Santa Monica Lookout
Planning Commission to Consider Parking Ordinance Update
THE MAYORS CHALLENGE
|By Jason Islas
March 4, 2013 -- The Planning Commission will weigh-in Wednesday on a proposed update to Santa Monica's Parking In-Lieu Fee Program that would nearly double the City's revenue for public parking in the Downtown area.
The new fee would generate $1,152,000 over the next 30 years by allowing developers to pay $20,000 for every parking space they didn't build in new developments. The current fee, which hasn't been changed since 1986 and is based on the square footage of the development, generates approximately $600,000 a year.
“While the Parking Developer Fee has been important to furthering the City’s 'park once' policy and generating funds to construct new parking,” staff said, “the fee of $1.50 per square foot is insufficient to finance the current costs of new parking spaces.”
The new few would be directly related to the number of spaces developers choose not to build in the Downtown area.
“The proposed parking in-lieu fee program would be a voluntary option for those developments that choose not to provide the code-required parking onsite,” staff said.
Within Downtown's parking assessment district -- from 2nd Court to 4th Court between Wilshire Boulevard and Colorado Avenue -- developers could satisfy all of their parking requirements by paying the in-lieu fee.
Where there is less public parking, developers could only pay the fee for up to 50 percent of their required parking spaces.
Though the Commission welcomed the changes to the parking fee when they first discussed it last August, there was some disagreement about exactly how much to charge developers.
City staff estimates that it costs the City $50,000 to build a single underground parking space, not including land costs.
Staff is proposing an in-lieu fee of $20,000 and argues that “a higher fee level may not induce program participation.”
According to consultants, Downtown stakeholders would accept an in-lieu fee of up to $30,000 per space, which caused some commissioners to ask why not charge the $30,000.
But, staff is sticking to the $20,000, saying the amount set could be adjusted in the future.
The Commission will vote whether to pass the plan on to the Council for final approval. If approved by the Council, it will go into effect after the current in-lieu fee program expires on June 30, 2016.
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