Apartments: Several pre-approved projects have changed ownership including property at 711 Colorado Ave., 1650 Lincoln Blvd., 1430 Lincoln Blvd., 501 Broadway, 1325 6th St, 1318 Lincoln Blvd., 1323 5th St, 1338 5th St. Courtesy image

Following a months-long saga, Santa Monica City Council is on track to approve and adopt a revised version of the city’s 6th Cycle Housing Element at the upcoming Oct. 11 meeting. 

All cities in California are mandated to produce a housing plan once every ten years that outlines development guidelines to show capacity for more residential housing units to be built in order to hit state-mandated minimums as well as other state standards, such as low-income housing availability. 

In February, the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) rejected Santa Monica’s initial plan on the grounds that city-identified housing sites were infeasible. The HCD believed the City’s plan relied too heavily on an unrealistic estimate of the number of residential units likely to be constructed in mixed use zones where it is permitted to put in non-residential developments.

That first plan, submitted in October 2021, identified 8,895 potential new housing units, 6,168 of which would be affordable. The revised Housing Element identifies 13,000 units of potential housing.

The revised element has been reviewed by the Planning Commission and City Council is required to approve it before Oct. 15 or risk the city losing its ability to enforce some zoning laws. 

Also on the agenda for the Oct. 11 meeting is approval of Downtown Santa Monica (DTSM) Inc.’s fiscal year 2022-23 budget and work plan. The organization, which works with the City to manage services and operations downtown, has recently undergone staffing and leadership changes including the hiring of a new CEO, Andrew Thomas. The downtown area has also been a recent focal point of concern among some residents regarding issues related to crime and homelessness.

The new budget includes funding to hire a “dedicated full time Outreach and Mental Health Coordinator to engage with people experiencing homelessness” to address the issue and assuage concerns. The work plan also outlines DTSM’s intention to work with the Santa Monica Police Department to implement a security camera monitoring program on the Third Street Promenade. 

In addition, council will also be asked to approve an agreement to permit DTSM to install and operate a temporary ice-skating rink on City-owned land south of 5th street and Arizona Avenue for the winter season. 

The council will also be hearing recommendations from City staff to authorize temporary use of private outdoor spaces for COVID-19 testing and vaccination as well as allow flexibility in permitting alcoholic beverage sales through temporary zoning ordinances. They will also consider making permanent several Interim Zoning Ordinances put in place during the pandemic to relax land use regulations.

The City Council meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday Oct. 11. Visit https://www.smgov.net/departments/clerk/agendas.aspx for more information. 

grace@smdp.com