.

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...