Santa Monica Lookout
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Santa Monica City Council to Review Development Agreement Compliance

Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark

Harding Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP  law firm
Harding, Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

Pacific Park, Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Convention and Visitors Bureau

By Lookout Staff

January 23, 2014 -- The Santa Monica City Council will make sure developers of major projects are holding up their end of the deal Tuesday during its annual Development Agreement (DA) compliance report.

The City Council will look at the 26 DAs that have been approved since the City began requiring them for projects that exceed current zoning restrictions in 1982 to make sure that developers have met the terms laid out in the agreements.

“Each Development Agreement contains unique time frames, obligations, and requirements,” staff said.

“The obligations can be one-time or ongoing; some are fees, some are actual physical improvements, and some are ongoing services” often designed to offset the impact of each development, staff said.

Staff found that of the 14 projects that had been built, including the Water Garden and Arboretum business parks, the new RAND building and Saint Monica's Catholic Community, 13 of them were in “good faith compliance” with their DAs.

Only the Agensys project, which generates more average car trips a day than specified in its DA, has yet to meet all of requirements specified in its DA.

“Consistent with Agreement terms, City staff is working with Agensys representatives to modify its current TDM (Traffic Demand Management) plan to include additional trip reduction measures,” staff said.

The other 12 DAs are for projects that have not yet begun, like the 710 Wilshire project, or are under construction, like The Civic Center Village.

While staff has found most developers have satisfied their DAs, there have been ongoing issues with one of the City's early experiments in affordable home ownership.

“The Dorchester, which was one of the City’s earliest efforts to create affordable housing, is the only project in the City that includes affordable units that are condominiums, instead of apartments,” staff said.

“The model proved to be problematic in several ways,” staff said. “Some of the unit owners purchased intending to live there themselves or house a family member. Many purchased with arguably insufficient notice of the (pricing) restrictions. Most had no experience in property management, much less the management and financing of a lone affordable unit.”

Staff said that nine of the 14 unit owners reported that they are complying with the DA. The City Attorney is looking into two units, whose owners did not submit compliance reports.

“Three of the remaining owners have entered or about to enter into settlement agreements with the City,” staff said.

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