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New Fee Could Drive Santa Monica Businesses Out
The following letter was sent by the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce Friday to the City Council in response to a proposed Transportation Impact Fee ordinance.
February 26, 2013
Dear Mayor O’Connor and Councilmembers:
We are writing with respect to Staff’s latest revisions to the proposed Transportation Impact Fee. While we commend Staff for making some positive changes from the previous proposal (e.g., auto dealership rates, reoccupancy), we remain extremely concerned with the high rates proposed. The unprecedented magnitude of the proposed fees, in combination with other City fees (both those in effect and those being studied), would have the unintended consequence of being a barrier to the quality development that the LUCE envisions for a small percentage of Santa Monica land, including projects that would be fiscally beneficial to the City as well as a source of the community benefits envisioned in the LUCE.
• Multi-Family Residential: All multi-family residential uses should be exempt from payment of TIF fees (i.e., like Los Angeles and Culver City). Alternatively, in addition to the current proposal to exempt all deed-restricted very-low and low income affordable housing units, exempt housing units for Santa Monica’s workforce where the owner is required to do marketing and outreach to local employers and employees and to give a preference to local employees.
• Neighborhood or Local-Serving Commercial Uses: The first 20,000 square feet of any new commercial floor area should be exempt from payment of TIF fees (i.e., similar with West Los Angeles’s exemption of the first 30,000 square feet of retail). Also, the City should exempt TIF fees for ground floor retail related to projects processed through the CEQA infill development streamlined environmental review provision where such retail space is legally restricted to primarily neighborhood-serving uses only.
• Changes/Intensifications of Existing Uses: TIF fees should only apply to conversions from an existing residential use to a future commercial use (i.e., consistent with the Culver City ordinance). No fee should be charged when a space is converted from one non-residential use to another non-residential use.
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