Courtesy photo

When Santa Monica City Council meets on Tuesday evening, perhaps the most anticipated agenda item will have to wait until last: councilmembers’ request to find a way to block the storm of new development now in the pipeline due to the Housing Element fiasco (though technically members could rearrange the agenda to get to that earlier if they wanted).

That item is one of nine “councilmember discussion items” that close out the lengthy agenda for the Tuesday, Oct. 25, meeting. Other councilmember discussion items include enhancements to Lincoln Boulevard, a commemoration of Santa Monica’s sister cities, pickleball courts at the airport and much more, in addition to the slate of regular items.

Homeshare ordinance

Santa Monica’s long standing home-sharing ordinance is up for a tune-up, following a June 2021 City Council request to “allow the home-sharing of detached accessory buildings located more than six feet from the main building occupied by the host.” 

According to the staff report for Tuesday’s meeting, City Council’s intent was to continue permitting home-sharing, while prohibiting short-term vacation rentals in an effort to allow “residents to supplement their income through home-sharing and providing home-share visitors with potentially more affordable accommodations, while deterring landlords from evading rent control laws, evicting tenants, and converting residential units into de facto hostels or hotels, thus removing needed permanent housing from the market while at the same time changing the character of and undermining community ties in residential neighborhoods.”

The change would help some homeowners who have been in limbo, after previously having been approved for home-sharing before their permits were caught up in changing regulations.

Justifying parklet changes

In response to complaints from business owners at the end of last month, City Council asked staff to provide details about the fees and other requirements imposed on businesses to qualify for permanent parklets. 

City Council approved the move to permanent parklets in June 2022 with the knowledge that change would incur fees and permitting requirements; after blowback in September, in the days leading up to the deadline for the new parklet program, council requested staff return with information about wastewater fees, outdoor heater permitting requirements, canopies and tents and size limitations.

Builder’s remedy remedies

Councilmembers Phil Brock, Christine Parra and Oscar de la Torre placed an item on the agenda asking city staff to “hire appropriate outside legal counsel to conduct a thorough review and write a report regarding the City’s legal options and remedies, including rejecting the applications under all applicable laws.”

This request goes back to the news that developers applied for 16 medium- and large-scale residential projects totaling 4,562 new housing units at a time when the City of Santa Monica’s Housing Element was out of compliance, triggering local zoning rules to be suspended. The revised Housing Element has since been approved, but projects are now in the pipeline and outside City control.

Improving Lincoln Boulevard

Brock and Councilmember Lana Negrete placed an item on the agenda suggesting the City embark on a plan to “enhance the maintenance and appearance” of the area surrounding the intersection of Lincoln Boulevard and Olympic Boulevard, including the entrance and exit ramps from the Santa Monica (10) Freeway onto Olympic both north and south of the freeway. The brief agenda item describes the portion of roadway as “a highly trafficked and visible area of the City” that “serves as a gateway for visitors to Santa Monica.”

Pickleball courts at the airport

Negrete placed an item on the agenda requesting staff fast-track pickleball courts on the Interim Open Space at Santa Monica Airport. In response to the growing popularity of pickleball, Negrete is asking that city staff “develop construction and annual maintenance cost estimates and evaluate the impacts of constructing courts dedicated to pickleball” as soon as possible, while other uses are still under development. In addition, Negrete would like to see a schedule of permitted and open recreational use of the tennis/pickleball courts at Memorial Park plus an evaluation of a potential expansion of those courts at Memorial Park.

Supervisors v Sheriff

Mayor Sue Himmelrich and Councilmember Gleam Davis requested fellow councilmembers approve formal support for LA County Measure A, a proposed county charter amendment that would grant the Board of Supervisors authority to remove an elected Sheriff from office. In the proposal, a supermajority (at least four of five Supervisors) would need to approve the removal.

According to the text of Measure A, a Sheriff could only be removed “for cause,” including “violation of laws related to the sheriff’s duties; repeated neglect of the sheriff’s duties; misuse of public funds or properties; willful falsification of documents; or obstruction of an investigation into the department’s conduct.”

Sister cities

Did you know Santa Monica now has five sister cities? Brock would like to see Santa Monica’s five sister cities — Mazatlan, Mexico (1961), Hamm, Germany (1969), Fujinomiya, Japan (1974), Kizugawa, Japan (2017), and Brighton, England (2022) — commemorated on city-owned land adjacent to City Hall North. How this programming/commemoration might take shape was still to be determined.

The meeting with convene on Tuesday, Oct. 25, at 5:30 p.m. in City Council Chambers at Santa Monica City Hall. Members of the public are invited to attend or can watch the meeting live on CityTV cable channel 16, at santamonica.gov or at youtube.com/user/Citytv16santamonica